In What Ways Might the Artists William Edmondson, Thornton Dial, and Lonnie Holley Lives, Experiences and/or Art have Intersected?

Length: 4-5 class periods; 50-60 minutes each

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission engaged two internationally-known artists, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley, to create site-specific public art works for the newly revitalized Edmondson Park (overseen by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency). This project honors William Edmondson, a native of Davidson County and a self-taught sculptor. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art (1937). Like Edmondson, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley are self-taught artists.

In this Social Studes Lesson, students will:

  • Students will be formatively assessed through discussion in whole group, small group, and pairs.
  • Students will illustrate their knowledge of the time periods covered in their timeline and graphic organizer creations.
  • Students will illustrate their knowledge and understanding of the connections/intersecting of the artists’ lives, and works with the creation of their digital gallery, and will be assessed with a rubric. 

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Content Standards:

Standards 2013-14

  • Standard Number 7. Individuals Groups and Interactions Understand the effect of World War I on the American people. Understand the moral, social, and cultural changes that occurred in the 1920s.
  • 8. Individuals Groups and Interactions Understand the changes in American life as a result of the Great Depression. Understand the changing dynamics of American life during World War II.
  • 9. Individuals Groups and Interactions Understand how the "baby boom," suburbanization, desegregation, and other social movements affected American society. Understand how Cold War conformity conflicted with individual rights and self-expression. Investigate how technological change transformed American society and created popular culture.  

State Performance Indicators:
SPIs 2013-2014

  • 7.3 Recognize the progress of political and social reform in America during this Era.
  • 7.5 Recognize the new trends, ideas, and innovations of the 1920's popular culture.
  • 8.3 Recognize how the industrial and  agricultural crisis negatively impacted different socioeconomic groups (e.g., WWI veterans, farmers, women, minorities, factory workers).
  • 8.7 Explore how World War II impacted everyday American life.
  • 9.2 Distinguish social inequities in America in the post World War II era (i.e., racial segregation, generation conflict, gender equity, ethnic identification).
  • 9.8 Identify significant events in the struggle for Civil Rights.

Clear Learning Targets:

  • I can identify the various ways that the artists William Edmondson, Thornton Dial, and Lonnie Holley lives, experiences and/or art may have intersected.
  • I can research information dealing with the biographies of William Edmondson, Thornton Dial, and Lonnie Holley.
  • I can express my opinion of how these men were connected based on facts gathered from avariety of online resources.

Task Objectives (steps to reach mastery of clear learning targets):

  • Teacher will lead students through the opening activity of creating an intersecting timeline.
  • The intersecting timeline will give students an understanding of the United States history that took place during the lives of each artist.
  • Students will work in groups to set goals for group participation and work together to gather evidence from the various resources.
  • Students will use gathered information to complete their timeline.
  • Students will use gathered information to complete their mind map.
  • Students will use the gathered information to create/curate on online digital art gallery
Essential and guiding questions: 

Questioning: Planning to Illuminate Student Thinking:
Assessing questions:

  • Questioning for Assessment is imbedded throughout the INSTRUCTIONAL piece of this lesson. Keep the following in mind throughout the lesson-
  • Base closely on the work student produces
  • Clarify what the student has done and what the student understands about what he/she has done
  • Provide information to the teacher about what the student understands throughout lesson

Advancing questions:

  • Questioning for Advancement is imbedded throughout the INSTRUCTIONAL piece of this lesson. Follow it closely, but also allow student discussion and work lead the discussion throughout the lesson. Keep the following in mind throughout the lesson-
  • Use what students have produced as a basis for making progress toward goal;
  • Move students beyond their current thinking by pressing students to extend what they know to a new situation.
  • Press students to think about something they are not currently thinking about- a new perspective.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Differentiation suggestions: 

Anticipated Learning Challenges:

  • Students may need additional time for this project as they become more familiar with the use of power point, Google Drive, and
  • It will be important for the teacher to be familiar with all three of these tools prior to the lesson

Opportunities to Differentiate Learning (explain how you address particular student needs by differentiating process, content, or product):

  • This lesson allows for students to move somewhat at their own pace as they create their mind map and their part of the art gallery
  • Students will also be working in groups, which helps with ELL and SPED students understanding of the tasks
  • It is advised that student groups be encouraged to use the Google Drive version of the Art Gallery, because it allows students to all work on the project at the same time.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Resources:

  • Butcher paper
  • markers
  • yard/meter sticks
  • computers


Web Quest: