Edmondson/Holley Inspired Sculpture

Length: 10-11 class periods (55-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 Visual Arts Lesson, students will:

  • have formative assessment for William Edmondson Pre-Assessment
  • have formative assessment for Think-Pair-Share Activity
  • have formative assessment for Brainstorm Graphic Organizer
  • have summative assessment for Poem Analysis
  • have summative assessment for William Edmondson Post-Assessment
  • have summative assessment for Exit Ticket
  • have summative assessment for Art Production Rubric
  • have summative assessment for Grow & Glow Critique

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or...
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Content Standard:
TN Visual Art State Standards
1 – 4

  • Standard 1.0 Media, Techniques and Processes Students will understand and apply media, techniques, and processes
  • 1.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the safe and responsible use of art media and tools.
  • Standard 2.0 Structures and Functions Students will use knowledge of both structures and functions.
  • 2.2 Demonstrate critical thinking skills in addressing visual arts assignments.
  • 2.3 Demonstrate an understanding of various sensory and expressive qualities in a work of art.
  • 2.5 Reflect on the effective use of organizational components (structures) and expressive qualities (functions) to communicate ideas in works of art.
  • Standard 3.0 Evaluation Students will choose and evaluate a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.
  • 3.1 Recognize and use subject matter, themes, and symbols in works of art.
  • Standard 4.0 Historical and Cultural Relationships Students will understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
  • 4.3 Compare and contrast the characteristics of artwork in various eras and cultures.

Clear Learning Targets: 

  • I can create a 3-D subtractive sculpture with personal meaning.
  • I can compare and contrast William Edmondson and Lonnie Holley’s sculptures.
  • I can analyze poetry to gain a greater understanding of the artist’s work.

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

  • I can identify tools and materials.
  • I can brainstorm ideas how to make my sculpture meaningful to myself.
  • I can read text rich information about both artists and look at images of their work.
Essential and guiding questions: 

Questioning: Planning to Illuminate Student Thinking:
Assessing questions:

  • How does art reflect human culture?
  • How has art changed through time?
  • Why do people create art?
  • What exactly is art?
  • What does “self-taught artist” mean?
  • How did Lonnie Holley’s art making begin?
  • How are Edmondson’s sculptures different than Holley’s?

Advancing questions:

  • Edmondson says he was inspired by God. Which sculptures do you think exhibit this divine inspiration and what makes you think so? What inspires you to be creative?
  • Why do you think Edmondson thought so highly of school teachers? What makes you think so?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Differentiation suggestions: 

Scaffolding opportunities (to address learning challenges):

  • Experience charts
  • Heritage homework activity
  • Sketchbook drawing/brainstorming

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

  • Students who need more of a challenge or who may finish more quickly could use a gallon or quart size zip-lock bag for their casting, rather than the milk container.
  • The teacher should provide a short list of ideas for students to choose from in case a few cannot decide on an idea for themselves (within a given amount of time).
  • During the poetry analysis, the teacher can strategically assign poems to specific students, based on their reading levels.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Resources:

Art Making Materials:  plaster, small milk cartons (from the cafeteria), plastic spoons, craft sticks, vermiculite, carving tools, dust masks, sealer (shellac or linseed oil)

Book: I Heard God Talking to Me by Elizabeth Spires, 2009 Student sketchbooks

Other: Large Post-It-Note display boards