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Open Access Publications from the University of California

ArtsBridge to the Yavapi Children: A Desert Ecology Unit in Visual Art


Dr. Mary Stokrocki, Professor at Arizona State University and faculty mentor, worked with art scholar-teacher Laura Hales who was one of her graduate students, to offer an art class to Yavapi third graders at the Hmañ 'Shawa Elementary School, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fountain Hills, Arizona. The 10-week program was based on the theme “Our Place in the World”( and included exploratory art criticism, art history, and creating art components. The program began with a prequestionnaire and a pre-drawing of what they like to do, oil pastel and watercolor resist, and ended in a clay relief. Earlier, Hales introduced third-grade students to an art inquiry discussion based on a painting of a girl by Navajo artist Shonto Begay (Clover & Jim, 1997). They learned about the concepts of foreground, middle ground, background and center of interest. Students also learned that “art is making something special!”

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