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These activities focus on works of art in the Whitney’s collection and special exhibitions. Through discussion, research, art making, and writing activities, we hope to encourage close looking, foster conversation between students, and connect artwork to classroom learning. Learn about our four artist-centered themes.

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Make a memory collage.

Romare Bearden’s collages of rural Southern scenes are recollections of his birthplace in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where he spent summers with his grandparents during his childhood. Eastern Barn is one of many collages in which Bearden portrayed the daily lives of African Americans. Look closely at Bearden’s work—who might these people be, and what might they be doing? Why might this scene be special to Bearden?

Ask your students to think about a place that was or continues to be special to them. For example, it could be a room in their home, school, a park, a vacation spot, or a local hangout spot. Ask them to spend five minutes writing down notes about this place. Who would be there? What was it like to be there? What would you smell, see, and hear there? What details can you remember about the place and the people there?

Ask your students to make collages based on their experiences and memories of this place and the people they would encounter there. They should focus on using the collage materials to create the composition and forms, but may use markers to add details. Ask your students to consider their use of color, shape, line, and texture.

Romare Bearden, Eastern Barn, 1968  69.14 For Teachers