Let's learn a bit about Romare Bearden, the man and his music, shall we?
If I ever have a biography written about me, I only hope that it features a picture of me cradling my giant dog. Best bio photo ever.
Bearden's life and art are marked by outstanding talent, which included scholarly and intellectual interests, such as art, history, literature, and culture. He was a jazz afficionado, an author, a talented musician, a songwriter, and arts activist.
Bearden grew up in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance and his experiences growing up are reflected in his works.
He had an impressive life, graduating from NYU and then working as a politcial cartoonist for African-American newspapers.
Romare Bearden served in World War II and after returning home, his work began to gain more abstract qualities, which led to his experimentation in collage.
Bearden's life was full of amazing experiences and he is an artist who truly took the good and bad of everyday life into his works.
After digging into Romare Bearden's life, we continued some further discussion...
The Fourth Graders were simultaneously learning about jazz in their music class, so they were experts regarding the instrumental components of jazz.
We also read this fantastic book about Billie Holiday titled Mister and Lady Day. This book offers a kid-friendly retelling of Billie Holiday's singing career. Plus, the illustrations feature some BEAUTIFUL collage work, which tied into our project perfectly.
To create the right jazz cafe mood, I dimmed the lights in the room and flipped on Pandora's jazz station to inspire us.
Next, the Fourth Grade jazz afficionados selected either cool or warm colors to create a painted paper background. Texture was added with painted bubble wrap.
I have hoarded cardboard all year long for this project, so we put it to good use (I needed that stuff outta here)!
Students drew and cut out the bodies for their musicians inspired by Bearden's style.
Any extra details were added with construction paper scraps, oil pastels, or black paint in eye droppers.
Our final pieces were cut out in an oval to give the illusion of a spotlight.
Is it just me or does the jazzy lady above totally look like Janice from the Muppets?
This one is super cool, as the little artist created a pop-out piano, complete with a sheet music score.
Hope you enjoyed these jazz-tastic pieces. Stay tuned (get it, jazz pun, eh?) for some cool stuff coming soon!