Art & Identity: Mapping a School Community

Carla Aaron-Lopez, Visual Art, Whitewater MS

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit will investigate how students can use photography and storytelling to explore the diverse identities of a school community. Identities can range from ethnicity to religion and cultural to subcultural. For middle school students, they are often on the search for where they belong as they begin their journey through adolescence. With the help of a culturally sustaining pedagogy, educators should be able to use the cultural knowledge, prior experiences and experimental performances of students to create a cohesive body of work about them. The contemporary artists highlighted in this unit are Dawoud Bey, Brandon Stanton and Angelica Dass. Bey has created bodies of work that reflect former students of his classroom and people who live in his neighborhood. Stanton created Humans of New York as a way to capture the vastness of the city’s inhabitants. Dass created portraits of people based on her different interpretation of the Bertillon system.