Social Issues Silhouettes: Free Lesson Plan Download

Level: High School Art Education Lesson Plan

Art Elements: Shape

Art Skills: Drawing, Cutting, Design

Art History: Kara Walker

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Click to Download Free Lesson Plan!

I had reservations about beginning the year with this lesson, because it deals with some heavy issues. My class, however, responded to this lesson with grace and aplomb. You should always tread lightly when dealing with social issues–and with the work of Kara Walker–but if you are comfortable with your students and discussions about these issues, this is a great lesson.

If you have mature students who can appropriately and thoughtfully deal with the issues facing them, their families, their communities, and their world, this lesson can lead to thoughtful, exciting projects and perhaps act as a springboard to more meaningful work coming from your students. I would encourage you to dive in.

This great Art Ed lesson plan is 100% FREE to download! Use it in your classroom and share with your colleagues. For more free lessons like this one, visit our Lessons Page and download them all!


4 years ago


  • I love Kara Walker. Her artwork is AMAZING.

  • gbogie

    Students should produce some great work with this because their strong feelings should show through here.

  • Jaimee

    This also reminds me of William Kentridge’s “The Refusal of Time” that I saw at the ICA Boston last year. It had silhouetted images in parts of the video installation.

  • nuvia

    I have thaught this lesson for 5 years as my 2nd unit of the year and it has evolved to literature and historical themes. Not only do The students learn about Walker, but I also include Matisse. The students learn negative and positive space, organic and geometric shapes, and symmetrical and asymmetrical balance. The students learn simple cutting and gluing techniques that they will need for the year.

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