Think of your favorite male and female cartoon characters. Do you think they are treated differently because one is a boy and the other is a girl? Why or why not?
Why do you think the secretary told Dalia Messick to change her name? Would you change your name if you were in the same situation? Why or why not?
According to the article, the exhibit, "Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists," is dedicated to exploring the lesser-known, centuries-spanning contributions of female artists who broke into these make-dominated fields. In what way, if any, do you think an exhibit like this helps female artists and aspiring artists living today?
According to the article, women who were interested in drawing cartoons and comics early on were often limited to certain subjects. Why do you think this happened? What does it tell you about society's views of women and the dynamics between men and women in the workplace?
- As a class, brainstorm a list of famous artists that students are familiar with. Examine the list. Does it contain more men than women? If so, why do students think that is? Guide the class to understand that historically, men's accomplishments have been recognized more than women's. This has occurred in all fields. Art is no exception.
- Select one female artist or illustrator prior to conducting this activity or have students conduct research to identify one in pairs or small groups. Then have students conduct research to learn about the artist's career and the type of art she made. Encourage them to examine several pieces of her work.
- Provide a variety of supplies. Then give students time to create their own piece of art in the style the artist used. Encourage students to be original. Rather than copying the artist's work, they should create pieces of art in that style that express their own personalities.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
In this interview provided by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery, abstract artist Miriam Schapiro discusses her struggle to succeed in the male-dominated abstract expressionist movement.
In this teacher-created lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, high school students design their own “system” that shows the impact that society had on a given artist and the impact that this artist might have had on others in an artistic movement.
The Ubuhle (means “beautiful”) artists’ community was established in 1999 by local resident Bev Gibson and master beader Ntombephi Ntombela [En-Tom-be-Fi En-tom-bell-la] to empower local women with the means to provide for their families through art. Review this brochure from the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum to meet some of the female artists who live and work together in the community.
Students will discover how a dancer/choreographer, composer, and sculptor worked together to tell a beautiful story about American history.
Use this guide to actively read "Julia Morgan Built a Castle," a picture book about one of America’s first female architects.
Invite students to explore this National Portrait Gallery exhibition to learn about the extraordinary life of photographer Zaida Ben-Yusuf, an important figure in the pictorialist photography movement in late 19th- and early 20th-century New York.
Previously, most researchers assumed that the people behind these mysterious artworks must have been men. Read this Smithsonian article to learn why they may have been wrong.