Visionary Studio - Art Education


Ahmed Faheem Soliman, Danielle Karagannis, Stephanie Mager

Grade Level: 9-12

How can public spaces be transformed to serve individuals and communities?

  • What public spaces are meaningful to us and why?
  • How do artists represent and transform public spaces?
  • How can public spaces serve a diverse community?

Cities are made up of an incredible diversity of people and communities, public and private spaces. Urban density forces us to share space with other city-dwellers and visitors. In this unit, students will take a closer look at the similarities and differences between personal and public space. They will also explore the routines, routes and habits they perform in city spaces – trying to uncover and document the places, people, and buildings they pass everyday and that often remain unnoticed.  They will explore how a public space can take on personal meaning as well as voicing their concerns with the loss of personal space within a metropolitan area. Students will be shown the work of different artists that work with issues of space, mapping, and personal journey. These projects will allow students to research, reflect, and find their personal story behind their daily travels and experiences in New York.

Class Sessions

How do places take on meaning?

Week 1: Subway Segway
Using NYC subway maps as a starting point, students will work in pairs to reflect on their urban routes and what gives specific places meaning for them.

Week 2: A Day in the Neighborhood
Through observation, drawings, interviews, photographs, reflections and other explorations, students will collect as much information as they can about a specific public place and create a mixed media collage that reflects their findings.

How can a public space serve a diverse community?

Week 3: Modern Makeovers
Students will discuss the reasons for architectural modifications and choose a city building to modify in connection with contemporary public use or needs.

Week 4: iFlyer
Students will create propaganda posters to advocate for spaces that are lost within the urban landscape.

How can documenting your daily journey have an affect on ones’ emotional ties to public space?

Weeks 5-9: Photo-Diary & Final Project
Students will document their daily journeys over the course of 3 weeks by taking at least 3 photographs each day and represent their findings through a photo diary. Using their heightened awareness of the city and their relationship to it, students will create a final work that explores one particular aspect of their urban environment that they would like to investigate and transform.