Visionary Studio - Art Education


Emmanuella Aristil, Emily Pavacic, and Rachel Da Silva

Grade Level: 9-12

How does water sustain life and why is it becoming an issue?

  • What is the water crisis and who is affected by it?
  • How does water consumption relate to the water crisis?
  • How can art affect social change?

We all need water. Water sustains human life. Water is deeply connected to cultural traditions for all communities. Living in New York City we can buy a bottle of water on almost every corner or drink water straight from the tap without thinking about where it came from, how it got here and that it might be in short supply. Water sources are drying up and being contaminated. With the loss of water, we also lose communities and often their traditions and culture. Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon. There is enough fresh water on the planet for six billion people but uneven distribution, waste, and pollution contribute to the 700 million people in 43 countries affected today by water scarcity. It is estimated that by 2025, that the number will grow to 1.8 billion. In this unit students will make a connection between water consumption, unsustainable water sourcing and the water crisis in the both in the US and globally.

In this class students will be introduced to contemporary artists who are exploring water as a conceptual theme and investigating water rights in their work. Students will create artworks that reflect their understanding of how water sustains life and the current issues of the crisis.

Part I:
The Water Crisis and Affected Communities

Lesson 1: What Water Crisis?
Students will make personal connections to the ways that water sustains life physically, symbolically, socially, emotionally, culturally, and economically though written and verbal responses. Learning how communities are affected by the crisis, students will choose one aspect of the water crisis to research and make a collaborative, visual presentation.

Part II:
Water Consumption and the Water Crisis

Lesson 2: In Just One Day
Students will determine their daily water usage and learn about artists who create sculptures and installations using recycled materials, such as Miwa Koizumi, Aurora Robson, Katherine Harvey, and Jasmine Zimmerman. Working individually or collaboratively, students will create sculptures and/or installations that initiate a dialogue about water consumption and its connection to the water crisis.

Part III:
Final Project

Students will explore the power of artistic creation and expression to build social awareness, critical thinking and bridge communities. Student will explore how contemporary artists such as Liz Miller, Yoan Capote, Christy Rupp and Ulay catalyze and disseminate visual information that encourages solidarity, positive dialogue, intervention, and creative collaboration within communities. Students will create their own print series reflecting on the significance of water at a local and global level.