It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. — Maya Angelou
May 21 is designated by the UN as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. What better way to begin a dialogue about diversity than through teaching about art from multiple cultures and time periods around the world?
Educating students about diversity teaches them that differences between people can be very valuable. Learning about different cultures and the people who were creative leaders in those cultures is an important component in valuing diversity. It teaches children to respect diversity while learning of the tremendous benefits of living in a diverse world.
Meet the Masters artists represent a wide variety of world cultures and therefore present a unique opportunity to introduce children to the value of diversity. When studying an artist, students learn more about the world that artist lived in – the geography, culture and even current events of the time. What made this artist’s work revolutionary? How and why did this artist’s creative influence change the world?
There are several ways to introduce diversity to students through Meet the Masters Art Education lessons. Some students, seeing master artists who look different from them, have their eyes opened to the vast world of different countries and cultures. For other students, seeing a famous master artist who looks just like them can be unprecedented and inspiring.
Meet the Masters students can study African-American artists in February during National African American History Month. Jacob Lawrence was an abstract artist who used bright shapes and patterns to portray life in America. Students learn about his life growing up in a poor neighborhood in Harlem, along with vocabulary such as geometric, overlapping, depth, shape and theme. Faith Ringgold told stories with her colorful, patterned quilts. Students learn about her childhood in New York, along with concepts such as visual storytelling, abstracts, patterns, color and design.
Master artists from other cultures and different time periods can teach children important lessons about diversity throughout history. Meet the Masters artists hail from a variety of countries and cultures.
- African American Artists: Lawrence, Ringgold
- American Artists: Calder, Cassatt, Homer, Hopper, Lawrence, Martinez, O’Keeffe, Remington, Ringgold, Rockwell, Warhol, Wood
- Austrian Artist: Klimt
- Dutch Artists: Escher, Mondrian, Rembrandt, van Gogh
- French Artists: Bonheur, Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Renoir, Rousseau, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec
- Italian Artists: Da Vinci and Michelangelo
- Japanese Artist: Hokusai
- Mexican Artist: Kahlo
- Native American Artist: Martinez
- Russian Artist: Chagall
- Spanish Artists: Miro, Picasso
- Swiss Artists: Klee
- Female Artists: Bonheur, Cassatt, Kahlo, Martinez, O’Keeffe, Ringgold
Appreciating diversity recognizes differences between people and acknowledges that these differences are a treasured asset. Learning about different cultures and their contributions to our world today is an essential component of valuing diversity. It’s important for children to learn that all people are unique in their own way, and that diversity provides strength and variety for society.
Learn more about our diverse Meet the Masters artists.
Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.
— Author Unknown