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Phoebe Hillemann

Teacher Institutes Educator
Smithsonian American Art Museum

As the Teacher Institutes Educator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, I organize our week-long summer institutes for middle and high school English and social studies teachers: http://americanart.si.edu/institutes. I'm interested in interdisciplinary thinking, arts integration, and the power of dialogue in learning spaces.

Phoebe Hillemann's collections

 

Life in DC: Then and Now

<p>Explore images of Washington, DC, using artworks in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Compare them to the present, learning about changing neighborhoods, people and daily life, natural resources, and arts &amp; culture. This collection can be adapted for students of different grade levels learning about DC history.</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
38
 

Exploring Multiple Perspectives with American Art

<p>We started by doing a close reading of Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing," followed by an analysis of two paintings using Project Zero Thinking Routines:<br /></p> <ol><li><em>Iceman Crucified #4,</em> by Ralph Fasanella, using See, Think, Wonder</li><li><em>Braceros, </em>by Domingo Ulloa, using Step In, Step Out, Step Back</li></ol><p>Returning to the poem, consider how different people we identified in the two paintings might react to the poem. Next, choose two perspectives from any of the texts (written or visual) we've looked at, and use the Two Voice Poem template to compare their points of view on work in America.</p> <p>Reflection Question: What do we gain by considering multiple perspectives on an issue?</p><p><em>This collection was created for the 2019 CATE annual convention in Burlingame, California. </em><br /></p>
Phoebe Hillemann
6
 

Japanese Internment through Art and Documents

<p>These resources can be used in an activity that introduces a lesson on Japanese-American Internment during World War II. </p> <p>1. To begin, show students Roger Shimomura's painting entitled Diary: December 12, 1941. Without providing any background information, use the "Claim, Support, Question" routine to have students make claims about what they think is going on in the artwork, identify visual support for their claims, and share the questions they have about the painting. Document responses in three columns on large chart paper or a whiteboard.</p> <p>2. Following this initial conversation, share the title, artist's name, and date of the painting. Ask students to consider the date in the title, and discuss what significance this date might have. If they don't figure out that this date was five days after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, share that information. Share with students that this painting is part of a series Roger Shimomura created based on the wartime diary entries of his grandmother, Toku, who was born in Japan and immigrated to Seattle, Washington in 1912. Along with thousands of other people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast during World War II , Toku and her family were forcibly relocated to an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Roger was a young boy during World War II, and remembers spending his third birthday in the Puyallup Assembly Center on the Washington state fairgrounds, where his family was sent before being transferred to Minidoka Reservation in Idaho for the duration of the war.</p> <p>3. Jigsaw Activity, Pt. 1. After sharing this context, tell students they will each be receiving a primary source document that relates to the painting in some way. Distribute copies of "Woman at Writing Table," the Superman comic, the Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry, and Toku Shimomura's diary entries. Divide students into four groups, one per document. Give students time to analyze their document as a group and discuss how it affects their interpretation of the painting.</p> <p>4. Jigsaw Activity, Pt. 2. Next, create new groups so that each group includes students who received each of the four sources. Ask students to briefly report on their document and what their original group discussed as its possible meaning and relation to Roger Shimomura's painting.</p> <p>5. Return to the painting as a large group, and discuss how the primary source documents have influenced students' reading of the artwork. </p> <p>6. Optional additional resource: If time allows, have students watch excerpts from Roger Shimomura's artist talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.</p> <p>#APA2018</p><p><em>#visiblethinking</em><br /></p>
Phoebe Hillemann
8
 

Beauty and Truth: The Dust Bowl

<p>This collection explores Alexandre Hogue's 1933 painting <em>Dust Bowl</em> through a global thinking routine called "Beauty and Truth." Supporting materials help build historical and scientific context. </p> <p><em>“Some may feel that in these paintings . . . I may have chosen an unpleasant subject, but after all the [drought] is most unpleasant. To record its beautiful moments without its tragedy would be false indeed. At one and the same time the [drought] is beautiful in its effects and terrifying in its results. The former shows peace on the surface but the latter reveals tragedy underneath. Tragedy as I have used it is simply visual psychology, which is beautiful in a terrifying way.” -Alexandre Hogue</em></p> <p><br /></p>
Phoebe Hillemann
11
 

NCSS 2019: Teaching for Global Competence through American Art

<p>Resources used during a session at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conference in Austin, TX on November 23, 2019.</p> <p>Essential Question: How can visual art nurture students' capacities to take informed action as citizens in a complex, interconnected world?</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
8
 

NHD 2020: Breaking Barriers with American Art

<p>This collection is designed to support teachers and students exploring the 2020 National History Day theme: Breaking Barriers in History. Included in this collection are five prospective topics aligned with the NHD theme, for each of which we have supplied American artworks that could be used as primary source texts and/or inspiration for further research.</p> <p>How did the invention of photography break down the barrier between ordinary Americans and the battlefield during the Civil War? </p> <p>What barriers, both geographic and social, did the invention and expansion of the subway break for New Yorkers? </p> <p>How did James Van Der Zee's Harlem photography studio help a rising middle class African American community break barriers?</p> <p>How have American Indians overcome barriers to tribal sovereignty, and what barriers still exist?</p> <p>How did abstract painter Alma Thomas break gender and racial barriers in the art world?</p> <p>#NHD2020 #NHD #BecauseOfHerStory</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
55
 

Exploring Mickalene Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja

<p>In this activity, students will explore Mickalene Thomas's process, artistic influences, and art historical context. Students will examine Thomas's <em>Portrait of Mnonja </em>(2010, Smithsonian American Art Museum) in depth, and use three supporting resources to build context.</p> <p>1. Have students look at Mickalene Thomas's <em>Portrait of Mnonja</em>. Give them 2-3 minutes to do a quick sketch of the painting.</p> <p>2. Next, ask them to note the part of the painting their eye went to first on their sketch with a star.</p> <p>3. Next, ask students to draw a line through their sketch to show the path their eye used to travel through the painting. Use arrows to indicate direction.</p> <p>4. In pairs or as a class, ask students to share where their eye went first, and why they think it went there. Was it the color? Light? Lines? The placement in the composition?</p> <p>5. Next, students should write a list of 8-10 words and phrases describing the painting. Ask for volunteers to share out.</p> <p>6. As a group, discuss students' impressions of the painting. Ask for visual evidence to back up claims. (e.g. A student says, "she looks powerful." You ask, "what do you see that makes you say she's powerful?")</p> <p>7. To further the conversation, share some background information about the painting: the title, the date, and the artist. Explain a little about Mickalene Thomas's process: posing live models in sets with props and furniture, taking photographs, then painting from the photographs.</p> <p>8. Next, break students into small groups. Each group should receive a printout of ONE of the three supporting resources in this collection. Ask them to compare and contrast their image with <em>Portrait of Mnonja</em>.</p> <p>9. After 4-5 minutes, ask each group to share out the main idea from what they discussed. The teacher should add additional information as it is useful.</p> <p>a. Mickalene Thomas set photograph: Shows the artist's process, how she uses real models and sets. Note patterns and 1970s motifs.</p> <p>b. Romare Bearden collage: Thomas has cited Bearden as one of her artistic influences. Students should note similarities in color, pattern, and flatness.</p> <p>c. John Collier painting: An example from the early 1900s of the "reclining woman" in art history. Students should discuss the passiveness/agency of each of these women, and how a male artist's depiction of a woman differs from a female artist's in this case. Thomas was well versed in art history and was consciously making reference to precedents like this.</p> <p>10. Writing Activity: In small groups, have students write a dialogue between Mnonja and someone else. It could be the artist, the viewer, or someone from one of the supporting resources.</p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><em>Optional:</em> Have students view one or both of the short videos of Mickalene Thomas discussing<em> Portrait of Mnonja</em>. </p><p>#BecauseOfHerStory<br /></p>
Phoebe Hillemann
6
 

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

<p>Each year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a city of more than 70,000 people rises out of the dust for a single week. During that time, enormous experimental art installations are erected and many are ritually burned to the ground. The thriving temporary metropolis known as Burning Man is a hotbed of artistic ingenuity, driving innovation through its principles of radical self-expression, decommodification, communal participation, and reverence for the handmade. Both a cultural movement and an annual event, Burning Man remains one of the most influential phenomenons in contemporary American art and culture.<br /></p> <p><em>No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, </em>an exhibition at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, brings the large-scale, participatory work from this desert gathering to the nation’s capital for the first time. This collection features video interviews with many of the artists whose artwork is featured in the show.</p><p><br /></p><p>Keywords: STEM, STEAM, Design Thinking, Installation Art, Public Art</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
17
 

NHD 2019: Triumph and Tragedy in American Art

<p>This collection is designed to support teachers and students exploring the 2019 National History Day theme: Triumph and Tragedy in History. Included in this collection are four prospective topics aligned with the NHD theme, for each of which we have supplied American artworks that could be used as primary source texts and/or inspiration for further research.</p> <p>Was George Catlin's Indian Gallery an artistic triumph or exploitation of tragedy? How did the expansion of the railroad in the U.S. lead to both triumph and tragedy? How did the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) -- the first New Deal program supporting American artists -- create triumph out of the tragedy of the Great Depression? And finally, how was the fight for African American civil rights shaped by triumph and tragedy?</p> <p>#NHD2019 #NHD</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
41
 

Hindsight is Always 20/20

<p>In <em>Hindsight is Always 20/20</em>, Luke DuBois took the State of the Union addresses from each presidency (up through George W. Bush) and sorted them according to word frequency. The artist then printed the most frequently appearing works as an eye chart for each president, with the more frequently used words in larger type at the top of the chart and the less frequently used words toward the bottom. The traditional eye chart includes sixty-six letters; Luke DuBois’s charts substitute sixty-six words. The lists contain words that are not only important for the issues addressed by each president but also give an impression of how language was used at the time. Each of the forty-one presidencies to have State of the Union addresses at the time DuBois created this series (William Henry Harrison and James Garfield died before they could submit a single message to Congress) has its own eye chart. </p> <p><em>Multiplicity</em>, 2011</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
41
 

Native American Art and Artists

<p>The artworks in this collection were made by artists who identify as Native American. What can we learn from the diversity of media and subject matter? How might these works be used to counter stereotypical narratives about American Indians? </p><p>Created for a March 20, 2018 webinar with Montana teachers.</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
17
 

Remembering Dr. King: Six American Artists Respond

<p>April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. These six artworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collection were created between 1968 and 1996, and respond to Dr. King's legacy in different ways. What does the date of each artwork tell us about the context during which it was made? What can we learn from looking at them as a collection?</p> <p>Created for a March 1, 2018 webinar for alumni of SAAM's Summer Institutes: Teaching the Humanities through Art.  </p> <p><a href="https://americanart.si.edu/education/k-12/professional-development/summer-institutes" style="background-color:rgb(63,63,63);">https://americanart.si.edu/edu...</a> </p> <p>#saamteach #martinlutherkingjr #mlk</p>
Phoebe Hillemann
6