Faces of the Adirondacks
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Grade: 7th Grade
Class: Art
Author: Sally Hartman
Retired - Heuvelton Central School
NYS Content Area Standard:
The Arts:
Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts
Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials & Resources
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Natural HistoryCulture & The Arts
Keywords: mask
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: f Adirondack plants or animals were people, what would they look like?

This challenge is intended to invite students to interprete other living forms in human terms - to personify them. Students will need access to numerous examples (movies, pictures, illustrations, real-life encounters) of Adirondack plants/animals to observe them closely.

Note from Author: Maskmaking can be completed in a variety of ways. both in process and materials. A theme for the masks can be developed from many social, cultural, and natural subjects. Options for presentatioin include plays, displays, parades or photo-scrapbooks, etc.

The Challenge:

With a partner chosen with the help of your teacher, create a mask-portrait of an Adirondack plant or animal of your choice. As you engage in this challenge, please consider the following:

- Your task is to capture the "spirit" of the Adirondack plant or animal you have chosen. Observe your plant or animal closely (pictures, movies, real life). If it was human, what personal characteristics of the plant/animal might you admire or want to have yourself? Is it brave, patient, strong, protective, wise, caring, beautiful, etc? How might this characteristic show itself in the "face" of the animal/plant?

- Create some sketches of your plant/animal with its "face" as a central focus. Discuss these sketches with your partner, teacher, or classmates. Which sketches successfully capture the spirit you've identified? What "appendages" might you add to the "face" of the plant/animal to help an observer identify your animal/plant more easily?

Once you've decided on the sketch you will use as your model, please create your mask-portrait using the following process:

- Create a basic structural support for your mask-portrait

- Enhance the support with detailed appendages

- Apply two coats of paper mache to the support

- Apply finishing coat of paper, towel final surface coat

- Guided by the model sketch, paint the surface of mask appropriately

- Photo document the final product

- Complete a credit line

Be prepared to share and discuss your work with your classmates

Examples of Student Work

An Arts Forever Wild challenge

Product Quality Checklist
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Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

Mask captures and communicates the spirit of the Adirondack plant/animal


Preliminary sketches of plant/animal are completed and discussed


Basic structural support of mask is contructed


Structural support of mask is enhanced appropriately with detail appendages of plant/animal


Two coats of paper mache are successfully applied to mask


Finishing surface coat of paper is applied and toweled


Surface is painted referring to preliminary sketch(s) as guide


Final product is displayed and photo documented


Credit line is completed


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