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Arts Commission

Public Art Education Curriculum

Metro Arts is pleased to provide free downloadable classroom guides, curriculum guides and lesson plans based on eleven public artworks. These customizable lesson plans connect Nashville public artworks to academic standards in visual art, English/language arts, U.S. history, mathematics, physics, science, and social studies. Please contact us to let us know how you have utilized these resources. We would love to hear from you!

Witness WallsCivil Rights Project

Metro Arts commissioned artist Walter Hood to create public artwork to honor the events and the people who made history here in Nashville and created the blueprint for nonviolent protest. His design for Witness Walls utilizes iconic photos of the Civil Rights movement in Nashville set in concrete walls. The installation will be located on the west side of the historic Metro Nashville Courthouse, steps away from the April 19, 1960 student-led protest that led then-Mayor Ben West to disavow segregation of Nashville’s lunch counters. The artwork is expected to be installed in 2016.

Lesson plans were created by the 2014-15 teacher cadre and the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation. Funding for the teacher training and lesson plans was provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Lesson plans are customizable for middle and high school students.

Ayers Institute Lipscomb University logo Tennessee Arts Commission logo

Witness Walls Lessons
Subject Area Grade Length Title of Witness Walls Lessons Full Lesson Plan (single PDF) Lesson Materials (individual documents in ZIP file)
English / Language Arts 6th-8th 2 class periods, 55 minutes each "The Nashville Civil Rights Movement" Witness Walls Middle School English / Language Arts Lesson Plan Witness Walls Middle School English / Language Arts Lesson Materials
Physics 11th-12th 2 class periods, 3.5 hours total "Optical Illusions" Witness Walls High School Physics Lesson Plan Witness Walls High School Physics Lesson Materials
Social Studies 10th-12th 2 class periods, 55 minutes each "Understanding the Force of Nonviolence" Witness Walls High School Social Studies Lesson Plan Witness Walls High School Social Studies Lesson Materials
U.S. History 11th 60 minutes "Address in Time: 1960 Nashville, Tennessee" Witness Walls High School US History Lesson Plan Witness Walls High School US History Lesson Materials
Visual Arts 6th -8th 2 class periods, 50 minutes each "'Witness Walls' of Story Quilt: Clay Tiles or Mixed Media Artworks" Witness Walls Middle School Visual Arts Lesson Plan Witness Walls Middle School Visual Arts Lesson Materials
Visual Arts 9th-10th 2 class periods, 90 minutes each "Intro to Casting Concrete & Media as Metaphor" Witness Walls High School Visual Arts Lesson Plan Witness Walls High School Visual Arts Lesson Materials

Edmondson ParkSupported by the AncestorsRoad to the Mountaintop

Two internationally-known artists, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley, created site-specific public artworks for the newly revitalized Edmondson Park on Charlotte Avenue just west of downtown. The project honors William Edmondson, a native of Nashville/Davidson County and a self-taught sculptor. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1937). Like Edmondson, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley are self-taught artists. Dial’s Road to the Mountaintop and Holley’s Supported by the Ancestors were installed in the summer of 2014.

Lesson plans were created by the 2013-14 teacher cadre and the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation. Funding for the teacher training and lesson plans was provided by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Lessons are customizable for middle and high school students.

Ayers Institute Lipscomb University logoArt Works Logo

Edmondson Park Lessons
Subject Area Grade Length Title of Edmondson Park Lessons Full Lesson Plan (single PDF) Lesson Materials (individual documents in ZIP file)
English / Language Arts 7th 90 minutes plus homework "William Edmondson and the impact of legacy: how can one life affect others?" Edmondson Middle School English / Language Arts Lesson Plan Edmondson Middle School English / Language Arts Lesson Materials
English / Language Arts 9th-10th 2 class periods, 50 minutes each "Live Your Epitaph" Edmondson High School English / Language Arts Lesson Plan Edmondson High School English / Language Arts Lesson Materials
Mathematics 7th 90 minutes "Examine directly proportional relationships via a lens of artistic creativity" Edmondson Middle School Math Lesson Plan Edmondson Middle School Math Lesson Materials
Mathematics 8th-12th 2-3 days, 90 minute blocks "Interpreting Functions" Edmondson High School Math Lesson Plan Edmondson High School Math Lesson Materials
Science 7th 60 minutes "Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures: Art or Chemistry?" Edmondson Middle School Science Lesson Plan Edmondson Middle School Science Lesson Materials
Science 9th-10th 6 blocks, 90 minutes each "Adaptation and the Found Object Feeders" Edmondson High School Science Lesson Plan Edmondson High School Science Lesson Materials
Social Studies 8th 6 class periods, 50 minutes each "The Art and Times of William Edmondson" Edmondson Middle School Social Studies Lesson Plan Edmondson Middle School Social Studies Lesson Materials
Social Studies 9th-12th 4-5 class periods, 50-60 minutes each "In what ways might the artists William Edmondson, Thornton Dial, and Lonnie Holley lives, experiences and/or art have intersected?" Edmondson High School Social Studies Lesson Plan Edmondson High School Social Studies Lesson Materials
Visual Arts 6th 10-11 class periods, 55 minutes each "Edmondson/Holley Inspired Sculpture" Edmondson Middle School Visual Arts Lesson Plan Edmondson Middle School Visual Arts Lesson Materials
Visual Arts 11th-12th 6-9 blocks, 90 minutes each "Self-taught Artist" Edmondson High School Visual Arts Lesson Plan Edmondson High School Visual Arts Lesson Materials

Aileron

Aileron

In the spring of 2012, Aileron was installed in McCabe Park, the former McConnell airfield site, in the Sylvan Park neighborhood. Artist Michael Dillon referenced the history of the area in the design of his sculpture. Representing the biplane of the early 20th century, this sculpture captures upward movement in the supporting structure as well the actual movement of the wing in a 360-degree horizontal wind-activated motion. In its fabrication, the artist used traditional blacksmithing techniques and tools used in the manufacturing of railroad equipment. These techniques were inspired by the railroad that borders the park.

Aileron Visual Arts Education Guide

Aileron Artist's Sketches

Aileron Video-Visual Art Standard 1.0-Media, Techniques & Processes

Aileron Video-Visual Arts Standard 2.0-Structures & Functions

Aileron Video-Visual Arts Standard 3.0-Evaluation

Additional lesson plans were created by the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation. Lessons are customizable for middle school students.

Ayers Institute Lipsomb University logo

Aileron Lessons
Subject Area Grade Length Title of Aileron Lessons Full Lesson Plan (single PDF) Lesson Materials (individual documents)
English / Language Arts 7th 50 minutes "Which idea convinces me?" Aileron Middle School English / Language Arts Lesson Plan Aileron Middle School English / Language Arts Lesson Materials
Mathematics 7th 2 class periods, 90 minutes each "Creating a proportional replica of Aileron for a display" Aileron Middle School Math Lesson Plan Aileron Middle School Math Lesson Materials
Science 7th 50 minutes "What is the biplane's place in aviation history? How did the technology of the biplane respond to social, political, and economical needs? Aileron Middle School Science Lesson Plan Aileron Middle School Science Lesson Materials
Social Studies 7th 2 class periods, 50 minutes each "Is the sculpture Aileron an appropriate monument to the history of the land that is currently McCabe Park?" Aileron Middle School Social Studies Lesson Plan Aileron Middle School Social Studies Lesson Materials

WatermarksWatermark: Tool FireWatermark: Bench MarkWatermark: Emergence

Watermarks is a series of public artworks located in Nashville neighborhoods affected by the 2010 flood. Through the Metro Arts public art process, six artists were chosen to create artworks honoring the experiences of those touched by the flood. Each artist participated in community meeting and input sessions that informed their final designs. The series includes artworks at the Antioch Community Center (Antioch/Blue Hole Road), Harpeth Knoll Park (Bellevue), Hartman Park (West Hamilton/Whites Creek), Shelby Bottoms Park (East Nashville), Two Rivers Park (Pennington Bend/Opryland), and West Park (West Nashville/Delray).

Watermarks Classroom Guide
Lesson plans are customizable for grades K-4.

Ghost Ballet for the East Bank MachineworksGhost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks

Installed in 2007, Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks is located on the east bank of the Cumberland River, opposite downtown Nashville. The 100’ x 100’ x 60’ sculpture was Nashville’s first Percent for Public Art commission and remains its largest. The artwork references the site’s industrial past and visually echoes current surroundings, including nearby bridges and the NFL Tennessee Titans Nissan Stadium. Its dynamic form conveys a sense of the area’s evolution from an industrial working river to recreation and entertainment.

The classroom guide was created by the TPAC Education staff of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Funding was provided by Regions Bank.

Ghost Ballet Teacher’s Guide
Lesson plans are customizable for grades K-4.