In the first session of Art Academy for 6-10 year olds this spring, we looked at artists and artwork inspired by food and our rituals and habits around eating. For this project, we took our inspiration from contemporary Swiss artist, Daniel Spoerri, who is best known for his so-called "snare pictures," which are large scale assemblages of what is left on a table after a meal has been eaten by a group of people. These works are made up of "used" cutlery, dinnerware, and napkins. They might also include spilled drinks, leftover bites, change, ashtrays, flower arrangements, wine corks and bottles, or paper ephemera left behind by one of the diners. His works are hung up on the wall, taking the table and its contents to the vertical. Viewed like this, they become intriguing tableaus with clues about what has happened in the moments before we, the viewers, arrived. Our students had fun following the clues and making educated guesses about who was there, what was eaten, and where the meal was enjoyed. In viewing Spoerri's work, they readily made connections to their own experiences dining with family and friends and to the idea that these times are poignant and celebratory. It was easy after this conversation to leap into creating our own tableau of a pizza party interrupted. This lesson could be adapted for students K-12.
These imaginative ink and watercolor castles are inspired by prominent turn-of-the-century Oklahoma architect, Joseph Pierre Foucart. Foucart was the first architect to establish a practice in the Oklahoma territory and many of his unique and historical buildings remain in use today. They are especially prominent in Guthrie, OK, where Foucart set up his practice in 1889. Foucart brought the influence of European Gothic with him to Oklahoma and helped develop a new style called Prairie Gothic. Foucart was known to break some of the rules of his day, irreverently mixing and matching window, door, and column styles on the same building. Without a doubt, Joseph Foucart changed the landscape of Oklahoma with his love for the fantastical and whimsical. The following lesson plan was used in a mixed-age setting with students ages 6-12. It could be adapted for students up through high school.