Tacoma Art Museum II – Gordon Parks

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We returned to the Tacoma Art Museum the following year. This time we had practiced movement during the year and had more on a plan for our interaction with the artwork.

Gordon Parks’ photography has a strong social justice theme – inner city violence, poverty, civil rights, and segregation. I previewed the exhibit and prepared information packets about certain key prints. These included background information and a three step narrative. Small groups of four were determined before the field trip and read the information packet in class to develop background knowledge.

Once we got in the museum and toured the exhibit, the small group found their own area and developed vignettes for their narrative. This time we were comfortable with ‘fantastic shapes’ and four different dancer energies: powerful, smooth, quick, and tight. Each vignette was frozen motion and they would practice transitioning between their three+ scenes. Students were choreographing a sequence of movement and shape to show the emotions and energy they learned from Parks’ work.

After a sufficient rehearsal time, the groups preformed their story to their gallery audience in front of Gordon Parks’ work. The photographs are powerful images from history and my students were helping them come alive through their interpretation of the story.

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