The History and Analysis of Public Art: Using Delaware's Desegregation History as a Ground to Learn, Interpret, and Create

byLiz Terlecki

Northern Delaware played a significant role in desegregation, a little known fact that is not highlighted by Wilmington’s vast amount of public art—none of which is reflective of the civil rights movement. However, not only does the absence of public art dedicated to the civil rights movement create an opportunity for speculation and conversation, but it also provides some context for high school students in the Christina School District who are still being bused out of the city of Wilmington and into the suburbs to attend high school as a direct result of desegregation. Through the exploration of various examples of public art, including monuments, memorials, murals, and interactive installations, students will not only develop a proposal for a much needed civil rights-themed monument within their own city, but they will also collaboratively construct a piece of unique public art to be displayed within their own school—one that represents their unique blend of both city and suburbs. Students will investigate and analyze both local and national public art, gaining an appreciation for the statues and monuments that they pass by on a daily basis and learning how they fit into the greater context of public art.

(Developed for 3D Design II/Visual Art, grades 10-12; recommended for Visual Art, grades 1-12)

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