At KIPP we have a system called “Do Nows,” a 5 minute exercise to get students brains going. I focus on current events in my “do nows” and the plights of the rest of the world. Since art students are examining wall structures (and we have covered all of the ones students have chosen), my go to website is VICE News. Vice has some heavy topics (only wishing I could be on their travel team) and my kids (students) really love that I present them with adult material to wake up their brains.
My students do ask me, “Why do you show us this in art?” I say great art is always inspired by tragedy. Picasso’s “Guernica,” Dali’s “The Face of War,” and Banksy’s “Frisk” are all examples of artists creating art during conflict. But since many students do not have a foundation for current events (I didn’t have one until college), I use the first 10 minutes of class to give them one.
Today we are focusing on the conflict in the Congo from Vice. You can watch the whole series. It’s pretty interesting.