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Activities by Grade Level
High School

The Man Behind the Image
The WORK of Art
Foundations of Art
    Interdisciplinary Extensions
    Connections to the Collection

The Man Behind the Image
Language Arts: Standard 4, Tie ins to literature/poetry

Photographer Lotte Jacobi developed a special rapport with even the most difficult subjects, like moody poet Robert Frost. When visiting Frost in Vermont, he decided he liked her so much he gave her a tour of his farm. Jacobi then took a few rare, candid photographs of Frost.

Compare and contrast the photographs Jacobi took of Frost to that of several of his poems, for example…’Birches,’ ‘Dust of Snow’ or ‘Fire and Ice.’ (Note: to view poems by Robert Frost click here.) Have students take a close look at the photographs and write down several adjectives that come to mind to describe this man and his personality. Then, read a handful of Frost’s poems and write down several adjectives that come to mind. Are the words the same? Different? How different?

The WORK of Art
Visual Arts: Standard 3, Select and apply a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas; Standard 5, Analyze, interpret and evaluate their work and the work of others.

Creating a work of art takes a lot more time and effort than most people think. Most of the time, a unique and thoughtful planning process takes place in the mind of the artist. Each artist approaches his/her work differently and on a different schedule. Some complete his/her work from scratch, others plan and execute smaller versions, sketches or practice versions.

Contemporary painter James Aponovich follows a process, which he calls ‘magic,’ knowing his craft and technique and following the direction he feels the paint is taking him. Though it sounds easy, Aponovich spent years immersing himself in a comprehensive study of subjects ranging from geometry to 20th century architecture. He had to teach himself how to unify, structure and develop proportion in a painting, including dealing with the relationship of one object to the next and how it all works together. ³

A. If you were an artist, what would you choose as your subject matter and why? What medium(s) would you want to work with? What would you need to do before you started your work? What would make your work of art unique? What in your world would influence your work? What style of execution would you use? Would you create your work while you were alone or would you let others watch? Would you need complete quiet in your workspace or would you keep the TV and/or stereo on? How long would it take you to complete your work? Would you have a lot of time to complete your work? Why or why not?

B. In Still Life with Chocolates, why do you think Aponovich selected the objects he included in the composition?

Barbara Coles, “James Aponovich: Seeking the Ideal,” New Hampshire Magazine, September 2003.

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Foundations of Art
Grade 9-12

Aim/Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will examine what makes New Hampshire unique by investigating natural resources, landscape and industry.
  2. Students will learn to produce artwork that is a response to visual examples, personal experiences and class discussions about New Hampshire.

See student examples >

Materials/Supplies Needed

  • A ready-made shadow box or a student-made box constructed from wooden strapping (the box can contain dividers that break up the space in a formal way.)
  • Rough draft paper
  • Pencils, erasers, rulers
  • White glue
  • Glue gun
  • Acrylic paints and brushes
  • A variety of collage materials both 2D and 3D
  • Items collected by the students
  • Acrylic clear spray

Length (8) – 50-minute class sessions


Class 1 and 2

  1. Introduce students to a variety of art produced by NH artists, created in NH or inspired by the state of NH.
  2. Discuss similarities or themes in the artwork.
  3. Discuss utilitarian and non-utilitarian art and design.
  4. Discuss Frank Lloyd Wright and his Usonian architecture.
  5. Discuss the use of symbolism and metaphor in art.
  6. Have students express ideas of what NH means to them. Use natural resources, landscape, industry and tourism as prompts to begin the discussion.
  7. Have students brainstorm thoughts on paper.
  8. Use words that inspire a visual image to assist in creating a work of visual art.
  9. Show students the work of Joseph Cornell and Betye Saar.

Classes 3-7

  1. Students will collect and bring into class appropriate objects or photo references that will be used in the work or shared with classmates.
  2. Students will draw a rough draft which includes the components of their box.
  3. Students will construct a box and fix materials inside or paint and draw what is necessary to express their personal views of NH.
  4. Students will work with the formal elements of art in designing their box and its content.
  5. Five minutes prior to the end of each work session, the students can share their progress with their peers, ask for informal advice, write notes in their sketchbook and clean up their workspace.

Class 8

  1. Group critique.
  2. Students will display their finished work in the classroom.
  3. Each student will be given the opportunity to discuss their process and choices for the finished work.
  4. Students will articulate their individual aspirations for their piece and discuss its symbolism.
  5. Classmates will be asked to give positive feedback relating to the learning objectives.

Corresponding Standards
National Standards

  • Content Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques and processes.
  • Content Standard 2: Using knowledge of structures and functions.
  • Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter,symbols and ideas.
  • Content Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
  • Content Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.
  • Content Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines.

New Hampshire Standards

  • Standard 1: Apply appropriate media, techniques and processes.
  • Standard 2: Identify and apply the elements of visual art and principles of design.
  • Standard 3: Select and apply a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
  • Standard 4: Analyze the visual arts in relation to history and culture.
  • Standard 5: Analyze, interpret and evaluate their own and others artwork.


  1. The student will show engagement with the topic through discussion and idea generation.
  2. The student will brainstorm verbal and visual ideas on paper.
  3. The student’s work will exhibit a thoughtful process and an understanding of visual means of communication.
  4. The student will discuss their own work and the work of their peers in context of the learning goals.

New Vocabulary Words
the practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships.
Metaphor a visual symbol that represents an abstract idea.
Construction an artistic composition using various materials; an assemblage or a collage.
Assemblage an artwork made up of objects and materials. A three dimensional collage.
Utilitarian objects whose main purpose is their use.
Usonian a type of architecture invented by Frank Lloyd Wright. This type of house was created to make the most use of every space. The interior and exterior spaces including the home's furniture is designed to be multi functional.

Interdisciplinary Extensions

Social Studies: Learn more about local artists working to contribute to the cultural traditions of New Hampshire.

Connections to the Currier Museum of Art’s Collection

3 Barbara Coles, "James Aponovich: Seeking the Ideal," New Hampshire Magazine, September 2003.

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Lotte Jacobi, Portrait of Robert Frost, circa 1955
Lotte Jacobi, Portrait of Robert Frost, c. 1955






James Aponovich, Still Life with Chocolates, 1984
James Aponovich, Still Life with Chocolates, 1984
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