January Monthly Art Challenge: Poverty Awareness Month featuring the stories of Basquiat, Catlett, and Van Gogh"

As we step into January, a month that not only marks the beginning of a new year but also serves as a poignant reminder of societal challenges, we present an inspiring monthly art challenge, aligning perfectly with January as Poverty Awareness Month. This project combines the artistic legacies of three influential figures—John-Michel Basquiat, Elizabeth Catlett, and Vincent Van Gogh, all artists who lived in poverty at points during their lives—with a contemporary twist: a digital Keynote art project in which students create their own virtual street art.

John-Michel Basquiat: Channeling the Streets into Art

A luminary in the 1980s New York art scene, Basquiat's journey from homelessness to artistic acclaim reflects a triumph of creativity over adversity. Look at Basquiat's innovative approach to street art, infused with socio-political commentary, and let it guide your creations for the digital Keynote project.

 Elizabeth Catlett: Sculpting Social Consciousness

Elizabeth Catlett's sculpting prowess and commitment to addressing social issues, particularly those related to race and gender, resonate powerfully. Explore her legacy, and infuse your art with the same sense of purpose. Let your Keynote project be a canvas for meaningful narratives that align with societal causes.

Vincent Van Gogh: Colors Amidst Struggle

Van Gogh's tumultuous life, marked by poverty and mental health challenges, didn't hinder his ability to create works of enduring beauty, as he now serves as one of the world’s most famous artists. Dive into Van Gogh's palette of emotions, and use the Keynote project to explore how colors and visual elements can convey powerful messages, even in the face of personal struggles.

Digital Keynote Art Project: Street Art for a Cause

In the spirit of Basquiat's raw street art legacy, the challenge extends to a digital Keynote project. Students are tasked with designing street art that echoes personal or societal causes close to their hearts. It's an opportunity to amplify voices, raise awareness, and contribute to meaningful conversations through the visual language of art.

Aligning with Poverty Awareness Month

January is not only a canvas for artistic expression but also Poverty Awareness Month. Each of these revered artists—Basquiat, Catlett, and Van Gogh—navigated periods of poverty, turning their struggles into sources of inspiration. This month, as you embark on the art challenge, let their stories infuse your work with a deeper understanding of resilience, empathy, and the potential for art to drive change.

The January monthly art challenge encourages  you to explore, create, and resonate with the enduring stories of Basquiat, Catlett, and Van Gogh. As we align with Poverty Awareness Month, let this be a reminder that art has the power to transcend circumstances, spark conversations, and make a lasting impact. Embrace the challenge, let your creativity flourish, and contribute to a collective narrative of artistic resilience and social awareness.

This Monthly Art Challenge is an ongoing collaboration amongst Apple Distinguished Educators and Art Educators, Laurie Doran, Lindsay Fell, Heather McCutcheon and myself, Bethany Nugent. Check out previous editions and be on the lookout for more to come!

Download the accompanying Street Art Keynote Activity file here: https://education.apple.com/resource/250012152



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