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Art Education

Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence

Born in 1917 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Lawrence moved with his family to Harlem in 1930, where he came into contact with some of the greatest artistic and intellectual minds of his generation. In the previous decade, Harlem had experienced the remarkably creative period known as the Harlem Renaissance, and the neighborhood was still the focal point of African-American culture. Before he was twenty years old, Lawrence had developed a powerful, concise style that expressed all of the vibrancy and pathos of the neighborhood and its occupants.¹


Questions to Consider

What are the distinguishing features of Lawrence’s collage?
What symbols or images does Lawrence use repeatedly or often?
What are the different parts of the scenes in his paintings?
What ideas or themes do you think are important to Jacob Lawrence?
Can you list the various components of his work?
How would you prioritize different images that are important to you?
How would you organize elements within a composition to create a story or theme?
What way would you design a story or a theme using the images you gathered?
How do the skills developed in the previous projects help develop the new illustration?
How would you organize the various elements so that all the items make a balanced whole?
How would you apply the knowledge you gained about him to create your own panel series?


One Way Ticket, Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, An in-depth look at Jacob Lawrence’s landmark 1941 painting series about the mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to he urban North.


The Migration Series, Jacob Lawrence shares his personal ties to the great migration




Vocabulary Concepts

Collage n. 1. a form of art in which various materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric are arranged and stuck to a backing.

Composition n. 1. Arrangement of artistic elements so as to form a unified whole.

Color Harmony n. 1. A grouping of colors based on relationships between the colors on the color wheel.

Depth n. 1. the amount of space in a picture.

Space n. the feeling of depth in a picture.

Shape 1. the outward form of an object defined by an outline.

Theme n. 1. A subject or motif of a piece of work.


¹Jacob Lawrence, DC Moore Gallery,

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