With then end of the school year upon us, Kate and I wanted to do a fun take on a classic work of art. This often parodied painting was a likely choice. We started gathering facts about American Gothic and it’s painter Grant Wood. How were we going to get two classrooms full of kids excited about this project?
Here are a few facts we shared with the kids:
Wood did not start out as a painter, he traveled to Europe often and enjoyed Gothic architecture, the models were Wood’s sister and his dentist.
He loved sugar and is said to have added half a cup to his coffee, this may explain his friend the dentist! He painted the house along with the people he imagined might live there.
The house is in Iowa and initially people from there thought he was making fun of them in this painting. This style of painting became known as Regionalism.
Kate and I had to gather our props. The kids made the cameos from poster board, we found some overalls, jackets and dresses. We got the pitchforks at our neighborhood hardware store Pagano’s. They were encouraged to dress however they wanted to and to pose with whomever they wanted to. Addison continued to wear her blazer all day while playing a business woman. When the artists created their houses with watercolor, they were asked to include a Gothic window. The rest was up to them!