Creating Meaning in Art

Welcome to, your access to art education resources by Dr. Mary Erickson, Professor of Art at Arizona State University.

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Introduction to Art Inquiry
An introduction to questions as invitations to create meaning both for understanding the art of others and for stimulating one’s own art making.


Stories of Art
Middle school short stories written to introduce broad themes and to stimulate inquiry about art, the everyday world, and art making


Theory of the development of ideas people of various ages and backgrounds use for understanding art, with reflection exercises


Thomas Hart Benton Samples
Samples of descriptive, contextual, and interpretive analysis, plus illustrated handouts for elementary, middle school and high school students


Decoding the Visual Arts Standards
Easy-to-copy grade-specific Arizona standards and free online curricula that address those standards


Art Inquiry Lessons
Growing collection of free lesson plans developed with art teachers and artists in conjunction with exhibitions at the Gallery at the Tempe Center for the Arts, including abundant visuals and PowerPoints.

Tempe Center for the Arts, sponsored by Northern Trust
visual Other Educational Resources
Outline of grade levels, student media, themes, and art concepts introduced in Tempe Center for the Arts lessons

Art Making and Meaning Videos
Access to the videos and related information

visual Art Making and Meaning Educators' Supplement
Lesson plans, recommended adaptations, inquiry map, etc.
Art Making and Meaning: Review, Application and Practice Activities
Adobe Flash is required. This is a big file. Please be patient and wait for it to download.
Meet Brother Mario
Adobe Flash video introduction to the history of Florence, Italy and Santa Croce Basilica as narrated by a young monk in a fresco by Giotto
ViewPoints Art in My World
Entirely online university course built around Art Making and Meaning

Chicano Art for Our Millennium
Over one hundred beautifully reproduced and annotated Mexican-American artworks followed by an educator's supplement with six extensive, thematic, inquiry-based instructional units

WCFA Who Cares for Art?
Lessons for secondary students that introduce the art of the late Luis Jimenez, a pioneer of Mexican American art
IOM Images of Me
Paper sculpture lessons focusing on adolescent identity (Note: If the site looks old-fashioned, it is. It was created in the 20th Century.)
IOM Protest and Persuasion
Lessons that challenge middle and high school students to make prints that protest, persuade, and provoke ideas (Note: If the site looks old-fashioned, it is. It was created in the 20th Century.)

Mary's Resume

Contact Mary