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by Mary Erickson, Ph.D.

Faces is a three-lesson unit plan designed in conjunction with the Faces exhibition at the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Faces Exhibition Preview PowerPoint


  • Theme in Life: Groups of people often share ideas, yet each individual makes his or her own personal choices.
  • Theme in Art: Artists’ styles are both personal and influenced by the world around them.

Key Questions
Lessons approach the themes through three key questions.


What are the distinctive characteristics of an individual artist’s style?


How do artists use value (light and dark)?

How do parts of a face fit together to make a portrait?



Community Connections
How does the desert affect the lifestyle of people who live there? In Arizona, we have many ways of adapting to the desert. For example, we remember to drink plenty of water; seek out places to play, sit or park in the shade; and are cautious when walking close to cacti. At the same time we each choose our own style of adapting. Some of us stay in the air conditioning or near a fan, and some of us seek swimming pools, water parks or sprinklers. Others escape to the cooler temperatures of the mountains.


Lesson One
One: What is Style?

What is Style? PowerPoint
OPTIONAL: Linda Tracy Brandon’s Portrait Demonstration PowerPoint
OPTIONAL: Present a collection of old clothing, jewelry, album covers, etc., from your youth.
OPTIONAL: Present several reproductions of the style of one artist, movement or culture.


Lesson Two
Two: Exploring Artists’ Styles at the Tempe Center for the Arts

Exploring Artists’ Styles at the Tempe Center for the Arts (pdf)
“For Kids” educational panels inside the Gallery at TCA
Questor Questions about Vivian Spiegelman’s Portrait Series (pdf)


Lesson Three
Three: A Portrait Style from Long Ago (secondary)

“A Portrait Style from Long Ago” PowerPoint
Metropolitan Museum of Art
OPTIONAL: Linda Tracy Brandon’s Portrait Demonstration PowerPoint

Lesson Four
Four: Animal Portraits(elementary or middle school)

“Animal Portraits” PowerPoint
Collection of photographs or printouts of animal images.
Sketch paper
Middle-tone construction paper or charcoal
Earth tone, black and white pastels, chalks or crayons
OPTIONAL: Animal Faces (pdf) 


Vivian Spiegelman and her students at Gilbert Higley High School
Photography by Linda Crain, Laura Hales and Mary Erickson.
Linda Tracey Brandon
Michael Delahunt at ArtLex

Estimated Time (Secondary)

Lesson One = 45 minutes
Lesson Two = Field Trip or 15-30 minutes if completed in your classroom
Lesson Three = 270-315 minutes

Estimated Time (Elementary or Middle School)
Lesson One = 45 minutes
Lesson Two = Field Trip or 15-30 minutes if completed in your classroom
Lesson Four = 135-180 minutes

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