Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford.

Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!



Saturday, November 23, 2019

Beauford-inspired Art Lessons

Since January 2018, the Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville program has brought 7- to 10-year-old students at Jean Zay Elementary School in Paris, France and Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville, Tennessee together to learn each other's language and explore each other's culture through the lens of Beauford's life and work.

In the process, the students from both schools have created an amazing body of artwork. Several pieces have been publicly displayed in exhibitions in Paris and Knoxville:

Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville - Knoxville students' excursion to Paris a HUGE success! - Part 1

Jean Zay works inspired by untitled abstract
© Wells International Foundation

Student-Parent Reception for Classes Duo Art Exhibition at KMA

Nature's Way student portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Image courtesy of Mary Campbell

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is not the only organization that uses Beauford's œuvre as an educational tool. Individual teachers, school districts, philanthropic organizations, and prestigious art institutions have included his work in exercises and programs for educators and students for more than two decades.

In 2018, I found a lesson plan for 5th graders published online by Knox County Schools entitled "The Harlem Renaissance - Beauford Delaney Self-portraits." Teachers using this lesson plan were instructed to have their students "use pencils and colored pencils to create simple self portraits that show symmetry and personality through exaggerated features.

In 2017, the Knoxville, TN chapter of The Links, Incorporated organized and implemented a pilot project to introduce Beauford's art to a local public elementary school:

Beauford's Art Inspires Knoxville Elementary School Students

Arts Night display wall
Image courtesy of The Links Incorporated, Knoxville Chapter

The artwork of participating students was shown at the Knoxville Museum of Art:

"Bringing Delaney Home" at the Knoxville Museum of Art

In 2014, I published a blog post about a crossword puzzle created by Alicia L. McDaniel to introduce 6th to 11th grade students to Beauford's work:

Beauford Delaney Crossword Puzzle

In 2013, the Studio Museum in Harlem hosted a Teaching and Learning Workshop for K-12 Educators that focused on experimental painting techniques. Educators were invited to the museum to "enjoy a fun, inspiring gallery tour" to "... discuss works of art with colleagues, create artwork in a hands-on workshop, and discover strategies for implementation in the classroom." They created work "inspired by Brothers and Sisters, an exhibition that examines a selection of abstract paintings by Beauford Delaney and artists in the museum's permanent collection."

In 1993, an article entitled "Four Self-Portraits" by Esther E. Grisham was published in Art Education. At the time, Grisham was the Teacher Workshop Coordinator for the Department of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago. Beauford's 1944 self-portrait is on permanent display at this museum.

(1944) Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
By permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Grisham asks the following questions in her article (among others):

"What kind of expression is Delaney making in this self-portrait?"

"How do the colors and lines help to describe the artist' mood?"

She goes on to suggest three classroom activities for teachers:

A. Ask students to make a list of as many adjectives that they can think of to describe themselves.

B. Using words from their lists instead of lines, have students create a self-portrait concentrating on outlines.

C. Make outlines of students' bodies on plain paper and have students fill in their outlines with words from their lists...

She also invites teachers to ask their students to compare Beauford's self-portrait to that of Vincent Van Gogh.

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and the Wells International Foundation continue to pursue and share information about opportunities to educate and inspire educators and students through Beauford's art. If you know of projects or programs that do so, send details to me by e-mail at .

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