Grades 6-8 Summit Learning

Street Art

This inquiry leads students through an investigation that assesses the extent to which street art benefits communities. In doing so, it provides students with the opportunity to explore the history and tradition of Latinx street murals, the multiple reasons why street art is created, and the various ways that individuals react to street art. Although this compelling question is broad, the inquiry centers on the Latinx tradition and use of street art as community displays. This strategic use of sources is particularly useful in showing the ways that Latinx artists in the United States have used street art in various ways, prompting both praise and criticism from Americans. 


Compelling Question:

Does Street Art Make Communities Better?

Staging the Question:

Participate in a class discussion that explores the “artistic legitimacy” of a series of street art images.

Supporting Question What is the history and tradition of street art in Latinx communities?

Formative Task Write a paragraph describing the history and tradition of street art in Latinx communities.

Sources Source A: “Mexican Muralism”
Source B: “Rufino Tamayo, a Leader in Mexican Art, Dies at 91.”
Source C: “Los Tres Grandes/Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art”


Supporting Question Why is street art created?

Formative Task Create a detailed list of reasons why street art is created.

Sources Source A: “Graffiti: Art or vandalism”?
Source B: “Latino Muralist Man One’s List of 8 Graffiti Artists to Follow”


Supporting Question How do people react to street art?

Formative Task Create an evidence-based claim and counterclaim that answers the supporting question.

Sources Source A: “City of Chicago Graffiti Removal Program”
Source B: “The Literal Whitewashing of Chicago’s Latino Murals”
Source C: “Could Chicago Become the ‘US Capital of Street Art’”?

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Does street art make communities better? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that answers the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Research a prominent street artist and create an art review (e.g., written, blog, podcast) of one of their recent works.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Research public displays (e.g., murals, statues, installments) in your community.
Assess: Evaluate the purpose of and reaction to the display.
Act: Write an op-ed or letter for a local or school newspaper responding to the public display.