Mural-venture: Student Guide

Introduction | Overview | 1.Background | 2.Presentation | 3.Brochure | Feedback | Conclusion | Resources | Glossary

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Murals are a window into the culture and politics of Nicaragua. What do you see when you look at the mural above? What do you think of when you see any mural? What makes murals different than other forms of art? And how are the murals of Nicaragua different than those found in other countries? We will explore the answers to these questions through "Understanding Murals" an activity designed by the makers of "Expressions of Central America" to help you appreciate the many murals found in the mural tour.

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Your mission is to become a mural expert and share your expertise with others through designing a mural tour brochure. This website will provide you with all the information you need to know to make your tour brochure interesting and professional. It will take you through three steps

Step 1:
Become knowledgeable with murals. Get the tools here.
Step 2:
Present a mural to the class
Step 3:
Design a brochure about murals with your class

Step 1:
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Pair up!
Welcome to our discussion about murals! You should find a partner to complete this activity with in your class. Just as murals are not completed in isolation, so too this activity should not be completed in isolation.

Tips for Step 1:
As we progress through the questions, you should take notes about your own thoughts. Then when you and your partner are done writing you should share what you wrote with each other. Your notes will help you complete your final project.


Step 2:
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Now we will put all that knowledge to work! Follow the three steps below to prepare your mural presentation.

Choose your mural:
Now that you have become mural experts it is time for you to apply your new skills to a mural of your choice. Take time now to scroll through the many images found in the Expressions of Nicaragua Mural Tour. Copy to your computer images of murals that you find most interesting, more beautiful, or most disturbing.

Analyze your mural:
What can you tell us about the mural by just using your eyes and what you already know about murals in general? The toolbox below is loaded with questions to focus your analysis. You will need to use everything in the toolbox in order to do a complete analysis.

What is the Context of the mural?

  • Social context- Who are the people who made it? How does it fit into the community?
  • Physical context-Where is it?
  • Political context- What is it's purpose? Does it sell, promote, inform, inspire?
  • Historical context- When was it made? What difference does that make?

Visual Elements
What do you see? How do the light, color, form, and size together create an impression?
  • Color-How is color used?
  • Scale-What is the scale? How does it compare to other media?
  • Light-How did the artist use light? Is one area brighter?
  • Lines and Forms- Where do the lines lead your eyes? Do you see solid, stable shapes or lots of curves and diagonal lines suggesting unrest and movement?

Show us what you know:
You and your partner are tour guides. Your classmates are on a tour with you through the streets of Nicaragua looking at the murals. They have come upon the mural you are experts on. Now it is your turn to share with the tour group (your classmates and teachers) what you know about how to look at that mural.

Presentation tips:

  • Try pointing to different parts of the mural to illustrate your point.
  • Juxtapose two murals or your mural and other image to make comparisons
  • Don't get caught up in what you think the artist was thinking when they created the mural. Talk about what you know from your eyes and from your background in mural analyzing.
  • Learn more about murals through sources on the Internet.
  • Before you jump to conclusions about what the mural is about- describe to your class what you see step by step. Then describe how these elements together (color, line, context, etc.) create a visual impression.
Step 3:
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Work with your teacher to develop a brochure with your class. Just as the groups of artists put together the murals, your team of mural experts can put together a brochure about murals to share with the audience of your choice.
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Your teacher is the judge of your brochure. Your teacher will look to see if you brochure answers all of the questions in the toolbox. These are your guidelines for evaluation.
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More Murals
Now is a great time to think about what you learned. What are some ways you can use these tools in other contexts? Make plans with your class to visit a mural in your neighborhood. Find out about who produced those murals, who funded them, and what they mean to your community.

Have you ever thought of what it would be like to complete your own mural?
Check out How to Make a Mural

What is it like to be a Nicaraguan muralist? Find out by listening in on an interview with muralist artist Julie Aguirre.

More Nicaragua
Now that you have looked at Nicaragua through understanding its murals, learn more about it by visiting Expressions of Nicaragua.

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composition the arrangement of parts that together form a unified whole
context the parts of the environment (physical, environment, historical, etc.) that surround something such as a word, passage, or work of art and can throw light on its meaning
depict to represent in a picture
facade the face of a building
to place side by side
historical context the events that took place around something through which you understand that thing
impression an effect, feeling, or image retained after an experience
media forms of expression determined by materials or creative methods
physical context the physical environment around something
political context the environment in which something is produced indicating it's purpose or agenda
social context the environment of people that surrounds something's creation or intended audience
the main theme of a work of art

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