After introducing and showing students each of the featured works in this time period, discuss the early 1900’s in New York City. What was happening at that time? Why do you think there was such attention to using art to educate students? What is the historical context in which each of the images was made? You may want to introduce the City Beautiful Movement, which spoke to the sentiment that beautiful places and spaces would make a better person. Have students discuss what was going on in NYC and even the United States to understand the relationship between the work of art and the time period. What do you think compelled the artist to use the imagery that he or she used? Discuss the different approaches to subject matter that artists took. Some took a more factual approach, while others painted allegories or satires.
Do you think that the artists who are commissioned to create works of art for schools today should use the same approach? How has our viewpoint about specific events changed over time? Ask students to consider how they would depict a historical event, and develop a loose sketch. Have student write a statement about the event, their perspectives and opinions about its significance, and how it has shaped our history. Who did they include in their paintings and who did they leave out? What type of viewpoint did they use and why?