MAGPI Members: There are 6 spaces available for MAGPI Members. Members must have H.323 videoconferencing capabilities.
Non-MAGPI Members: There are 4 spaces available for non-MAGPI members that have H.323 capabilities and are connected to their national/state research and education network.
The Civil War and American Art, linked to the 2012-2013 special exhibit of the same name at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, examines how America’s artists represented the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath. The exhibition follows the conflict from palpable unease on the eve of war, to heady optimism that it would be over with a single battle, to the growing realization that the conflict would not end quickly and deepening awareness of issues surrounding emancipation and the need for reconciliation.
Genre and landscape painting captured the transformative impact of the war, not traditional history painting. The artworks to be discussed during this videoconference are chosen for their aesthetic power in conveying the intense emotions of the period.
Artists Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson grappled directly with issues such as emancipation and reconciliation; Frederick Church and Sanford Gifford contended with the destruction of the idea that America was a “New Eden.” Most of the artworks selected were created during the war, when it was unclear how long the War might last or which side would win.
An activity for students to complete will be provided, as well as an excerpt from the exhibit catalogue. Educators and students should review the important points of the Civil War and prepare in advance any questions they have about the exhibit, artworks or Civil War.
Introduction (10 mins)
Presentation of the Civil War and American Art (45 mins)
Q&A/discussion (30 mins)
A teacher guide to the Smithsonian exhibit The Civil War and American Art will be available online to download. Participants will be notified when the guide is available. Upon request only, a limited number of printed guides are avaialble for mailing to participating classes.
Sally Otis is Videoconference Coordinator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In this position, she brings together a background in studio art, art history, and museum education. In addition to training the museum’s videoconference presenters, Sally collaborates with Department of Defense teachers across the U.S., Europe and Asia, developing classroom resources that correlate to their curriculum standards. Before coming to the Smithsonian, she worked at an elementary school, a historic house, a space-science center, and a botanical garden. She has a B.A. in graphic design and a graduate degree in museum education from The George Washington University.