Abstract Art at the Islamic Community Center

Residency • Visual Arts

Teaching artist James Jankowiak fully embraced the educational power of art in his first residency at the Islamic Community Center of Illinois Elementary School, utilizing the fun and creative nature of abstract art to teach K-6th graders about architecture, visual forms, and mathematical concepts.

The students first studied contemporary abstract art and how it related to Islamic architecture and design. From there, James created several versions of interdisciplinary lessons, designed to meet the learning targets for K-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-6th graders. They learned about math vocabulary, radial designs, and working within limitations.

The oldest students worked together to create a visual piece to be permanently displayed in their school. They each designed an abstract composition on paper squares, which James then pieced together in a beautiful grid design. James said about the experience, “When I brought the completed works back to school after a two-week break, the kids were genuinely and pleasantly surprised at what they saw…They were all extremely proud of their collaboration and we spent the final hour reflecting on a job well done”.

Read more about the students’ work with James on our blog!