Women artists from Illinois have spirited stories to tell. With a little research, bolstered by critical thinking and creativity, students can write a short story or a biography about women from their neighborhood. We’ve found that students get very attached to the artists they study.
Three or four students could work on an artist together…one researching and writing about what foods people ate the year the painting was made…another might look into fashions or manners of the day…others might study the type of painting (style, subject, composition) and what it reveals about the artist who painted it. When research and write-ups are done, the team could give a presentation of their findings to the class.
If there are women artists who lived in your town or area of the state, their works and experiences might be of special interest to your students. We can help you locate them. Send us an email telling us your Illinois town, and we’ll locate the artist who is nearest to you. Then you can go to the ARTIST DIRECTORY to learn what we’ve found out about her. You may want to do a little digging to learn more about her and her time period. Please share new information you find with us!
Here are some publications that might be useful. Let us know of others that you find, too.
Farnham, Eliza W. Life in Prairie Land (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1855) describes life in mid-19th century Illinois. It is available online.
Gallagher, Bernice E. Illinois Women Novelists in the Nineteenth Century: An Analysis and Annotated Bibliography (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), which is available online, provides analysis and an annotated bibliography.