Attention: In mid-July 2019, this site will be going offline. Please contact for information about the next round of Crystal Bridges courses and where to find the most up-to-date course pages.
In this session, you will: 

Your observations of the two paintings in the session Gallery.


Artists discuss how they address injustice in their work.


A composition of at least three layers that addresses a societal concern of your own.


Critique your classmates’ work.

Big Idea 

How do you represent a personal and societal viewpoint at the same time?

When artists create works with big societal messages like injustice, they will often layer in symbolism, metaphor, and references to the past and present; this allows them to provide a contemporary context for historical subjects. Why this approach? Sadly, it is often because history keeps repeating itself. Many of the injustices of today are rooted in the injustices of the past. Think of Wilmer Wilson IV’s artwork from Session 3—he retold a historical event (a former slave who mailed himself to freedom in the North) by covering himself in FOREVER stamps, walking to the post office, and asking to mail himself to freedom. He reinterpreted history for modern times, commenting on the enduring legacy of racism in the United States.

In this session, you’ll explore the work of two artists who have deeply personal connections to issues that affect the entire country. Then you’ll work with an issue you care about and represent the many layers in the most concrete sense—layering transparent materials to create a composite image.

Materials: transparent materials (transparency film, tracing paper, or even semi-rigid plastic packaging), Sharpies, sketchbook, pens/pencils, camera, standard art kit