Stay Home Art Challenge:  Jacob Lawrence Story Collage

Jacob Lawrence was an important African-American painter known for his portrayals of black culture in the early 20th century. His Migration Series from 1940-1941 consists of 60 panels and depicts the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to Northern cities between World War I and World War II. Lawrence was born on September 7, 1917 in Atlantic City, NJ and, showed great artistic talent from at a young age. After completing his Migration Series at only 23 years old, in 1941, Lawrence was the subject of his first solo show at Downtown Gallery in New York, and became the first black artist ever to be represented by a New York gallery. He shared this about his work, "If at times my productions do not express the conventionally beautiful, there is always an effort to express the universal beauty of man's continuous struggle to lift his social position and to add dimension to his spiritual being." Lawrence passed away in 2000 but his work lives on in the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others.

In Today's Challenge we want to hear your story. The power in Lawrence's work comes from the true story he tells in each painting, one that is honest, something he deeply understood. What is something you know, a place that you love, an occupation that you pour into, a person that you see or holds an important place in your life? You will need scissors, paper, glue and markers or paints for this project. Use bright colors and simple flat shapes like Lawrence to tell a story. This is a great activity to do with your children, you can show them Lawrence's work, and they can create a story from their daily lives. (See the examples below.)

We would love to see your work. Please send a photograph of your Lawrence Story Collage through our email at by 7:00pm on Saturday, June 20th and we will share your work with our MCAC community. 

Two panels from Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series

Lawrence Story Collage examples from children based on activities they like.

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Updated on: June 18, 2020
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