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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Video Clips

Stone: Russell Dawson



Russell Dawson describes his passion for working with stone to create both decorative and functional works of art. Explaining that he is drawn to the shape and weathered condition of stones, he then demonstrates his skills and understanding of the material, as expressed in the intricate walls, chimneys, walkways, patios, benches, and custom homes he has built in the Murray area. A self-taught stonemason, Dawson hopes his work culminates in a “celebration of nice rocks.”

Suggested Uses:

  • Use to spark a discussion about the artist’s methods and intentions as well as the creative process in general. Have students create art based on the video and your discussion. (See the “Making Art” section of the binder for activities that use this medium or are based on the artist’s ideas and approaches to art.)
  • Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art.
  • Compare and contrast Dawson’s approach to his art with Truman Lowe’s approach to art (the “Contemporary Native American Artist” and “At Wickliffe Mounds” segments on Visual Arts and Culture). Discuss in particular their use of natural materials and respect for tradition and the natural world.
  • Compare and contrast the techniques and methods different artists use in their approaches to the same medium. Or compare and contrast how different media require different techniques and approaches (e.g., comparing artists who work in stone with artists who work in wood or glass).
  • Use as part of a “careers in the arts” unit or as an introductory activity before an artist-in-residence visits your classroom.

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