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Ellis Wilson: So Much To Paint
More on Ellis:
Kentucky Muse

Ellis Wilson: Classroom Connections

The KET documentary Ellis Wilson—So Much To Paint profiles a talented Kentucky native who desperately wanted to make his mark as an artist, but whose opportunities were shaped and often limited by his race and by the times he lived in. His story and the remarkable body of artworks he created offer a wealth of possibilities for lessons, classroom discussions, painting and writing activities, and research projects connected to both art and social studies.

Content Advisory: The KET documentary deals with some adult subject matter, such as race-based violence, and includes several artworks depicting nudity. The complete documentary is not recommended for elementary students, and middle school teachers should preview it before showing it to students. As an alternative to the video, you may begin either of these suggested lessons by having students explore the Gallery and Biography sections of this site to gather background information about Ellis Wilson.


High School Lesson Plan

Create an “Ellis Wilson-style” painting:
painting activity
samples of student work
questions to research
writing prompts
teacher’s notes: discovering Ellis

Elementary/Middle School
Lesson Plan

Explore shape, form, and the human figure:
figures activity
samples of student work

More lesson plans related to Ellis Wilson and his work can be found in the KET Visual Arts Toolkit.

Related ITV Resources from KET


KET would like to hear from other teachers who use the documentary in their classroom or have created instructional units around the Harlem Renaissance, African-American art or artists, or other themes suggested by these materials. Please with your ideas so we can share them with your colleagues!

Check our online ITV catalog for upcoming broadcasts of Ellis Wilson—So Much To Paint for Kentucky schools on KET ED.

Resources Index

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