Documenting Deco: K–12 Learning Program

Documenting Deco is an educational program that provides New York City students with the tools to recognize Art Deco architecture and design and understand the importance of preservation. By introducing students to the Deco splendors in their own neighborhoods, this program fosters pride in local communities.

Through these in-class lessons and walking tours, Art Deco design and architecture becomes the inspiration for students’ own art-making processes, which range from drawings, murals, mosaics, ceramics, computer-based design, photography, and video.

Each lesson of Documenting Deco features activities to cultivate knowledge and understanding in various important aspects of design. It offers educators and group leaders an opportunity to connect the arts, architecture, and design to social studies, language arts, science, math, and music activities.

Through this program, students are given the opportunity to make a personal connection with the visual world around them and see the role they can play in their ever-changing city.

Documenting Deco offers experiences in living history, and explores how each of us can honor the past while imagining the future, fostering New York’s next generation of architects, designers, preservationists, and design enthusiasts.

The slideshow to the right shows students participating in the Documenting Deco program over the past few years as well as photographs that were submitted to the photo contest.

 

See the below lessons for more information.

This lesson utilizes images, a PowerPoint presentation and group exercises to provide a basic knowledge, basic Art Deco vocabulary, and tools to recognize some of the most identifiable features of Art Deco architecture and design.

Activity One:
The Architecture of Deco

Activity One:

The Architecture of Deco

Activity Two:
Neighborhood Gems

This lesson utilizes short videos and the New York Art Deco Registry & Map to take students on a walking tour of the area around their school or community center so they may experience Art Deco architecture and design first hand.

Activity Two:

Neighborhood Gems

In celebration of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Law, students explore the importance of preserving NYC's rich architectural history. Using video clips student connect their own opinions with the LPC's work.

Activity Three: Honor the Past, Imagine the Future

Activity Three:

Honor the Past, Imagine the Future

Activity Four:
Art Deco Around the World

In this lesson, students explore the international origins of Art Deco through a PowerPoint and group activities that offer some examples of how various locations have adapted the Art Deco architectural style.

Activity Four:

Art Deco Around the World

Now that students have a good understanding of Art Deco design, the goal of this lesson is to encourage students to apply the decorative elements of Art Deco to their own creative processes.

Activity Five:
Deco Dream City

Activity Five:

Deco Dream City

In this lesson, students use their new knowledge of photography, the Art Deco style, and landmarked buildings to document Deco architecture and design in their neighborhoods as well as through out the five boroughs of NYC.

Activity Six: 
Documenting Deco

Activity Six:

Documenting Deco

Click here to download a PDF of the materials for the full program. If you would like more information on any of the teaching strategies used in the Documenting Deco activities, click here to download a PDF of the Appendix. 

Acknowledgements

The Documenting Deco Educational Program is provided with funding and support provided by:

 

This program would not have happened without the assistance of many individuals who contributed their time, talents, and knowledge to make it possible. Many thanks to architect and photographer Richard Berenholtz, who inspired Documenting Deco and shares his vast experience with students participating in the program; Judith Spokony, who brings more than thirty years as a New York City educator to creating the teaching guide and student materials; television producer Pamela Kawi who has contributed her talents overseeing all our media; Damian Cavalo for videotaping Richard Berenholtz’s interview; Sandra Tansky for her careful editing and helpful suggestions; Christine Stoddard for her exceptional development and implementation of this program; and David Fuchs for his assistance.

 

Many thanks to the instructors and administrators, for bringing this program to your students. We welcome your suggestions as we expand the program to more schools in the coming year.

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