Teaching Bauhaus to Second-Graders

September 12, 2016

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, Arts Center Education Director Maggie Shapiro Haskett arrived at Jennie Rogers Elementary School with a box of packing materials, some terrific visual aids, and an ambitious goal: introduce twenty K-5th graders to Bauhaus.

(If that name rings absolutely no bells, do not despair!  Keep reading!)

The Bauhaus was an art school in Germany that operated from 1919 to 1933. In a nutshell, the goal of the Bauhaus bauhaus-chess-setartists was to create clean, intuitive designs that integrated craft and fine art into a single style of creative expression. Introducing a group of elementary school students to the design principles of the Bauhaus movement is no easy task, but Maggie was prepared!

First, she demonstrated the basic artistic principles, showing students examples of Bauhaus typefaces, posters, and a very cool chess set designed by Josef Hartwig. He redesigned the traditional chess pieces to make their movements more intuitive. For example, the bishop was represented as an X to signify its diagonal movements.

After exploring several examples, the students broke into groups to create their own Bauhaus-inspired projects. Several worked on creating their own unique font with which to write their names. Others made posters. And two enterprising boys teamed up to create their very own game. After much discussion and several configurations, they proudly presented their puzzle game that challenged players to manipulate a ball through a series of tunnels.


Our school-based arts outreach is made possible by support from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky, Johnson-Pohlmann Insurance, and by gifts from people just like you. Your support is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children!