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James Chapin, Ruby Green Singing: carefully read the passage below. If there are words that you do not understand, look them up in the dictionary. (Read! Look! Learn!).

African Americans have been depicted in American art for centuries. Many times they were depicted negatively in stereotypical roles. James Chapin is one of the artists who challenged these depictions by painting the portrait Ruby Green Singing.

James Chapin was born in 1887 in New Jersey. He studied art in New York City and abroad in Europe. When James returned to New York City he made his living as a commercial illustrator. In 1922, James decided to leave New York City for rural New Jersey. He lived and painted there for five years, creating portraits of farmers and workers.

James returned to New York City and in 1928 he painted a portrait entitled Ruby Green Singing. He portrayed Ruby Green as a strong woman and artist. Her pose is confident and displays the posture of a singer. Her hands are clasped in front of her as a singer would hold them, her head is tilted up and her mouth is slightly open as if we are seeing her in the middle of a performance. There is nothing in the background, so our attention is focused upon her.

Ruby Green graduated from Julliard School of Music in New York City, and sang as a contralto in Hall Johnson's Negro Chorus in Manhattan. She was known for performing gospels with the chorus, but also for performances on radio and later television. Later in her career she traveled to Israel to perform in the opera Porgy and Bess.

Write a Diamond Poem

Diamond poems are a fun way to create a descriptive poem about a subject. The first line of a diamond poem contains the subject. In this case the subject will be the painting Ruby Green Singing. Use the format below to create your diamond poem about the painting. When you are done, display your poem with your classmates next to the image.

Line 1: Ruby Green Singing.

Line 2: two adjectives that describe Ruby Green Singing.

Line 3: three participles that relate to Ruby Green Singing. Participles are verbs that end in "ing."

Example: Singing.

Line 4: four nouns that relate to Ruby Green Singing.

Line 5: three more participles.

Line 6: two more adjectives.

Line 7: Repeat the subject, Ruby Green Singing.

Explore the Harlem Renaissance

This portrait was painted during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Renaissance is a French word that means "rebirth." During this time, Harlem was experiencing a "rebirth" in arts and education. Famous African Americans who made the Harlem Renaissance so important included the poet Langston Hughes, the musician Duke Ellington, and the writer Zora Neale Hurston. In the library or using the Internet research:

* The Harlem Renaissance

* Choose a person who contributed to the Harlem Renaissance.

* Write a report about the Harlem Renaissance and the person you chose.

* Create a portrait of the person to accompany your report.

Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, Florida 33401. Reproduction for classroom use permitted.
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Article Details
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Author:Bentley, Anne
Publication:School Arts
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2003
Previous Article:ArtEd online.
Next Article:Teaching about African art.

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