Teacher Spotlight: Samantha Sibbet- Art History and Embracing Cultural Relevance

Teacher Spotlight: Samantha Sibbet- Teaching of Art History and Embracing Cultural Relevance through Kehinde Wiley


In the San Diego Unified School District, Samantha Sibbet merged fundamental art history concepts with contemporary cultural relevance through the exploration of Kehinde Wiley’s influential artworks.


Introduction to Art Fundamentals:

Samantha Sibbet laid a solid foundation for her 1st grade students by introducing the basics of visual art. They delved into key elements such as background, foreground, landscapes, still life, and portraiture. Through engaging lessons, students gained the ability to recognize these artistic fundamentals, giving them critical language as they proceeded to use these artistic techniques in their own collages.



Cultural Relevance through Kehinde Wiley – The Obama Portrait:

The curriculum took a turn as students were introduced to Kehinde Wiley’s groundbreaking portrait of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Wiley’s portrayal of Obama, seated against a lush, vibrant backdrop filled with rich symbolism, captured the attention of the students.


Hands-On Collage Projects with Wiley’s Influence:

Motivated by Wiley’s art, students channeled their newfound inspiration into their own collage projects. Drawing from their understanding of art history and the impactful lessons from Wiley’s portrait of Obama, they incorporated elements of symbolism and representation into their artistic creations.


By introducing students to Kehinde Wiley’s poignant portrait of Barack Obama, this teacher provided a gateway to understanding the fusion of traditional art forms with contemporary cultural relevance. The exploration of this significant artwork not only introduced basic elements of artistry but also sparked their own curiosity and creativity.


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