Culture and Arts


Step 1: Visit the Art Institute of Chicago’s website (
Links to an external site.
) to view a curated list of highlights from their collection. You must listen to the audio clips for each of the 13 works of art highlighted.
Step 2: Focus on Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic. Links to an external site.
Click on the painting to zoom in on different parts of the painting and see its various details.
Step 3: Watch the following video:
Smart History: “Wood, American Gothic Video”

Step 4: Do some external research on Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic and the artist. Visit at least two (2) sources, or websites, that are not the Art Institute of Chicago’s website or the “Wood, American Gothic” Smarthistory video. The idea is to dig a little deeper on the internet to learn about the artist and his work. Where did he live and work? What was the time period and context in which he lived? What was the artist trying to accomplish with his painting? Etc.
Step 5: Write a formal paper that follows the following format:
● Start with a paragraph introduction. The introduction can explain your experience with visiting museums or art galleries. Or it could include your first experience with looking at Grant Wood’s painting “American Gothic.”
● Whatever you decide, just create an introduction (about 3-4 sentences) that catches the reader’s attention and provides some context. Make sure your introduction paragraph is separate from the start of your visual analysis.
Visual Analysis:
● For your next two paragraphs, write a visual analysis. A visual analysis is all about looking at the painting and describing what you see.

● To do this, write a description of the painting as if you were describing the painting to someone who is visually impaired. This is all about careful looking.
● If you need help with your visual analysis, go back to the assignment “How to do a Visual (Formal) Analysis” under the modules tab, and re-watch the videos.)
● Your careful description of the painting, and what it is depicting (the figures and the objects in the painting), should take up a majority of the first page.
Formal Analysis: Elements of Art
● Finishing the end of page one, (or if you must start at the top of the second page, that’s fine too) your next 3 paragraphs are all about discussing the painting’s formal qualities, which are known as the elements of art. This should not scare you because you learned all about the elements of art throughout this module. So, take your time, and give an analysis of how Grant Wood used at least 3 elements of art, like line, shape, color etc., to create his painting.
● If you need help with your formal analysis of the elements of art, go back to the “Looking at the Composition” video and “Elements of Art Reading” under the modules tab.
● These three paragraphs on analyzing the elements of art should take you close to the bottom of your second page.
● The next two paragraphs (which start at the bottom of the second page and move into the third page) will be about your research.
● To be clear, write about the information you found most interesting (or helpful, etc.) while learning about the artist and the painting.
● I will be looking for a minimum of four (4) sources used in this part of your paper.
● Two of the sources I have provided for you. They include the “Wood, American Gothic Video,” and the Art Institute of Chicago website. (See Steps 1-3)
● The next two sources are what you found independently. Your sources can include information you found on the internet (not Wikipedia), or from the library, like an art magazine, or an art book etc.
● Finally, your last paragraph at the end of your paper (which is a separate paragraph), write about what you think Grant Wood set out to communicate with this painting and its connection to society.

IMPORTANT: For your Research

You must reference/cite your sources in your paper. I know many teachers have different opinions of how you should place your references throughout the text.
However, to avoid plagiarism, I want you to cite (in the text) where you got your information or any ideas that are not your own, even if written or interpreted in your own words. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your works cited.
● To cite a source in the text of your paper use this guide: (short abbreviation of the source website, date)
● Links to an external site.
● .
● In my opinion, it’s good to make an effort to state “According to …..” when you start providing information to your reader that comes from a particular source. Of course, that is not mandatory. Just make sure you let me know where you are getting your information, if not, you are plagiarizing which will result in a zero (0).
● Every source must have in-text citations that let me know where you were getting your information and the in-text citations must correspond to your works cited page.
● You must include a works cited page, at the end of your paper, that cites all the sources you used for your research. If you do not do this, you are plagiarizing. Please use this link from the Owl Online Writing Lab
● Links to an external site.
● to help you.
○ please title your list of references as “Works Cited”
○ The “Works Cited” page is always on a separate page at the end of the document.
○ Here is a link to help you cite electronic sources (aka websites): rmatting_and_style_guide/ ml
○ Links to an external site.

Formatting Requirements: Read over these requirements SEVERAL TIMES.
● paper must be a minimum of 3 pages (all the way to the bottom of the 3rd page).

● your top, bottom, left, and right margins must be set 1″
● indent all new paragraphs
● use 12-point Times New Roman font only
● double-spaced
● include page numbers in the upper right corner of each page (including the first page)
● Always italicize or use “quotations” for titles.
● Upload your paper to this assignment as either a Word doc., or .pdf.
● Make sure you have the following on your “Works Cited” page: the Art Institute of Chicago website, the Smarthistory video, and two additional sources from your research.
● DO NOT include a cover page
● DO NOT include your name, class, or date anywhere on the assignment. It is not needed because you are submitting it through Canvas which provides all that info for me.
● NO extra spacing between paragraphs
Click this link for an Example of correct formatting and layout: Virtual Museum Assignment Example
Download Virtual Museum Assignment Example

Successful assignments will:
● Demonstrate your ability to describe a painting
● Demonstrate your understanding of the elements of art and how they are used in a painting
● Demonstrate your ability to research and discuss the historical context of a paining
● Have in-text citations and a “Works Cited Page”
● Be well written and contain a minimum number of grammatical errors.
● Contain an introduction and a conclusion.
● Use specific titles of all artwork. Formatted correctly.
Check List

Use this checklist to help you successfully complete the assignment.
● You completed all tasks: Visited the Art Institute of Chicago’s website, watched the smart history video, did external research on the American Gothic painting and the artist Grant wood.
● You proofread and edited the assignment using a tool like Grammarly (Links to an external site.)
● Links to an external site.
● You formatted artwork titles correctly.
● You have at least four (4) sources on your reference or works cited page. (This number includes the Art Institute of Chicago’s website and the “Wood, American Gothic” video). You properly cited your sources.
● You uploaded your assignment to Canvas as a word doc. or .pdf

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