David Coggins - Author and Artist


Objectives: Artist, writer, set designer, photographer, and author David Coggins preserves his memories in many different forms.  In his book, The Nostalgic Heart, Coggins compiles photographs and drawings after many years of traveling around the world.  It includes numerous stories told to him from people he met, and his own experiences, during his travels.  To him, art is an important way for each of us to understand life and find meaning – to celebrate life itself.  In this activity, you will create a shoe box shadowbox of your own memories or items important to you.

Tools/Resources: MN Original video clip, shoebox, construction paper, tape, glue, markers, small objects, printed images, magazines, scissors, other misc. various arts supplies (paint, markers, etc.) items used to decorate/fill the shadowboxes, paper and pencil/pen.

1) Watch the segment and discuss:

a. Why do you think it’s important to preserve our memories and experiences?

b. How does art help us “understand life and find meaning”?

c. David Coggins says, “(There are a)…number of kinds of art forms to satisfy the basic need to express his or her feelings and thoughts. In process, you find who you are and where you fit in life and where life fits in you.” What does he mean by this?

2) Brainstorm:

a. What are some memories that are important to you or that have influenced who you are today? What image best conveys this memory?

3) Create:

a. Using a shoebox (either the box or the lid), create a shadow box.

b. Collect various images, collages, etc. of memories or people or places or things important to you.

c. Write up an artist’s statement for your completed shadow box to accompany your finished art piece. Share your shadow box and artist’s statement with a partner.

For information on the academic standards fulfilled by this activity download the full guide.

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