The 12th Annual Third Grade Dinner Party
ArtSpace third graders continued a long-standing tradition last week with their presentation of The Dinner Party. The Dinner Party is a project brought to ArtSpace by Ms. Lori when she was in the role of arts integration facilitator in 2003. Inspired by the work of artist Judy Chicago, the work is an adaptation of her 1979 collaborative feminist work of the same name.
In Chicago’s piece, 99 place settings were set on a triangular table, each setting a tribute to a particular woman who had changed the world in some way. On the inset of the table, 999 smaller triangles with names of other notable women filled in the table. Chicago was spurred to undertake this massive project because she was once told by a professor women never did anything important in history and that is why people don’t learn about them.
The ArtSpace version of The Dinner Party allows 3rd graders to choose someone of any gender with the caveat that it must be an inventor, philanthropist, or artist who created change in the world in some way. Students read biographies about their chosen subject. From that research, students then create a plate and table setting in their visual arts class, learn a song about changing the world in music, write and develop a monologue in their home room and theatre class.
This year’s Dinner Party had many highlights and exciting characters – from movie-maker Steven
Spielberg, to soccer star Mia Hamm – and serves as a great example of how integrating the arts can be a deep and rewarding experience for students and audience alike.