Foil Facing

Augusta Savage is a sculptor whose work became well known during the Harlem Renaissance. Augusta Savage was born in 1892 in Florida. She started using clay as child using natural clay near her home. She loved sculpting animals and figures. Her father, a minister, did not approve of her art activity and tried his best to stop her. Despite her father’s objections, and learned to use sculpting materials from a local potter. She entered a local county fair competition and won a prize which inspired her to study art. After attending Cooper Union in New York, she gained popularity and awarded a fellowship to study abroad after being rejected because of her race. She became known as a portrait sculptor. Savage was commissioned to create a sculpture for the 1939 New York World’s Fair she created The Harp, a 16 ft tall instrument with 12 African American youth as its strings. This was considered one of her major works and was destroyed at the conclusion of the fair. She spent the remainder of her life teaching and writing with art as a hobby. Savage died in 1962 from cancer.

  • To learn about a historic artist

  • To expand their knowledge of artists of color

  • To use art to understand an artist’s process

  • To use materials to create a 3-Dimensional design

  • Use art vocabulary to explain choices

  • To understand the use of art element of form

Augusta Savage


  • Aluminum Foil

  • 1 Cardboard box or sheet

  • Toy dolls or figurines

  • Glue


  • Reflections of the Harlem Renaissance virtual gallery

  • Instructional video

Instructional Aides / Resources

  • Form – an element of art; 3-Dimensional and encloses space like shape, it has length and width, but also has depth

  • Sculpture – materials are worked into 3-Dimensional art objects and may be freestanding, on a surface or in an environment


  1. Review the Harlem Renaissance overview and gallery resources provided.

  2. Find a toy doll or figurines

  3. Using a large sheet of aluminum foil, cover the doll or figurine, pressing the foil around the facial features and form so the foil captures the appearance of the figure

  4. Add foil as needed

  5. Glue the excess foil edges to a cardboard box or cardboard sheet carefully so the image remains in tact


  • 3.2PR Demonstrate expressive and purposeful use of materials and tools

  • 1.3RE Explore and describe how works of art are produced

  • Group Activity: Mold the aluminum foil to a group of dolls and organize them to create a story or message

  • Collaborative Activity: Students each create an aluminum foil mold of their hands and combine to create a message of unity and hope

Class Applications

Ohio Education Standards