Neighborhood Collage

Romare Bearden was born in North Carolina in 1911. Bearden's family moved to New York City when he was a toddler. His family became very involved in the helping advance the civil rights for people of color. He used clippings from magazines, watercolor, pencils and other materials to show how African-American rights were moving forward. He believed collage allowed him to bring the past into the present. This collection of collages captured the experiences of Black people around his neighborhood. He became known as one of the greatest collage artists of his time. His work has been displayed in many museums. Bearden died in 1988.

  • To study a historic artist

  • To expand their knowledge of artists of color

  • To use creative practice to understand an artist’s process

  • To combine multiple materials to create a narrative

  • Practice art terminology when explaining artful choices

  • To understand the use of art to document personal experiences

Romare Bearden


  • Magazines

  • Glue

  • Scissors

  • Construction paper


  • Reflections of the Harlem Renaissance virtual gallery

  • Instructional video

Instructional Aides / Resources

  • Collage – a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric on to a backing

  • Foreground, Middle ground, and Background - The foreground is the parts of the image that are closest, the background is the parts that are further away, and the middle ground falls somewhere in the middle.


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

  2. Review the step by step video instructions.

  3. Gather materials.

  4. Plan your design.

  5. Glue each item by starting with the background, then the middle ground, and add the foreground items last


  • 2.2CR Combine materials to explore personal artistic ideas

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

  • Individual work - student finds materials, determines a plan, and finalizes a design of their neighborhood

  • Group Collaboration – Students work independently on their collage, then brings collages together to create a community of connected experiences

  • Team Work – Students are split into groups of 3 or more; together, determine a theme and vision for the final design then assign roles for proper execution to complete the collage as a team

Class Applications

Ohio Education Standards