Culture, Community, and the Classroom: Iconography

What happens when you bring students out of the classroom and into a working artists’ studio? This residency began in the classroom with a painting workshop led by a professional icon painter. Then, students had the opportunity to see the impact of the artist’s work when they visited the local church where his icons cover the walls and ceilings. Seeing his work in-person inspired students to ask questions about the intention of the icons and their role in communicating narratives to parishioners, leading to deeper inquiry and insights.
8”x 8” canvases, acrylic paints, paintbrushes, Artist Portrait, Artist Statement

A Culture, Community, and the Classroom Lesson by teacher Helen Martin.

TITLE: Iconography


Helen Martin is an art teacher at New Scotland Elementary School in Albany, NY.

ARTIST COLLABORATOR: Altin Stojah, Icon painter

LENGTH: One-hour studio session, One-hour visit to St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church

Find the complete lesson plans in the sidebar under “Downloads.”


VA:Cr2.1.6 a. Experiment and develop skills in multiple artmaking techniques and approaches through practice.

VA:Re7.2.5 a. Identify and analyze cultural associations suggested by visual imagery.

VA:Cn10.1.4 a. Develop a work of art based on observations of surroundings.

VA:Cn11.1.5 a. Explore how works of art and design contribute to the quality of life within a culture.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.7 Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).