A Hopeful Future:

Social Justice Protest Prints, “I can use influence for change”


Courtney Behnken and
Camila Salvatierra-Sinn

Grade Level:

8th Grade


Printmaking (Styrofoam Plates)

Objective: Students will create a protest print that supports or protests a social justice issue

Week 1: Discussion/History: Discuss social justice through community circles and plenty of student discourse. Students will explore how visual art has been used throughout history and the world to shed light on oppressive systematic patterns and promote positive change. Students will discover how visual art has been used as a means to cultivate imagination, document history, showcase culture, and promote individual and social change by looking at and discussing various art examples from the past to the present day.

Student Activities:
-Research a social justice issue to address (examples being racial discrimination, immigration, environmental changes, gun control, mental health, hunger/poverty, pay equality, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights)
-Research various ways in which artists have used their art as a vehicle for change (social justice art capture sheet)
-Sketch multiple ideas for protest print
-Finalize idea and make a final sketch of protest print design.

Week 2: Compositional Techniques/Practice with printmaking: Students will explore compositional devices and techniques to best communicate an idea for social justice protest print. Students will explore the art element shape (positive and negative), and art principle emphasis. Students will look at the most famous print in the world, “The Great Wave,” by Hokusia to further examine strong compositional techniques. Students will learn basic printmaking lino block techniques through safety procedures and practice.

Student Activities:
-Fill out capture Sheet while learning about The Great Wave and printmaking 101 (printmaking capture sheet )
-Copy printmaking vocabulary in arts process journals
-Practice lino cutting safely using practice lino block and lino block printmaking tools

Week 3: Begin final project by cutting into lino block: Students will work on demonstrating printmaking techniques and skills and cut their design into their lino block. Each day of the week, we will have a warm up prompt that deals with a social justice topic or printmaking vocabulary word or technique.

Student Activities:

Lino cut 101 video

The Dangers of Silence

Week 4: Make 5 final prints: Students will make 5 final quality prints and make sure to label them correctly. We will have a final art critique at the end of the unit and invite administration to come in and see and discuss the work. Students will learn how to roll ink using brayer to make a successful print.

Student Activities:

-Make 5 final prints

How to make a successful print
-Participate in full class and individual critique
-Prepare artwork for display by matting and making label with title and name
-Selected students will help with the final art display in the center of the school.

Artists & Inspiration

Shepard Fairey

Koy Suntichotinun

Molly Crabapple