Middle School

American Progress…Reimagined

Eighth grade ESS students began their unit on westward expansion by identifying and analyzing the many symbols in John Gast’s 1872 painting “American Progress.” As a culmination of the unit, the students are creating original visuals to reimagine this painting for 2024. Thinking as both historians and artists, students consider what messages to visually convey about present-day America, incorporating different types of civic power (a throughline for the year-long course). Topics include AI, climate change, beauty standards, and emerging ideas of Chinese exceptionalism. Accompanied by the students’ artist’s statements, the finished pieces will be installed for viewing in the Carroll Family Learning Center.