Beach Art ala Goldsworthy


beachMaritime Discovery Schools
SCHOOL:  Blue Heron Middle School
TEACHING ARTIST:  Jesse Joshua Watson

Students create art installations on a local beach that are inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy and that incorporate both a sense of place and basic artistic elements using only material that they find on the beach.


Target Learning: Collects and effectively uses materials.
Criteria: Searches for and collects possible materials to use in compositions. Once gathered, students try out and select their final choices for materials. Students use materials to display basic artistic elements while communicating intended ideas.

Target Learning:  Communicates intended message
 through 2D or 3D art installation.
Criteria: Conveys a sense of “place” and the connection between the beach and sea through contrast, balance, and color choice in an effective composition.

2D, 3D
Found Materials
Andy Goldsworthy
Visual Communication

Anything not living (plants, animals) found on beach. Examples: drift wood, flotsam, shells, litter


Film: Rivers and Tides






Concepts Introduced:

Art Installation: Students observe the work of Scottish artist, Andy Goldsworthy, and discuss finding traditional artistic elements in his installations made most often of natural found materials.

Visual Communication: Students learn how to share a particular message or concept through visual communication. Students analyze space, detail, contrast and balance in art and how they can direct the viewer’s eyes and thinking through a composition. They learn how to alter a design to better communicate the ideas intended to get across to the viewer.

Teaching Artist:

Share and discuss Rivers and Tides film featuring the artwork and process of Scottish artist, Andy Goldsworthy. Discuss the concept of art installations and how one might transform existing materials in a space into art. Discuss how one can use traditional artistic elements like balance, contrast and movement with nontraditional materials such as shells and litter.

artGuide students through example installation and discuss why teaching artist uses various materials and for what effect.

Give examples of discussing the meaning or the intention in the piece after creating it and instruct students that they must prepare a statement or performance that will be shared during the final viewing of the art.

 Facilitate process of selecting the right material for the right effect or combining contrasting surface textures or colors in their final composition.

Students create their own compositions with one or two people per installation.

Students present their work to the class during an art walk in which teaching artist leads the class through each art installation, allowing time for each student to discuss their work or give a short performance that incorporates their work and helps communicate their intent.

Assessment: Reflection Questions in Process

artWhich pieces create harmony with the surroundings?
When you look at all of the beach art together, which one(s)
stands out? 
What makes it (them) effective? 

How can students come together and collaborate together on pieces when every student has a different idea of what they want to do? How can you communicate artistic ideas in a group setting?

In what ways can you use space, contrast, balance, color choice, and effective sculptural elements that reflect a sense of place in your installation composition?

Washington State Arts Learning Standards: Visual Arts
Anchor Standard 1: Creating: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Performance Standard (VA:Cr1.1.4): a. Brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem.
Performance Standard (VA:Cr1.2.4): a. Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers.

Anchor Standard 2: Creating: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Performance Standard (VA:Cr2.1.4): a. Explore and invent art-making techniques and approaches.

Anchor Standard 7: Responding: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Performance Standard (VA:Re7.2.4): a. Analyze components in visual imagery that convey messages.

21st Century Skills: Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking