The North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts

The Dignity of Work

The dignity of hard work will always be a part of the Texas mentality. Work is important not only as a contribution to both family and community, but also as a measure of self-worth and a source of self-esteem. It is prevalent in the history of Texas, the culture of Texans, and the art that represents the people of Texas. Many works of early Texas art preserve the lives and the daily activities of the people they represent. These works record details of the clothing, daily chores, and special events in their lives. This unit uses the theme of work to explore the hardships of settling the Texas frontier as well as the value of work during the Great Depression. Students use two related activities to study and observe portraits of people at work, leading them to a discovery of important details about the subjects. Students also have the opportunity to engage in critical thinking about additional works. The Dignity of Work: Teacher’s Guide assists teachers wishing to use The Dignity of Work: Student Learning Site with their classes.

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