Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Alternate Activity 4: Utopian Mural

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Mural paper and masking tape
  • Color markers, oil pastels, paints and brushes or other drawing implements
  • Tarp or newspapers
  • Clean-up supplies
  • Optional: Quiet background music and music player

Preparation for Activity

  • Choose a place for participants to work on the mural-on a floor, work tables pushed together or a wall space where it can remain posted-and secure the mural paper with masking tape. Set up supplies during an earlier activity so the group can begin creating quickly. Slip a tarp or newspaper under (or behind) mural paper to protect floor, work tables or wall.

Description of Activity

Ask your group what the word "utopia" means. Affirm that it means "a perfect world." Say that artists and writers have created their own ideas of utopia for centuries. Some people, including some Unitarian Universalists, have established utopian communities where everybody gets along well and things seem to be perfect. These attempts have often been interesting, but most have not lasted very long.

Invite the youth to create a mural showing their ideas of utopia. Connect the activity to today's Big Question:

Our Big Question asks where we are going, and this mural will show your ideas of where we will go if we go to a perfect place.

Invite youth to spend a moment quietly thinking, if they like, before creating their art. Say that their drawing can be realistic or abstract, cartoony or not. It does not need to show scenes of a far distant future; it can show ideas of what a perfect today or tomorrow might be like.

Point out supplies and cleanup material. Start quiet background music if you like, and let creation begin.

Leave time for the group to step back from and observe the mural. Invite them to paraphrase the illustrations they have made to represent "utopia." Do not push individuals to explain the meaning of abstract art; let that speak for itself. End with words such as these:

The world might never become as perfect a place as we have depicted here. Yet, all great changes start somewhere. Sometimes it just takes one person-like Rachel Carson-to get the ball rolling. May you always keep your dreams alive in your heart and in your actions.

Ask the group to clean up together. Have some volunteers post the mural.