Lesson #8: Placing a Standing Mobile in a New York City public site

Part of the unit: Creating a Standing Mobile |


How does scale and color affect the viewer's response to a work of art?
Students will be able to:
List criteria for placing sculpture in a specific public space.
Sketch their sculpture and place it on a site drawing.
Explain how placing a sculpture in a public site influences the viewer's perception of the sculpture.
Students will understand that:
The way a sculpture is positioned in a site affects the viewer's response to it.
Artists continually reflect on their work.

9x12 tracing paper, pencils, erasers, thin black markers, traced sketches of New York City sites, student standing mobiles, Prismacolor pencils, masking tape


Today you will be drawing your standing mobile directly on your traced drawing of a New York City public space.

  • What must an artist consider when placing a sculpture in a public place? (How big should it be in relation to the buildings or landscape?  Can it be seen from a distance? Can people walk around it or through it?  Will it block traffic?  Which angle should be drawn? How will its color affect the site? )
  • How will the placement effect the viewer's response to the sculpture?

You will be sketching your standing mobile on tracing paper. Keep in mind the scale of both the object and its location.


Demonstrate how to block out the size the sculpture should be on a student drawing and then to quickly sketch the sculptrue on tracing paper in pencil.  Show how you can move the tracing around until the ideal place for it is found.  The tracing can then be outlined in black marker, placed under the site drawing, and traced again using a continuous non-sketchy line.

Explain that the last step is to fill in the  shapes of the standing mobile in color using prismacolor pencils.  The rest of the site drawing should be gone over using a thin black marker.  Only the standing mobile should be in color.

Students will sketch their standing mobile on tracing paper and position it over their site sketch for scale and placement.  Using a thin black marker, they will darken their sketch of their standing mobile, place it underneath their site sketch, and trace it in the appropriate position.  Prismacolor pencils should be used to add color to the standing mobile, while a thin black marker should be used to go over the pencil lines of the site drawing using a simple, continuous line. 

Display the finished drawings.  Conduct a class critique by asking questions such as:

  • All your sculptures were inspired by nature, yet have been put into city scenes.  How does the sculpture change the viewer's response to the site?
  • How does the site influence the viewer's perception of the sculpture?
  • How did you use problem solving skills in this unit?
  • Is there public art in your community?  School?
  • If so, how does it enhance your life?
  • How might your community or school benefit from the installation of a sculpture in a public space?
  • What type of sculpture should it be?
  • Where would you install it?