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Educational Resources

On My Street

Jordan Casteel, Kevin the Kiteman, 2016

Jordan Casteel paints intimate portraits of people she meets walking around Harlem, where she lives. Many of her paintings begin with a conversation. Casteel speaks with people about their everyday lives, the people they love, their careers, and more. She then incorporates these parts of a person’s identity into her work. In Kevin the Kiteman (2016) Casteel portrays Kevin, a Harlem resident and street vendor, on Harlem’s 125th Street displaying his brightly colored kites.

This lesson provides students and educators with an opportunity to discuss the themes of home, community, and identity. Students will experiment with collage techniques and explore how an activation of their five senses can inform the art-making process.


Students will create abstract collages of their homes and communities through an activation of their five senses. 

Essential Question

How do our five senses help us understand the world around us?



A piece of art made by layering and attaching various materials onto a background


A group of people living in the same place or having a particular thing in common

Five Senses

Sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The process of perceiving stimuli from outside of inside the body


The place where one lives


A person offering something for sale, especially a trader on the street


  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Oil pastels
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue


  1. Ask students to close their eyes and imagine that they are about to walk down the street they live on or the street they go to school on.
  2. Ask students to use their five senses and make a list of everything they would see, hear, smell, feel, and taste as they walked down that street. 
  3. As a class, create a brainstorm chart for words that they associate with their neighborhood or community.
  4. Ask students to write a story set on the street they live on or the street they go to school on, including words that engage their five senses. Have students share their story with a partner and ask for volunteers to share their story with the class.
  5. Display an image of Jordan Casteel’s Kevin the Kiteman, introduce the vocabulary words, and explore using visual inquiry.
  6. Assign each table one of the five senses and have them imagine that they’ve stepped into the world of the painting: what or who do you see here? What do you smell here? What do you hear? What might you taste? Where do you think this place is?


  1. Distribute materials.
  2. Have students choose one of the five senses to focus on for their abstract home collage.
  3. Ask students to be intentional and creative in how they use texture, color, negative space, and layers to communicate the smell, feel, taste, or sounds in their collage.
  4. Encourage students to work abstractly, to experiment, and not worry about making mistakes.


  1. Ask students to walk around the room and see if they can guess which of the five sense their classmates chose.
  2. Ask a few students to share their artwork with the class and point out how they used art materials and techniques to communicate the sense they chose.