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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Art and Megacities

This online lesson supports the Museum of Fine Arts exhibition Megacities: Asia, on view from April 3, 2016-July 10, 2016.

Megacities is a term that usually describes a city with a population with more than ten million residents. Some of the cities that meet the criteria for this term include Seoul, with a population of over 25 million, and Delhi, Mumbai, and Shanghai, which also exceed the 20 million mark. These are just a few of the Asian megacities that are mentioned in this exhibit. However, it is believed that megacity populations will continue rise at a rapid rate and the significantly impact the environment and residents.

As artists in these cities, the rapidly changing environment affects each of artists in this exhibit and his or her work. This lesson explores these art installations while identifying key experiences in these populous environments. Hands on arts activities are mentioned throughout the exploration in the hopes of inspiring students to look closer at their environment and the possibility of using found objects as their inspiration.


This lesson only highlights a few artists from this exhibition. Please look at the resources page to view a slideshow of the exhibition. We encourage teachers to modify this lesson in order to meet the needs of their learners and their school’s curriculum.


Learning goals:

In exploring this lesson, students will:

-Discover the variety of installations from artists around the world

-Learn political and social concerns within the cities of Seoul, Delhi, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Beijing

- Explore the biographies and experiences of Megacities’ artists

- Inspire young artists to use found objects and repurpose them in a variety of hands on activities


This discovery will require students to:

-Look closely at the compositions and make observations based on visual evidence 

-Make connections between the visual art and the history that encompasses its creation

-Develop art projects inspired by the social and environmental concerns of Megacities’ artists

Using this resource: 

Visual Art teachers and students will be interested in the exploration of found objects used to create large-scale installations

· Visual Art teachers and students will be interested the hands on activities that could be used in art class or on local field trips

· Visual Art teachers and students will be interested in exploring how pieces are formed together

Themes within this exhibition could be used in muliple disciplines, such as sustainability, the environment, and city growth. We encourage all teachers to think about using this resource in their classrooms.

 The objects in this lesson are just the beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum’s online collection through this web source—or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries—to look for other objects that will provide further insights into this exhibition.

Sources: Megacities Asia, MFA publications, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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