Cars and Guitars

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What is Cool? is a three-lesson unit plan designed in conjunction with the Cars and Guitars exhibition at the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Present the Cars and Guitars Exhibition Preview PowerPoint.


  • Theme in Life: Life is full of choices.
  • Theme in Art: Artists create designs to influence us to choose (or like) one thing rather than another.

Key Questions
Lessons approach the themes through two key questions.

LookHow do designers and artists arrange elements to draw (grab) viewers’ attention?

CompareWhat makes one thing look “cool” (excellent) and not another?

Community Connections
Everyday life in the in the Valley of the Sun is affected by past, present and future choices made by individuals, businesses, schools, community groups and city and state governments. Communities face important choices, such as how to improve and sustain the economy, education, the environment, safety and cultural resources. Leaders in these areas can use words and images in print and media to persuade people in their communities to support certain choices about these topics and issues. Learning how images and words influence us can help us make better, informed choices.



Supplies for a High School Collage Project

  • Construction paper or other colored paper
  • Magazines
  • Printed or hand-lettered text
  • Photos or photocopies of photos of students
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Supplies for a Computer Project

  • Internet connected computer lab
  • Digital or scanned photos of students
  • Image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
Sucker Punch Sally’s
Leanne Smith’s students at McClintock High School
Nicole Granese, Arizona State University intern
Sally Carillo’s 2nd grade students at Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary School

Estimated Time (Elementary or Middle School)
Previsit Lesson = 30-50 minutes
TCA Visit Lesson = Field Trip
Postvisit Lesson = 50 minutes

Estimated Time (High School)
Previsit Lesson = 30-50 minutes
TCA Visit Lesson = Field Trip
Postvisit Lesson = 300-600 minutes