High Museum of Art
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Get Creative at Home: Imagine a Bird’s-Eye View of Your Neighborhood or Special Place

If you could fly over buildings and streets, what do you think you would see? Draw an aerial view of a special place, and learn more with corresponding language arts prompts.

By Melissa Katzin, Manager of Family Programs, and Meg Williams, Coordinator of School and Teacher Services, High Museum of Art

Crayon drawing of a dog, people, and other animals walking around a neighborhood seen partially from above.
Nellie Mae Rowe, Brown Dog on the Road, Vinings, GA, 1981, crayon and graphite on paper.

Nellie Mae Rowe lived just outside of Atlanta, on Paces Ferry Road in Vinings, Georgia. Her house was called “Nellie’s Playhouse,” and she decorated it with objects she had found, sculptures, and many of her drawings.

Rowe didn’t start creating art until she was forty-eight years old. Her good friend Judith Alexander encouraged her artistic practice and organized art shows of her works.

Hear Susan Crawley, the High’s previous Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art, discuss Nellie Mae Rowe’s works in the video below.

Rowe’s passion to create was inspired by everyday events, friends, family, memories, and a desire to celebrate life. She often created artworks depicting things in her life, such as her garden, her church, and her friends. Look closely at Brown Dog on the Road, Vinings, GA. What do you think is happening in this drawing? Imagine stepping into it. What would you do if you were in this space?

Think of a place that’s special to you. It could be a house, apartment, school, library, place of worship, or a park. If you could fly over your special place, what do you think you would see?

Nellie Mae Rowe’s house was situated between two major interstates, I-285 and I-75. Can you find that area on the map below? Where is it in relation to your home or special place?

Get Creative at Home

Draw Your Neighborhood

Have you ever heard the phrase “a bird’s-eye view”? It describes a viewpoint from high up, as if seen through the eyes of a high-flying bird.

Drawing of a brown pig surrounded by colorful expressway lanes in Atlanta’s “spaghetti junction” seen from above.
Nellie Mae Rowe, Pig on Expressway, 1980, crayon on paper.

Rowe depicted her neighborhood multiple times in her life. Think about the area around your special place. Are there houses, apartments, parks, businesses, and roads near your special place? What do you think they would look like from above, as if you were a bird flying over?

Like Nellie Mae Rowe, use crayons and a pencil on a piece of paper to draw what you think this area looks like.

Share your creations on Instagram with the tag #HighMuseumatHome.

Are you currently teaching or homeschooling? Scroll for expanded activity prompts and corresponding Georgia Standards of Excellence.

Relevant Georgia Standards of Excellence:
SSKG2 Explain that a map is a drawing of a place and a globe is a model of Earth.
SS1G2 Identify and locate the student’s city, county, state, nation (country), and continent on a simple map or a globe.

Teacher Resources: English Language Arts Extension

Screenshot of the High’s Curriculum Connections teacher resource document focused on Nellie Mae Rowe’s artwork.

In this Curriculum Connection resource, students will use the artwork Brown Dog on the Road, Vinings, GA by Nellie Mae Rowe to investigate the elements of narrative, including character, setting, and plot.

Download a PDF of the Curriculum Connection for English Language Arts

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