Powerful Words Can Warm the Heart

3, 4, 5

This lesson illustrates the value of art and artists to a community and shows that art is maintained through philanthropy.

PrintOne 45 minute session

The learner will:

  • identify needs and wants in a community.
  • identify the ways philanthropy supports the arts.
  • read-aloud copy of Frederick by Leo Lionni

Compare our responsibility for chores around the home to taking part in service around the community. What is our personal responsibility for the good of all?


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Brainstorm a short list of what people need and want in a community. Before you read aloud Frederick by Leo Lionni, tell the children to listen for ways in which the community members meet the needs and wants of the community.

  2. Refer back to the brainstormed list of needs and wants. Ask children which needs or wants from their list were included the story. Ask them if there were any needs or wants mentioned in the story they would like to add to the list.

  3. Discuss why Frederick’s contribution turned out to be so important to the community. Discuss ways in which art helps to meet the needs of our communities. (Examples: murals and sculptures in public spaces communicate things that are important to the community, storytellers share cultural heritage, knitters make hats and scarves for babies/children and blankets for people who need them, musicians bring people together, marching bands bring joy)

  4. Raise awareness of the art that is shared as a gift to the community through philanthropy. We would not have museums, public art, and personal expressions of art without generous gifts of philanthropists and foundations who value art.

    Ask the children to share stories of times they either enjoyed public art or made a gift of art and how their gift might have made a difference. Discuss whether this is an important "need" in communities. 

  5. Using the media of your choice, have the young people make a piece of art that expresses a generous theme. For example, have them paint an expression of giving and sharing or make a collage of the features of their community. Maybe they draw a picture of themselves visiting an art museum. 

  6. Display the art publically to communicate to others how children feel about their community.

Cross Curriculum 

Art from the heart: Celebrate artistic talents and share these talents with others. Follow youth voices to find an organization or group of people who would appreciate a poem, greeting card, or homemade piece of art to brighten their day or let them know someone cares. This may be soldiers, veterans, elderly people in a retirement home, or a local child with a serious illness.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.