Marie Hull (1890-1980): An Adventurous Artist Lesson Plan

Marion Barnwell


Native Mississippi artist Marie Hull approached her art as she approached life — as a series of learning adventures. Her adventures around the United States and Europe, as well as her interactions with people, served as an inspiration for her art. Her natural talent was not only shared through the creation of beautiful works of art, but through the sharing of her knowledge with her students. Throughout her lifetime, Marie Hull’s work was exhibited not only in her home state, but throughout the country and in some cities abroad. Marie Hull was presented many prizes and awards for doing what she loved most.


Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 4 and 5


Grades 7 through 12



The students will:

  • Write a biographical sketch of the person in a Hull painting.
  • Construct a timeline of significant events in the life of Marie Hull.
  • Determine supporting details for generalizations about Marie Hull.
  • Compose a short essay about the life of Marie Hull.


The teacher will ask students to study the painting titled Melissa that is included in the Mississippi History Now article. (Teacher can print copies of the larger version of the painting from the article to distribute to students.) After studying the painting, have students write a brief biographical sketch of Melissa based on what they imagine her life story would be. This assignment should be done before students read the article.

This exercise should reinforce the notion of the power of art — that in this portrait Marie Hull captures the planes of a face, while portraying the strength, dignity, and character of Melissa. The portrait tells a story. Students will be told that over the next several days they will have an opportunity to learn more about this Mississippi artist.


  1. The teacher will allow students to work alone or with a partner in order to create a timeline about significant events in the life of Marie Hull. Instruct students to use the Mississippi History Now article to find significant events about Hull’s life. The students will plot the years and events on a timeline.
  2. After students complete their timelines, ask student volunteers to share the events they listed. Through the sharing of these events, the teacher will assess student understanding of the key events of Hull’s life. The teacher can record the events on the whiteboard.
  3. The teacher can allow the students to continue to work in pairs or alone to complete this portion of the lesson. Instruct students to copy from the board the generalizations located at the end of the lesson. The teacher will instruct the students to use the Mississippi History Now article to locate two or three details or facts that make the generalization true. The teacher will ask student volunteers to share their answers for the generalizations activity. Student responses can be recorded on the board for students to check their work.


The teacher will write the following Marie Hull quote on the whiteboard:

“Progress and change are the essence of living – for artist and non-artist.”

The teacher will ask students to write a short essay that contains three or more paragraphs that supports how the quote is indicative of the life of Marie Hull. Students can work alone, with a partner, or in a group of three to complete this activity. The teacher will ask for student volunteers to share their paragraphs with the class.


  • Biographical sketch of Melissa.
  • Timeline of Hull’s life.
  • Generalizations activity
  • Hull quote essay


  • The teacher can invite a guest speaker, such as an art teacher or historian, to speak about the work of Marie Hull.
  • Students can be led in an art activity in order to create their own artistic work.
  • Students can take a field trip to the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, or to the Wright Art Center at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.
  • Students can research the lives and careers of Mississippi artists.
  • Students can write a poem such as a haiku that can accompany a selection of her artwork.
  • Students can plan a Marie Hull Day celebration.
  • Students can explore various careers in art such as commercial and graphic art.


  1. Music rather than art was the focus of Marie Hull’s early life.
  2. Marie Hull encouraged artistic development in others.
  3. Her surroundings and experiences served as inspiration for Marie Hull’s work.
  4. Marie Hull was a successful artist.