Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917-2000), Harlem Street Scene, 1975, screenprint, 24 ½ × 18 ½ inches. Gift of Sonya S. and Richard P. Tatar, 65-1992.

A community represents a group of individuals united by commonalities, such as sharing the same neighborhood, coming from the same culture, expressing a similar identity, or sharing  beliefs. You might identify with more than one community as part of your identity.

The artist Jacob Lawrence often took inspiration from growing up and living in Harlem to tell stories of Black life and history. Think about your own community or neighborhood, and take a look around you. Then choose a medium and approach to create an image that reflects what you might see.

“It was a very cohesive community. You knew people, you didn’t know their names, but you’d pass people on the street and see their faces over and over again. It was that kind of community. You knew the police you knew the fireman you knew the teachers, the people on the street. You knew the peddlers that’s what it was for me.” - Jacob Lawrence

Learn more about Jacob Lawrence here.

And see a YouTube video interview with the artist here.


  • You decide!

Step 1

Think about your community, the neighborhood where you live, or the place you grew up. Write a list of things that remind you of this area or things you might see in it.

Step 2

Review your list and select one or more ideas to depict.

Step 3

Think about the medium you would like to use to show your scene. You might draw, paint, collage, or photograph its likeness or select things that remind you of your chosen place.

Step 4

Practice developing your ideas.

If you are illustrating your neighborhood, practice sketching things you might see, such as street signs, landmarks, or trees.

Step 5

Finalize your image.