A young girl holds a paintbrush and leans over a colorful table

Art Activities

We have a wealth of educational resources for educators, homeschooling families, and caregivers who are looking to infuse some artistic play into free time at home. These imaginative and fun activities, paired with artworks from our collection, are intended for all ages as a creative way to engage with art.

A pattern with lines and eyes.

Activity: Create a Painting Inspired by Ruth Root

Ruth Root is known for the ways she plays with shapes, color, and materials in her work to create interesting patterns. Watch a video with the artist, then create a Ruth Root–inspired work of your own!

Painting depicting young woman taking a break with hands resting on top end of a pitch-fork

Lesson: Retell the Story

In this lesson, students will be learning about and discussing the role artists played in depicting the working-class citizens (proletariat) of France during the mid-19th century. Students will write short responses based on prompts and historical information. Students will attempt to decipher whether an artist is being “sentimental” about their subject matter or whether they are portraying them “as they are.”

Painting of family gathered on hilltop with smoking ruins in the background

Lesson: Outside the Frame

In this lesson, students will be observing and discussing visual details such as mood and action found in the artwork. Using Family, Taken Captive by the Indians by Trevor McClurg as an example, students will write about what is happening “outside the frame” based on interpretation and/or research.

Collage depicting abstract city scape with figures and smoke stacks

Lesson: A Day in the Life

In this lesson, students will observe and discuss the visual details such as color and action found Pittsburgh Memories by Romare Bearden. Students will then write a “day in the life” story about one of the characters in the collage.

Painting of a bearded man with hands folded and resting on his knee

Lesson: Art and Authors

In this lesson, students will interpret and discuss mood, tone, and body language of a piece/portrait based on their observations. Students will then discuss how authors create characters similar to artists. Teachers will then pick a character from a book the class is reading and have students compare and contrast that character with the character in the piece they are observing.