Activity: Tell a Story Based on Gwathmey’s Hoeing

  • Grades: All Ages
  • Subjects: Art Activities

Artworks tell stories, and you can join in! Using Robert Gwathmey’s Hoeing as inspiration, we’ll walk you through the process of writing a story about what you see in this art activity. Start by taking a close look at the painting and think about the scene that you see.

A man in the foreground wipes his brow and leans on a hoe while laborers build structures and work in a dirt field. A church and two cows appear in the background of the scene.
Robert Gwathmey, Hoeing, 1943, Carnegie Museum of Art

Discuss with These Questions:

  • Find a person that stands out to you in the painting. What are they doing?
  • Describe their pose, clothing, and actions.
  • How might this person be feeling?
  • Select another person. Consider their pose, clothing, and actions. How might this person be feeling? Do they seem similar or different from the first person? Why?

Get Creative: Write a Story About the Subjects in Hoeing

Let’s write a short story. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and ask yourself these questions to get your story started.

  1. Give these people names. What do you see that made you choose their names?
  2. What do the poses, clothing, and actions you’ve observed reveal about these people?
  3. Where are these people?
  4. Imagine what they are thinking about right now. If they could talk to you, what would they say? What would they tell you about their lives?
  5. What would they say to one another?

Here’s a challenge: summarize your writing in a story with only six words!