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These activities focus on works of art in the Whitney’s collection and special exhibitions. Through discussion, research, art making, and writing activities, we hope to encourage close looking, foster conversation between students, and connect artwork to classroom learning. Learn about our four artist-centered themes.

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Create a word wall.

Georgia O’Keeffe was inspired by things that she saw in nature. Sometimes she painted scenes that she imagined. Summer Days was described by some as Surrealist, but O’Keeffe saw nothing strange about this juxtaposition of enlarged skull and diminutive landscape.

Ask your students what they notice about the painting. Do they think this is a real or imaginary place? What do they see that makes them think that? 

Have them imagine that they could enter this painting. What sensory details might they notice (see, hear, touch, smell)? Have each student write down one word on an index card—a noun or an adjective—that most vividly describes what it might be like to be in the painting. Make a word wall that includes the image and students’ selected words. View and discuss the word wall with your students.


Georgia O’Keeffe, Summer Days, 1936  94.171  On view For Teachers