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Themes

Whitney School and Educator programs use artist-centered themes to make connections between classroom learning and works of art. Through the careful examination of artists’ ideas, materials, and processes, students consider the multi-faceted role that artists play in American culture and society. Use these themes in your classroom or create and share your own collection with these themes as a starting point.

How do artists represent the world around them? How do they choose to show people and places? This theme can address topics including New York City, community, landscape, and portraiture. This is a great thematic tour for first-time visitors as it incorporates visual literacy skills and introduces students to multiple ways of looking at and talking about art.

How do artists tell a story? What is their point of view? This theme addresses ELA concepts such as narrative, tone, character, and setting and is recommended for literacy and writing classes. 

How do artists push boundaries and explore new concepts? This theme examines how artists experiment with materials, processes, and ideas.Younger students may look at how artists use formal elements such as line, shape, color, texture, and composition, or how they transform everyday objects. Older students may consider more conceptual questions, such as “What makes this art?” and “Why is this in a museum?” 

How do artists respond to the social, political, and cultural climate of their time? What does their work tell us about American life and culture? How can art serve as a catalyst for change? Students examine how artists respond to the topics that shape history, politics, and contemporary culture. This thematic tour can address subjects such as current events, war, gender, race, politics, and activism.

Now that you know about our themes, use them in your classroom, or request a school group tour!

Find out how School and Educator Programs connect to the Common Core State Standards.