Faces and Places - American folk portraits and landscapes

FACES & PLACES encourages children of all ages create portraits and landscape paintings in the style of American naive artists. By combining visual elements borrowed from more than 100 works in the National Gallery's permanent collection, this two-part interactive activity offers an overview of American folk art of the 18th and 19th centuries. The original paintings illustrated in these online presentations were a gift to the nation from Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. (Shockwave, 6 MB).

FACES encourages children to create and personalize portraits by changing the facial characteristics of various sitters. Easy-to-use interactive tools allow users to modify the expressions and hairstyles of the subjects or to add decorative elements to a stylized domestic interior.

PLACES is a panoramic landscape activity that introduces children to the fundamentals of landscape and genre painting while offering a glimpse of life in rural America from the late 18th through the mid-19th century. Traditional folk music and surprising animations enliven the scene, as children experiment with perspective, composition, color, and scale.



NGAkids interactives require Adobe's Shockwave Player and an up-to-date Windows or Mac OS web browser. Mac users: if you have plug-in problems, please download the desktop application below.


There are a few drawing components in Faces that will not work correctly with recent Mac browsers and the Shockwave plug-in. Places works well because it does not include freehand drawing activities. To reduce compatibilty issues for Mac users we are offering a desktop version that combines both programs.

Download Faces and Places for Mac OS X.

NGAkids on CD

Visit Learning Resources to register and request NGAkids CDs. Currently there are eight interactive discs available. A second Art Zone disc with eight more interactives will be published later this year.


Return to the main NGAkids page to select another activity or to send a comment about our site.