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High School Studio Workshops

Image: Cover of High School Studio Workshop: A Passion for Pastels cover with image The Black Hat, c. 1890 by Mary Cassatt

High School Studio Workshops 2019-2020 (PDF 665KB)

Single museum visit, 2.5 hours
Grades 9–12

These multifaceted, half-day art workshops include an in-depth examination and discussion of works of art in the galleries followed by behind-the-scenes access to the Education Studio, where students will create a related art project.

During the workshop, National Gallery of Art educators will encourage students to look carefully at works of art and share their responses, to formulate theories based on observation, and to make connections between processes and results. Students will have the opportunity to create a work of art in the studio inspired by the art they have seen in the galleries.

A Passion for Pastels

This year’s topic will focus on the exhibition, The Touch of Color: Pastels at the National Gallery of Art. The exhibition will trace the history of pastel from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century. Pastels are dry pigment mixed with a binder (usually gum arabic, a glue-like substance) to form into a stick or crayon for drawing. Finished works made with pastels have fragile surfaces, making it necessary to limit the frequency of display. An exhibition of this scope in pastels is rare. Students will have the opportunity to see a range of techniques used by artists over the centuries and to discover themes running through the entire history of the medium. Issues to be covered include the use of pastel as a preparatory tool, the dual role of pastels as both paintings and drawings, the association of the medium with the feminine, and the ways in which later pastellists turned away from the conventions and traditions established by their predecessors.

Drawing on what they see in the galleries, students will create a study in pastels using a variety of techniques seen in the exhibition.

Students should come to the workshop prepared to participate in group discussion.

A minimum of 15 participants is required to reserve a date; up to 25 students may participate in a single workshop. A single school may request no more than two workshop dates. Registration is open from August 1 to November 8, 2019.


Workshops are held on weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Teachers may register to bring their students on one of the following dates:

October 7, 8, 21, 22, 28, 29

November 1, 4, 5, 12, 19, 20, 21, 22

December 2, 3, 6, 9, 10

Register Now


Register for High School Studio Workshops
A minimum of 15 participants is required to reserve a date; up to 28 students may participate in a single workshop.

Contact Us

Please address questions to [email protected].

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