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Teacher Workshops 2019–2020

Workshops are designed to help teachers find meaning and enjoyment in the visual arts that they can share with their students. These programs introduce art in the Gallery’s collection and in special exhibitions, explore interdisciplinary curriculum connections, and model methods for teaching with art. All programs include teaching resource materials for educators to take home.

Teachers of all subjects and grade levels (pre-kindergarten through grade 12), homeschoolers, and pre-service educators are welcome. Workshops take place at the Gallery.  For more information, please email us at [email protected].

Claes Oldenburg, Apple Core—Autumn, 1990
NGA Nights: Back to School
Free Event!
Thursday, September 12, 2019
6:00–9:00 p.m.

Kick off the new school year at NGA Nights. This free public event has a special “Back to School” theme just for you! Enjoy music, pop-up talks, and art activities. Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey from the popular podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class will explore the mysteries of the color blue during a live show. Light fare and drinks are available for purchase and Gallery shops will be open. Be sure to pick up your free drink ticket when you visit the teacher resource table on the Concourse near the Cascade Café. Educational takeaways include posters for classroom use. Please click below to register for this special evening event.

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Alexander Calder, Untitled (Study for Mobile), 1932
Poetry: Words in Motion
Thursday, October 24, 2019
4:00–7:00 p.m.

How can we inspire students to develop a deeper understanding of the elements of visual art and of poetry, while experiencing the complexities and possibilities of the creative process? The Gallery’s collection of Alexander Calder’s sculptures provides the inspiration for this interactive poetry writing workshop. Mary Hall Surface, playwright and teaching artist, leads participants in looking closely and imaginatively at Calder’s art while experimenting with found poetry, lyric poetry, and the American cinquain. Discover techniques to spark student interest in writing poetic responses to the world around them, while strengthening cognitive skills that can be applied across the curriculum.

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Sketching for Understanding
Thursday, November 7, 2019
4:00–7:00 p.m.

Discover how sketching can support deep thinking and expand our understanding by making learning visible. Taught by artist and educator David Sturtevant, this workshop will demonstrate how drawing can be an effective method of slowing down, looking closely, and exploring complexity. Using thinking routines and simple sketching prompts, participants will learn ways to help students make observations, comparisons, and connections. The program concludes with time for reflection and brainstorming ways that sketching might be applied in different contexts. No drawing experience is needed, and all materials are provided.

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Henri Matisse, The Heart, published 1947
Fostering Empathy through Art
Thursday, December 5, 2019
4:00–7:00 p.m.

Empathy is an important life skill for students in a diverse and ever-changing world. The ability to empathize can help students understand their own emotions and treat others with compassion. Led by art historian and empathy researcher Elif M. Gökçiğdem, this workshop explores ways to use visual art and art making as a means of strengthening understanding through listening, sharing, and reflecting without making judgements. At the end of the workshop, participants will have time to reflect and share their own ideas or best practices for empathy-building projects in the classroom.

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Aaron Douglas, The Judgment Day, 1939
Exploring Complex Global Issues through Slow Looking
Thursday, January 30, 2020
4:00–7:00 p.m.

In a world saturated with images, from the superficial to the horrific, how do we focus attention on what truly matters? This workshop will explore one of the most pressing issues of our time—mass migration—through the immersive video installation by Richard Mosse: Incoming (2014–2017). Participants will experience the power of slow looking in exploring works of art, ourselves, and our world. The workshop will model the Voice & Choice and Parts-Purposes-Perspectives thinking routines (tools designed to facilitate investigation of complex topics) and consider the role of artist as activist. The program will conclude with time for reflection and connections to classroom practice.

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Arthur Dove, Moon, 1935
Mindful Looking and Making
Saturday, February 29, 2020
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

This Saturday workshop is designed as a creative and reflective retreat for educators of all disciplines and contexts. Learn mindfulness meditation techniques to support clarity and strength of mind. Relish in slow looking by exploring the exhibition Painting from Nature: European Landscape Sketches, 1770–1870 through sketching, journaling, and creative writing exercises. We will create accordion books as a tool for capturing observations, playful wondering, and reflective thinking—nurturing a process-oriented practice for building alertness. Come ready to disconnect from the digital world in order to reconnect with yourself and find inspiration in nature and art.

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Claes Oldenburg, Apple Core - Autumn, 1990, color lithograph on Koller HMP paper, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Lee and Ann Fensterstock, 2000.177.80; Alexander Calder, Untitled (Study for Mobile), 1932, watercolor and black ink on wove paper, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, 1996.120.26; Henri Matisse, The Heart, published 1947, color stencil in gouache, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew S. Keck, 1980.8.7; Aaron Douglas, The Judgment Day, 1939, oil on tempered hardboard, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons’ Permanent Fund, The Avalon Fund, 2014.135.1; Arthur Dove, Moon, 1935, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Barney A. Ebsworth, 2000.39.1

Request an In-Service Workshop

In-service workshops are designed for educators to learn how works of art can support student learning. The Gallery offers a limited number of onsite opportunities for groups with a minimum of 20 participants.

Please complete this form to request a workshop.

Cancellation Policy

You may cancel a workshop enrollment via email to [email protected] or your Eventbrite account.  Login to Eventbrite and go to the "My Tickets" page. Click on "View Order" and then click "Cancel Order." Note that if you reserved multiple spaces, this will cancel all reservations. If you need to make a change to the number of participants, please contact [email protected]. Refunds are not available. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with our policies.


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