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The application period for the 2023 Summer Institute is now closed. Notification of acceptance will be sent by April 21, 2023. Please check back in February for the 2024 Summer Institute for Educators. For more educator resources, please take a look at our teacher section.

How might works of art spark engagement, support critical thinking, and foster social-emotional wellness in both students and educators?

The 2023 Summer Institute for Educators invites education professionals of all grade levels and subjects to learn from and connect with thought leaders and practitioners around the power of teaching with art.

Throughout the Institute, participants will: 

  • Learn from content experts about different pedagogies, such as Artful Thinking Routines and Social-Emotional Learning Strategies, that use works of art to strengthen critical thinking and promote wellness in both students and educators.
  • Experience best practices for teaching with works of art to apply in learning environments of all kinds during interactive sessions facilitated by museum educators, teaching artists, and experienced classroom teachers.
  • Engage in reflective journaling, art-making, and other forms of personal expression in response to works of art and ideas presented in the Institute.
  • Connect with a vibrant community of teachers who integrate art into curricula to improve critical thinking skills and social-emotional well-being among their students. 

Museum educators at the National Gallery of Art have long used Artful Thinking Routines to engage students of all ages in conversations that develop deep thinking with positive social-emotional outcomes.

Originally developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Thinking Routines scaffold thinking, increase student engagement, include all student voices, and provide opportunities to develop agency and empathy. Slow looking, active listening, and sharing ideas about art allow for moments of calm, flow, emotional awareness, perspective-taking, and creative expression. The Institute will highlight these approaches to teaching and learning, making them accessible and relevant.

Participants will join a learning community of educators for dynamic experiences with works of art in the National Gallery’s collection. Each day, guest researchers and practitioners will join our interactive plenary sessions to discuss one facet of our theme, such as developing emotional capacity and empathy, culturally responsive teaching, or documenting students’ social-emotional learning through art.

Museum educators will model how to use Thinking Routines to engage students with works of art. Participants will discuss and apply these ideas in smaller learning groups. Teaching Artist Workshops will encourage personal reflection and creative expression to complement the learning experience. Teaching strategies used in the Institute will be supported by the National Gallery’s Teaching Critical Thinking Through Art online course and the Uncovering America teacher resource.

The Summer Institute will empower educators of all levels, subjects, and roles to bring art into their practice in ways that make a difference for students and revitalize the joy of teaching.

Summer Institute for Educators at the National Gallery of Art, July 11–14, 2023


The Institute will be held July 11–14, 2023, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Applicants should plan to attend the entire four-day program, Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sessions will take place in the galleries and in meeting spaces. A detailed schedule will be sent to applicants who are accepted to the Institute.

Program Fees

The four-day Institute program fee is $120 per person for participants, due at registration, after acceptance. Registration and payment web links will be provided in the acceptance email. All program materials will be provided for participants.

Transportation and Housing

Participants are responsible for their own transportation and housing. A list of suggested housing options will be provided upon admission, but participants should feel free to explore alternatives. In considering housing options in the District of Columbia.


The National Gallery offers a limited number of fellowships to qualified, US-based educators, which waive the program fee and provide a $1,000 stipend for program travel and fee-related expenses for each recipient. Selection of fellows will be based on both financial need and quality of application. Consideration will focus on the individual's statement of purpose, the Institute topic's connection to curriculum or student needs, and anticipated teaching outcomes.

Successful fellowship candidates will be paid upon completion of the program and submission of a two-page report summarizing how they will apply their experience at the Institute to daily teaching or administrative work. 

There is no separate application for the fellowship. If you wish to be considered for a fellowship, please make your intention clear in your Institute application by checking the box designated for fellowship consideration.

If you have been awarded a fellowship, you will be notified in your emailed acceptance letter.

Application Process

Participants in the program are selected through an application review process.

  1. A 250 to 300–word statement explaining why you would like to attend the Institute and how the topic relates to your education practice.
  2. A 50-word plan for sharing what you learn from your Institute experience with students and/or colleagues upon completion of the program.

Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on an individual’s statement of purpose. To encourage diverse geographical representation, efforts will be made to enroll candidates from each of these five US-based regions, as well as international applicants:

  1. Northwest and Alaska
  2. Southwest and Hawaii
  3. Midwest
  4. Northeast
  5. Southeast
  6. International (Participants outside the United States)

In addition, to encourage a diverse range of education professionals, efforts will be made to accept a balance of candidates from each of the following categories:

  1. Early childhood teachers
  2. Elementary teachers
  3. Middle school teachers
  4. High school teachers
  5. Administrators (principals, supervisors, curriculum specialists, etc.)
  6. School counselors
  7. Higher education professors
  8. Museum educators and other informal educators (after-school program facilitators, etc.)


Applicants will be notified of acceptance by Friday, April 21, 2023.


Please direct questions about this program to [email protected]. In your email, provide a telephone number and the times of day when you can be reached.


The 2023 Summer Institute for Educators is supported by generous gifts from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Sara Shallenberger Brown Fund, the PaineWebber Endowment, and the Annetta J. and Robert M. Coffelt Sr. and Robert M. Coffelt Jr. Endowed Fellowship.

Banner detail: Alma Thomas, Tiptoe through the Tulips, 1969,  acrylic on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Gift of Vincent Melzac), 2015.19.145

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