Student Art Workshops

Look, Learn, Discuss and Create

For Students Grades 3–8

Tuesdays and Thursdays | 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Offered October through June
  • Free of charge
  • Transportation reimbursements for Title 1 schools (see details below)
  • Must be requested online at least three weeks in advance
  • Minimum of 15 students and maximum of 40 students

This FREE in-depth museum experience for 3rd–8th grade allows students the opportunity to make art as part of their visit to the Museum.  Students will explore an area of the Museum’s collection by participating in a 45 minutes docent tour, paired with an hour-long art lesson connected to the artistic processes, concepts and materials seen in the Museum, and led by one of the Museum’s professional arts educators.

Each tour and workshop aligns with the California Visual and Performing Arts Standards and California Common Core learning goals for literacy; utilizing critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication.

Students will:

  • Make authentic connections between the art making they participate in, and the works on display in the Museum
  • Learn a formal art practice, idea and/or process
  • Engage in creative expression
  • Think critically and learn by doing
  • See the Museum as a place that is for them

Workshop Options:

Please note, some workshops will occur outdoors. Please ensure that students are prepared for time spent outside, including sunscreen, hats, etc. On rainy days projects may be adapted.


Students will learn about art from the Renaissance, and discover the symbolism and attributes of the period by looking at and discussing the changing art styles.  Student will create their own Renaissance Panel Collage, and investigate the tools and materials used to create panel paintings.

Collection Focus: Renaissance Art



Students will explore trends in American painting, from early landscapes that capture the sublime qualities of nature to modern American landscapes and floral studies. Students will create a Botanical Study Watercolor Postcard by selecting a plant or flower to sketch at the Botanical Building, then embellishing their designs with color and a water wash. (This activity is only available on Tuesdays.)

Collection Focus: American Art



Students will discover the fascinating world of ceramics from central and south Asia, and investigate the intricate designs, patterns and unique subject matter adorning these impressive works of art.  Student will create their own Persian Tiles, sketching their tiles in the Alcazar Garden and then transferring their design to ceramic tiles using color and traditional motifs.

Collection Focus: Central/South Asian Art



Students will explore important Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, and learn how artists transcribe the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere, through color, value and texture using painterly dabs of color to depict light and shadow.  Students will create their own Plein-Air Landscape Study at Balboa Park’s Lily Pond, capturing the many layers and reflections on the water using water soluble oil pastels on paper.

Collection Focus: Modern/Impressionist/Post-Impressionist Art



Students will look at architecture to reveal information about conditions and shifts in culture over time, and by looking for small details and visual clues, explore how architecture is constantly impacting our experience with our environment.  Student will create their own Architectural Studies, using ink, pan pastel and sepia watercolor on paper to capture the forms and rhythmic shadows that capture a moment in time.

Collection Focus: Architecture in Art



Students will learn about Chinese brush painting, a tradition that goes back 2500 years.  They will explore line, value and shape through the “Four Noble Ones,” bamboo, chrysanthemum, plum blossom and wild orchid.  Students will create their own Bamboo Brush Painting using traditional materials such as bamboo, stone, ink, brushes and rice paper, and utilize techniques that align with Buddhist ideals of discipline and mindfulness.

Collection Focus: East Asian Art



Students will learn about modern and contemporary sculpture by exploring representational and abstract pieces in the permanent collection, analyzing form, shape, color and texture.  Students will create their own Geometric Relief Sculptures inspired by the work of Italo Scanga.  Using geometric shapes to constructing an abstract bust, they will layer color and focus on composition, shape and balance.

Collection Focus: Modern and Contemporary Art

Bus Transportation for Title One Schools

Financial assistance for bus transportation for school visits to the Museum for K-12 Docent Guided tours or Student Art Workshops is available to Title One schools under the following requirements:

  • Assistance is in the form of reimbursement to the school for bus transportation costs
  • Reimbursement must be applied for and approved by the Museum prior to the date the tour takes place
  • Assistance is available only to Title One schools located within San Diego County
  • Tour or workshop arrangements must be made least three weeks in advance
  • A letter from the school’s Principal stating Title One status must accompany the application. Please email to or fax to 619.232.9367 or mail to POB 122107, San Diego, CA 92112-2107
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • An invoice billing the Museum for the cost of bus transportation must be submitted to the Museum within 60 days after the completion of your trip