Free lesson plans for remote learning: Teaching contemporary art

Browse our free lesson plans for remote learning! Learn about contemporary artists and artworks through themes including Places, Nature, Identity and Unexpected Process. Explore ideas for art making with materials at home; students can create a pop-out drawing, weave a three-dimensional sculpture using plaited paper strips, or experiment with nontraditional materials such as flour and food coloring to create an unexpected painting.

Each lesson plan, created by educators, for educators, is shared in Google Slides format so you can easily download, print, or copy each lesson plan to customize the content for your students. Slides include high-resolution artist and artwork images, discussion questions, suggested art-making activities, and links to videos and websites for synchronous or asynchronous learning.

“I chose these artworks because they invite us to consider familiar objects with fresh eyes. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that we are all spending so much time at home to encourage participants to observe and activate the things around them in creative ways. I like the balance of elements of surprise and relatability in these three artworks, and the invitation to make personal connections that they present.”

Gabriela O’Leary

Lesson Plans for Teaching Contemporary Art Online

Sculpture (suggested for ages 4–8)

Explore 3-D shapes and forms in sculptures and experiment with newspaper as an art material.

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Places (suggested for ages 6–10)

Learn about artists inspired by real and imagined places and create a pop-out drawing.

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Artful Objects (suggested for ages 8–12)

Consider how everyday objects can tell stories in art about artists and the world around them.

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Nature (suggested for ages 11–18)

Look at artworks with organic forms inspired by nature, and use weaving to create a three-dimensional paper sculpture.

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New York City (suggested for ages 12–16)

Compare and contrast artworks inspired by New York City and create a postcard inspired by your discussions.

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Identity (suggested for ages 14–18)

Explore how materials can reflect an artist’s cultural background and identity.

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Unexpected Process (suggested for ages 14–18)

Explore how artists can use materials in unexpected ways and learn about artwork installation.

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Visit guggenheim.org/teachingmaterials to explore our other teaching resources for educators.

These lesson plans were created through the generous support of The Freeman Foundation.

The Sackler Center for Arts Education is a gift of the Mortimer D. Sackler Family. Endowment funding is provided by The Engelberg Foundation; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The Elaine Terner Cooper Foundation; the Esther Simon Charitable Trust; the Anna Kovner and Seth Meisel Education Endowment Fund; and the Goldring Education Endowment Fund.

Educational activities and/or public programs are made possible in part by Ornellaia; The Freeman Foundation; Carnegie Corporation of New York; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; The Pinkerton Foundation; Katherine and Peter Kend, Annie and Gaines Wehrle, and Michael Wehrle in honor of Ebersole Gaines and Peter Lawson-Johnston; and The Hilla von Rebay Foundation.

Funding is also provided by Guggenheim Partners, LLC; The Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation; Gail May Engelberg and The Engelberg Foundation; The Keith Haring Foundation; Jacadi Paris; The Barker Welfare Foundation; CBRE; and an anonymous donor.

Additional support from Peter Bentley Brandt; Bobbi and Barry Coller; Con Edison; JPMorgan Chase; Peggy Jacobs Bader and John Bader; Margarita and Ari Benacerraf; Sylvia W. and Randle M. Kauders Foundation; Lisa and Jeffrey Thorp; PunkinFutz, LLC; the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc.; the Henry E. Niles Foundation, Inc.; the Mann-Apatow Family Foundation; and Cecilia and Mark Vonderheide.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation thanks the members of the Education Committee; the Asian Art Circle; the Latin American Circle; and the Middle Eastern Circle for their support.

To learn more about our education funders, visit guggenheim.org/education.

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Photo: Jodi Messina-Nozawa; Sopheap Pich, Morning Glory, 2011. Rattan, bamboo, wire, plywood, and steel, 188 x 261.6 x 533.4 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund 2013.3. © Sopheap Pich. Photo: Oliver Christie for Tyler Rollins Fine Art; Ruth Asawa, Untitled, 1962–65. Brass wire, copper wire, and resin, 62.2 x 61 x 20.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, The Josef Albers Estate 80.2689. Photo: Allison Chipak, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Photo: Jodi Messina-Nozawa