Education Tools & Activities

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Something for All Ages

Tempe Draw-046

The following resources were originally designed for parents and teachers. But they can also be adapted for any age... even adults! Better yet, everything on this resource page is free.




  •  Download exhibition guidebooks for understanding. The free workbooks are like a "mini art appreciation" class you can complete at your own speed.
  • Download more than 30 different arts ed curriculum units that connect to Arizona State and National  Standards for Arts Education.

  • View hands-on art project "How-To Presentations." Click on any curriculum unit and scroll down for art project PowerPoints.

  • View presentations about artists and artworks from past exhibitions. Its like being on a tour, from your chair. Click on any curriculum unit and scroll down for "Exhibition PowerPoints."


GUIDEBOOKS for Understanding Exhibitions

These workbook/guides are designed to help people develop thoughtful questions. Whether you are touring the exhibition or studying independently, these workbooks can help enhance your experiences in understanding art. Each one is based on an exhibition at the Gallery at TCA.

Heading Home, Emily Matyas

Walk in My Shoes Guide PDF
Address ideas about art, empathy and social understanding between people
(Image by Emily Matyas)




Celebrates a wide variety of creative media, styles and techniques that incorporate drawing and/or mark making.
(Image: artist Monica Aissa Martinez at work.)




Forbidden Planet-Monotype print-9x12-Burruel

Monster Stories Guide PDF
Features monsters from popular culture, literature and mythology. Theme explores the “other” in society, while the toys and memorabilia from private collectors revealed the nostalgia people have for the stories and characters that scared and fascinated them as kids. 
(Image by Manny Burruel.)





El Ojo de la Noche 1 copy

Myths, Maps & Legends Guide PDF

These artists follow the tradition of storytellers and old-world cartographers by creating visual narratives to share their own journeys an make sense of the world around them. (Image by Kathryn Maxwell).


Quetzalcoatl 60x48 2018


Retro Reaction Guide PDF

Artist are often asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" This guide explore how ten Arizona-based artists respond individually to art and ideas from the past. (Image by Fausto Fernandez)





Water Exhibition Guide PDF

Water is on a lot of people's minds these days, from concerns about conservation to plans for recreation. This PDF is a guide to how some artists respond to the theme of water.





Curriculum Units

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The Gallery at TCA's Curriculum Units were developed with nationally recognized art educator Dr. Mary Erickson in collaboration with exhibiting artists and Arizona-based art teachers. Each lesson and hands-on art project has been tested with elementary and secondary students in Arizona classrooms.

These units can also be used by adults who enjoy lifelong learning!
Units also include art appreciation worksheets and PowerPoint presentations featuring artists and artworks from past exhibitions.

 *These lessons are provided free of charge. In exchange, we just ask for your feedback and/or sample pictures of what your students made. Let us know who you are and where you teach through e-mail

STEAM (Science* Technology* Education* Arts* Math) Lesson Plans

bio1bio 2

Biomimicry: nature inspired design



steam 1

steam 2

STEAM: Systems within Systems




going green 1going green 2

Going Green: Sustainability





birds 1birds 2

Birds of Feather



green and gray 1green and gray 2

Green and Gray: Natural and built environments



arizona landscapes 1arizona landscapes 2

Arizona Landscapes: Landscape art




western 1western 2

estern POP: Facts and fiction of the American West


page to screen 1page to screen 3

Page to Screen: Art and film inspired by the written word



american pop 2american pop 1

American POP: Pop culture from super heroes to science fiction




cars and guitarscars and guitars 2

Cars and Guitars: A Collaboration with Fender Guitars




chuck joneschuck jones 3

Chuck Jones: It only looks easy In Collaboration with the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity



clay 1sweet treats 2

Juried Biennial: Clay
 Food and Memory Theme


animal crackers replaceclay 4

Animal Crackers: Animals



clay beautifulclay beautiful 3

Clay: Useful or Beautiful?



merely players 1merely players 2

Merely Players: Costume Design


copper 1copper

COPPER: Art made or inspired by copper


realism 2 Realisrealism 1m: From the International Guild of Realism (Point Of View)



wood 1wood 2

WOOD: Art made of or inspired by wood


glass 2glass 3

GLASS: Art made of or inspired by glass




paper 2paper 3

PAPER: Art made of or inspired by paper


masters of illusionmasters of illusion 2

Masters of Illusion: Tricks of Perfection/Tromp L'Oeil





Public Art: art in public places



Summer of Love: Tokens of Love


family matters 1family matters 2

Family Matters: Art about family connections



Mixing It Up: Building an Identity (Culture)



outsiderswithin1outsiders within 2

Outsiders Within: Personal and Cultural Perspectives
Native American and Latina/o Artist Experiences


read me a picture  
Reread me a picture 2ad Me a Picture: Children's Book Illustrators



Faces 1 Ffaces 2aces: Art about the human face




roy orbisonroy orbison 2

Projecting Personas: The public image of Roy Orbison
"What is Cool?"




twenty questions 1twenty questions 2

Twenty Questions: What is it?



In the lessons and guidebooks above, you'll see a couple of character mascots who will help guide you through asking good questions and starting interesting conversations. For a quick practice session, pick a favorite artwork and ask the questions below. Its a great way to get to know an artwork.

Please meet Questor the bird who asks questions ...he is curious about understanding artworks.

questor all 
Look: What can I see? Facts about the artwork.

Learn: What can I learn? Contextual facts.

: What does it mean? Conclusions about meaning.

: How does it compare? Conclusions about connections among artworks. 


Please meet Jack the jack rabbit who is an artist looking for new ideas.

Jack all


Choose: What choices will I make in my artwork 

Seek: What art ideas can I get from my own life and times? 

: What ideas can I get by looking at other art? 

: What do I want to achieve with my artwork? 



















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