School Programs

Learn about art, history, and literature with Palm Springs Art Museum’s collection.

Each lesson is called an Art Portfolio that is distributed as printed workbooks. Pick and choose lessons to compliment classroom learning or as a fun activity during independent study. Students will See a work of art, learn about key ideas, and are then invited to Do a hands-on art activity inspired by the work. 

Suggested supplies can be found at home or in the classroom.

Teachers are supported with guidance from museum educators and will have access to a webpage with downloadable Art Portfolio workbooks and recorded videos that outline each lesson. Lessons connect to the California Visual and Performing Arts Standards, and also integrate the Common Core Standards.

Participate in See and Do

Access the download page

Available Art Portfolios

1. Architecture

Meet the museum and learn why museums are important. Students will then get to know complimentary and secondary colors.

Architect and Artist: E. Stewart Williams and coloring sheets of the Architecture & Design Center and the Palm Springs Art Museum by Danny Heller

2. The Artist as Observer

Students will practice their observation skills while learning about the important role of artists. They will then chose an object, look closely, and draw what they see.

Artist and Artwork: Enrique Martínez Celaya, Bird, 1996

3. Art Materials

Students will discover that there are a number of ways to create a work of art. They will then make a collage with found materials.

Artist and Artwork: Mark Bradford, Rat Catcher of Hamelin IV, 2011

4. The Who, What, Where, When, and Why in Art Subjects

The 5Ws can be used to identify subjects in art. Students will use what they learn to assemble a still life and then practice using the 5Ws to create a narrative.

Artist and Artwork: Andy Warhol, Two High Heels in Still Life, ca. 1960

5. The Elements of Art

Students will be introduced to the seven elements of art, and then practice drawing their own examples. They will also experiment with form and balance by cutting out geometric shapes and assembling their own paper sculpture.

Artist and Artwork: Betty Gold, MA IV, 2005

6. Local History

The museum houses objects that are important in the history of art, as well as objects that are significant in the history of California and in the Coachella Valley. Students will be introduced to the history of the Cahuilla people and then draw their own basket designs.

Artist and Artwork: Gerald Clarke, Continuum Basket: Pivat (Tobacco), 2018

7. Maps

Students will learn about artistic practices that use the environment as part of and as inspiration to the work. They will then draw a map of somewhere familiar or a place imagined.

Artist and Artwork: Jessie Homer French, Mapestry California, 2012

8. Portraits

This lesson focuses on showing identity through portraiture. Students will then pick and choose to draw, collage, or write about a portrait. In the final step, they are encouraged to explain their work by writing an artist statement.

Artist and Artwork: Michael Childers, photographs of Catherine Deneuve, Andy Warhol, and Robert Graham


Palm Springs Art Museum’s Education Program is generously supported by The Donald A. Burns Foundation and the Helzel Family Foundation.