The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts


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art/write uses seventeen inspiring works from the University of Arizona Museum of Art’s permanent collection to inspire writing with high school aged students. This site is organized to provide teachers with resources to encourage looking, prompt in-depth discussions and engaged written responses about the works of art. These activities have been designed with the collaboration of high school English and History teachers, as well as teachers of English Language Learners to ensure alignment with state standards and current language-based curriculums.

Writing requires careful observation, critical thinking, analysis of ideas and events, and of course creative thinking. When engaged with a work of art, students must also utilize the skills of sustained observation, imagination and interpretation. This web resource provides looking and writing activities that allow students to develop strong looking skills that in turn foster effective writing.

These activities were written and designed to meet the Common Core State Standards of writing, reading and speaking/listening. Using visual works of art as “texts”, the looking and writing strategies on art/write encourage students to analyze complex works of art, communicate ideas effectively, and support conclusions with evidence.

Explore, discover, think critically and imagine the possibilities!

Vocabulary of Art Terms


The art/write website is a collaborative effort between the University of Arizona Museum of Art, the School of Art and local school teachers. This site, its content, and curriculum would not have been possible without the wisdom, time and effort of all those involved. We are grateful to all of the colleagues who helped develop this great online museum resource.

Olivia Miller, the Curator of Education at the UAMA, and Lauren Rabb, former Curator of Art at the UAMA, both provided support, guidance, suggested works of art, wrote, and edited content for the website. Jay Stephens, the webmaster at the UAMA, took on the extra responsibility to design the art/write site and upload all the content. Heidi Herboldsheimer, former graphic designer at the UAMA, designed the art/write logo and assisted with the graphic layout of the teacher worksheets.

Four dedicated and talented high school teachers spent hours over the course of one year to help select artwork, share their teaching curriculums and expertise in the areas of the Common Core and 21st Century Skills.  They also reviewed the art/write website and piloted its use with their students. These local high school teachers made this website possible.


Written by Chelsea Farrar

Edited by Olivia Miller

Designed by Jay Stephens and Chelsea Farrar

Consultants: Cass Fey, Curator of Education at Center for Creative Photography; Dr. Renee Sandell, Professor, Art Education School of Art, George Mason University


Note: Every attempt has been made to locate the copyright holders of the works reproduced herein. Any omission is unintentional. 

2. Bibliography

Blume, N., Henning, J., Herman, A., and Richner, N. (2008). Looking to learn: Museum educators and aesthetic education. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 42 (2), 83-100.

Burchenal, M., Grohe, M. (2007). Thinking through art: Transforming Museum Curriculum. The Journal of Museum Education, 32 (2),    111-122.

Childers, P., Hobson, E. and Mullin, J. (1998). ARTiculating: Teaching writing in a visual world. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.

Ehrenworth, M. (2003). Looking to write: Students writing through the visual arts. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Foster, T., Prevallet, K. (2002). Third mind: Creative writing through visual art. New York, NY: Teachers & Writers Collaborative.

Hillocks, G. (2010). Teaching argument for critical thinking and writing: An introduction. English Journal, 99 (6), 24- 32. Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/library/nctefiles/ej0996focus.pdf

Housen, A. (2001-02). Aesthetic thought, critical thinking and transfer. Arts and Learning Journal, 18 (1), 99-131. Retrieved from                 www.vtshome.org/system/resources/0000/…/Aesthetic_thought.pdf

Jester, J. (2003). Of paint and poetry: Strengthening literacy through art. The Quarterly, 25 (4), 32-34.

Shoemaker, M.K. (1998). “Art  is a wonderful place to be”: ESL students as museum learners. Art Education, 51 (2),    40-45.

Siegnthaler, J., Vihos, L. (1998). Instructional resources: Stories in art. Art Education, 51(1), 25-55.

Walsh-Piper, K. (2002). Image to word: Art and creative writing. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Web Resources

Visual Thinking Strategies http://www.vtshome.org/

Read Write Think; an initiative of the International Reading Association  http://www.readwritethink.org/

Project Zero: Artful Thinking   http://www.pzartfulthinking.org/index.php

Where to Learn English? A Museum of Course http://www.imls.gov/october_2012_where_to_learn_english_a_museum_of_course.aspx

Image as Text http://www.calta21.org/2012/08/09/another-perspective-on-vts-the-image-as-text/

Common Core and the Arts: