Activity 21: Visit and Take Notes

It's time to see art in-person! Refer back to the list you created in Activity 4. Look up your venue online. Check to see whether there are free or discounted admission days and family days. When looking up the venue online, make note of whether there are docent-led talks, artist talks, children’s guides, maps, or other guides. Save or print these out before arrival (often, they will have these at the location). You’ll want to bring a sketchbook or notebook with you to the museum for this activity.

If you cannot access the art on display that you listed in Activity 4, you can explore museum collections online using links your instructor provides or through these links below:

Each of these places are discussed in chapter 12 of your textbook.

When you've found an artwork you'd like to write about and study further, pull out your notebook and consider the following prompts:

  • Consider the formal elements and principles of design. Does your artwork display line, shape, value, color, texture, space, unity, variety, focal point, balance, proportion, scale, or rhythm? Do you think that these elements and principles of design help you understand the theme or concept that you see portrayed in the artwork? Discuss how they connect.
  • Did you have any subjective or objective impressions of the artwork initially that then changed over time while viewing the artwork?
  • Remember to look around your artwork. Are there works of art nearby that help inform your understanding of your chosen artwork? Does there seem to be an overarching theme that the curator is trying to express?
    • If you are visiting virtually, are there works of art on the same page that inform your understanding of your chosen artwork? If the artwork is part of a collection (this would be noted on the webpage) does there seem to be an overarching theme that the curator is trying to express?
  • A few things to remember:

  • Find the artwork’s tag and read the information regarding the artist’s name, date the work was made, and what it is made with and/or from.
    • If visiting virtually, this is sometimes listed below or on the same page with the image.
  • There might be information at another end of the gallery space that tells you a bit more about the artwork -- look all around.
    • If visiting virtually, there might be information on another web page. Be sure to look all around on the website to see if there are any links that relate to the artwork.
  • Remember that formal art venues do not allow flash photography, so check beforehand. Also, do not touch the art unless it says so.

Submit your notes to your instructor.