School Tours

School tours are an opportunity to enrich the learning of students and teachers. Visits to the Gallery help students develop listening, viewing and speaking skills, while engaging them in thoughtful interpretations and reflections with original art works.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is proud to offer educational tours during the school year at both our Halifax and Yarmouth locations.

Thematic tour options provide students with a cross-curricular experience based in the visual arts and are intended to introduce and/or reinforce concepts already taught in the classroom. Specific curriculum outcomes may be covered on guided tours depending on the tour guide, the grade(s), and what is on view at the time of the visit. If you wish to focus on a particular topic during the tour, please indicate when filling out the online booking form.

This year's exhibition and tour schedule promises to be dynamic and inspiring! Students and teachers also always enjoy visiting our Permanent Collection, which includes the Painted House of folk artist Maud Lewis.

Children on a guided tour
Tour Options

P-3 Eye Spy: Exploring the Art Gallery

Eye Spy is an introductory tour to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Students look at and reach understandings about art through a series of discussions and observational “Eye Spy” activities. Using a sequential approach to exploration, students reach a better personal understanding of the artworks. Throughout the tour students will be introduced to art vocabulary as well as learn specific details about art galleries and how they are run.

Curriculum Outcomes

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – Detective Eyes. Using their detective eyes students will partake in this observational drawing activity in the gallery. Remember – Detectives pay close attention to details!

Resources

Books:

  • Cressy, Judith. (2002). Can You Find It?: Search and Discover More Than 150 Details in 19 Works of Art. Harry N. Abrams.
  • de Brunhoff, Laurnet. (2003). Babar's Museum of Art. Harry N. Abrams.
  • Hooper, Meredith. (2006). Celebrity Cat: With Paintings from Art Galleries Around the World. Frances Lincoln Children's Books.
  • Lehman, Barbara. (2006). Museum Trip. HMH Books for Young Readers.

Information:

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P-6 A Pigment of your imagination

Colour galore – this tour explores the richness and intensity of colour in art! A lively description of a world without colour will set imaginations in motion and will create a feeling of excitement about learning more about the importance of colour in our lives.

Highlights of this tour include our relationship to colour, perceptions and feelings associated with colour and how artists use colour to evoke feelings, ideas and sensations through their art works. Students will view an array of artworks such landscapes, portraiture, abstraction and sculptures.

Depending on the grade, students will discuss basic scientific and theoretical aspects of colour, e.g. need for light to create colours, white light and refracted light in rainbows. The components of the colour wheel will also be introduced.

Curriculum Outcomes

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – Primary Principles. This activity will help students develop their observational skills and reinforce concepts of colour theory discussed on the tour.

Resources

Books:

  • Charles, Victoria (2011). Vincent's Colors. Parkstone Press.
  • Daywalt, Drew (2013). The Day the Crayons Quit. Philomel.
  • Lionni, Leo (1995). Little Blue and Little Yellow. Picture Books.
  • Walsh, Ellen Stoll (2001). Mouse Paint. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Videos:

Information:

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P-6 Figuratively Speaking

Portraits allow us to gain perspective in worlds very different from our own – both long ago and far away. They also allow us to meet people of the present who we might never encounter in our daily lives.Students will begin to understand the subject in the portrait first by noting the body language, facial expression, clothes, setting and any objects included in the picture.

A portrait represents a specific person, group of people, and even animals. They may also represent particular inanimate objects. Yet how an artist chooses to create their likenesses varies according to when and where the subject and the artist lived, why the portraits were created, and where they would be on view. The artist’s own particular personality, background, artistic style and skills also play a part.

Students will be introduced to the art of portraits and learn to understand that a portrait may tell us more than just what that person looked like. A portrait can also tell about the life and times of the person and the artist. This tour will also create an opportunity for students to compare and contrast the various materials, techniques, styles and ideas in portraits and self-portraits through study of early traditional works, genre paintings, folk art and contemporary/abstract works.

Curriculum Outcomes

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – Face the Facts. Students will pair up with another student and learn the basics of how to sketch a portrait.

Resources

Lesson Plan:

Information:

Books:

  • Rohmer, Harriet. (1997). Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits by Fourteen Artists. Children's Book Press.

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P-6 Mostly Maud, Folk Art Focused

Our Most popular tour!

Many students and educators have heard about the Maud Lewis house, and some may in fact have older relatives that have met Maud when she was selling her art works from her home in Digby County, Nova Scotia. This tour provides an opportunity to share the story of Maud Lewis and highlight how her art brought her great satisfaction and joy despite poverty and ill health in her life. Students will explore concepts of traditional folk art, which typically meant that the “artist” had no formal training in the visual arts. Also, students will compare and contrast the practice of other folk artists with the works of professional artists in our collection.

Curriculum Outcomes

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – Draw Like Maud! Maud Lewis painted images on her home inspired by the plants, animals and activities around her. Students will explore popular images in folk art in this in-gallery activity.

Resources

Books:

  • Bogart, Jo Ellen. (2011). Capturing Joy: The story of Maud Lewis. Tundra Books.
  • Hamilton, Laurie. (2001). The Painted House of Maud Lewis: Conserving a Folk Art Treasure. Goose Lane Editions.
  • Woolaver, Lance. (1996). The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis. Nimbus Publishing.
  • Woolaver, Lance. (2005). From Ben Loman to the Sea. Nimbus Publishing.

Videos:

Information:

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P-6 Walk the Line

The artist Paul Klee once described a line as taking a dot for a walk. Lines come in unlimited sizes with many different expressive qualities. Students will discuss how the line as an element of design is used in a variety of art forms.

On this tour students will be looking at lines – how artists make lines, how they use them, where and why. The discussion of lines will begin by looking first at lines on our own bodies (hair, wrinkles, etc.). Then move on to what is in the immediate environment (desk, books, etc.), Next, the outdoor environment (buildings, trees, etc.). Finally, how artists use lines in artworks.

Lines are very important because they have special characteristics which artists use in their artwork. Students will explore various characteristics of lines during the tour and through in-gallery activities. Lines are used and organized by the artist in a specific way for specific reasons. They may be used to make an initial sketch, to create perspective, movement, texture and rhythm. Lines can direct our eye into or out of a work. Also, lines can be used to decorate, create form, and unity. Finally, lines can be combined to express moods and emotions, movement and ideas.

Curriculum Outcomes

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – Outside the Lines. Explore the infinite potential of the line! Used to create shape, form, texture and illusions of space, this activity is perfect for introducing students to this fundamental art element.

Resources

Lesson Plan:

Books:

  • Ljungkvist, Laura. (2003). Follow the Line. Viking Juvenile.
  • Reynolds , Peter. H. (2003). The Dot. Candlewick Press.

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3–6 Art and the Land

This tour invites students to investigate connections between art and the environment. Students are encouraged to seek out these relationships and have ideas of their own. The rapid speed of change in our world provokes questions about the well-being of our earth. Artists highlight the interaction between people and the environment and allow us to reflect upon our treatment of the world around us.

Everyone is uniquely linked to our environment. The climate, plant and animal life, resources, architecture and landscape impact us all in different ways. The environment can affect our mood and emotions.

This tour will explore historical representations of the Atlantic region and the reasons and techniques artists represented it as they did. A contemporary look at how artists use media and techniques to manipulate, represent or distort a viewer’s understanding of their surroundings will also be explored. In addition, students will participate in discussions about how artists use materials from the land to create art works and implications the use of materials has on the meaning of the art work.

Curriculum Outcomes

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – In Perspective. Students will apply the basic principles of conveying distance and space as they learn about perspective. Students will use works from the collection as their inspiration.

Resources

Book:

  • Bjork, Cristina. (1987). Linnea in Monet’s Garden. R & S Books.
  • Blizzard, Gladys. (2005). Exploring Landscape Art with Children. Charlesbridge Publishing.
  • Harrison, Ted. (2003). Oh Canada. Kids Can Press.
  • Shilling, Richard. (2009). Wheel of Life. Cherry Leaf Publishing.

Video:

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3–6 Our Shared Heritage

This program has been developed to introduce students to the art of Nova Scotia and other parts of the Maritimes; its sources, its imagery and what it reflects about the province and its people. They will have an increased awareness of artists of this region, both past and present and how those artists are affected by the social, political, geographical and economic climate of their time and place.

Students will gain insight into the unique genre of Nova Scotia folk art, historical works representing the Atlantic Canada region and artworks by artists of Aboriginal descent.

By the end of the tour the students will have an understanding of how artists play an important role in informing us about the past and present. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia collects, holds, preserves and exhibits a specific cultural heritage that is waiting to be explored and understood.

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – The World Around Me. Inspired by discussions about works in the collection, students will sketch from imagination and observation the world around them to connect ideas addressed on the tour.

Resources

Lesson Plan:

Video:

Books:

  • Cranmer, Ryan. (2010). Learn the Alphabet: With Northwest Coast Native Art. Garfinkel Publications

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4–6 Abstraction in Action

Jump into the dynamic world of abstract art! Through a questioning strategy, this tour will help students gain the skills to explore the rich and various interpretations of abstract art.

Abstract art often implies a usually simplified or distorted rendering of complex objects, feelings or concepts in order for artists to express their ideas in their chosen medium. An appreciation of the basic art elements and principles of design will enable the students to reach a better personal understanding of what the artist is ‘talking about’ in an abstract artwork.

This tour aims to stimulate creative and imaginative ways of looking at the world around us, including works of art. One of these ways is to approach as experiments; trying out new ways of seeing, new ways of representing ideas, meaning, moods and techniques.

Students will see how the artist uses and is inspired by ordinary objects – recycling, reproducing and changing materials to create new meaning. They will also discover how our urban environment, other forms of media, other styles of artwork and our modern technology may have influenced many of these artists. Often they will be amazed and amused at the innovative spirit demonstrated in some of the contemporary works.

Curriculum Outcomes

Optional In-gallery Activity (Free of Charge)

Sketching in the Gallery – 1,2,3 – Abstract! This in-gallery activity introduces students to stages of abstraction from realism to the obscure.

Resources

Books:

  • Goodman, David & Miller, Zoe. (2012). Faces. Tate.
  • Lionni, Leo. (1995). Matthew’s Dream. Dragonfly Books.
  • Portis, Antoinette. (2011). Not a Box. Festival.
  • Scieszka, Jon. (2005). Seen Art?. Viking Juvenile.

Information:

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Grades 7 - 12

Most of the tour options can be adapted for older students. If you are interested in arranging a specially designed tour related to your specific curriculum and student interests, then contact info.desk@novascotia.ca.


Self-guided tours: Bringing a class on your own

Teachers are welcome to bring classes to the Gallery on their own but must book in advance. For the comfort of all our visitors, it is important to control the numbers of groups visiting the Gallery at any one time.

We strongly suggest teachers bringing classes on their own visit the Gallery beforehand to familiarize themselves with the physical layout of the building and with the current exhibitions. Each group is limited to 30 students. Groups must be accompanied by one adult for every five students. Gallery visit bookings must be made a minimum of three weeks in advance.

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