School Tours

Our school tours are temporarily cancelled.

Resumption of our in-person education programs—including tours, workshops, films, performances and more—will be phased in as part of our reopening plans. Please check back for updates on available programs.

For inquiries about organizing a virtual workshop for your class with an art educator, please reach out to Kris Webster, Manager of Arts Education, at or 902 424 6651.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Education Resources

Learn, create, explore and be inspired through art. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is proud to offer online education resources and downloadable materials to help students develop listening, viewing, and speaking skills, while engaging them in thoughtful interpretations and reflections with original art works.

The following is a collection of resources, such as videos, books, and online sources of information, organized under our School Tour headings. While we cannot accept school tour booking requests at this time, feel free to access these resources to enrich art opportunities planned for the classroom.

Eye Spy: Exploring the Art Gallery

In the Gallery’s Eye Spy school tour, 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. Students are introduced to art vocabulary as well as specific details about art galleries and how they are run.

Suggested Grade Level P-3

Subject Areas Visual Arts, Language Arts


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.


Ciao, Chessa!. (2010). 5 ways to teach your child about art.

A Pigment of your imagination

Colour galore – this tour explores the richness and intensity of colour in art and creates a feeling of excitement for learning more about the importance of colour in our lives.

These resources will help students explore 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. Offer students an opportunity to view an array of artworks such landscapes, portraiture, abstraction, and sculptures.

Depending on the grade, students could also 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 are also covered.

Suggested Grade Level P-6

Subject Areas Visual Arts, Science


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.


Room of Plastic Flowers. (2011). The Color Wheel.


Color Matters. (2012). Basic Color Theory.

The Art of Education. (2013, January 18). 3 Fresh New Ways to Teach About Color.

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. During this tour, students would 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.

These resources will help you introduce the art of portraits and learn to understand that a portrait may tell us more than just what that person looked like.

Suggested Grade Level P-6

Subject Areas Visual Arts

Lesson Plans
National Gallery of Art. (2013). Van Gogh’s Self-Portraits.
Teaching Tolerance. (n.d.). Painting Beauty: Creating Self-Portraits.

The Museum Network: Portraits and Portraitures. (n.d.). Setting and Symbolism.

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

Mostly Maud, Folk Art Focused

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. The Gallery is proud 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. Explore the concepts of traditional folk art, which typically meant that the “artist” had no formal training in the visual arts.

Suggested Grade Level 4-6 (but can be modified for younger grade levels)

Subject Areas Visual Arts, Social Studies, Math, Language Arts

Download Maud Lewis Lesson Plan

Download Maud Lewis Visual Resources


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.


Art Gallery Nova Scotia. (2010). Maud Lewis' Painted House.

Beaudry, Diane. (1976). Maud Lewis: A World Without Shadows. National Film Board of Canada.


Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. (2014). About Maud Lewis.

Canadian Artist Database. (n.d.). Maud Lewis.

Folk Art Canada. (2014). Maud Lewis - Painter.

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. Line is an element of design that is used in a variety of art forms.

Use these resources to get students looking at lines – how artists make lines, how they use them, where and why. The discussion of lines can 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. 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.

Suggested Grade Level P-6

Subject Areas Visual Arts, Math, Language Arts

Lesson Plan

National Gallery of Art. (2013). The Elements of Art: Line.


Ljungkvist, Laura. (2003). Follow the Line. Viking Juvenile.

Reynolds , Peter. H. (2003). The Dot. Candlewick Press.

Art and the Land

These resources will help guide students to investigate connections between art and the environment. Students can be 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.

Explore historical representations of the Atlantic region and the reasons and techniques artists represented it as they did. Look at how artists use media and techniques to manipulate, represent or distort a viewer’s understanding of their surroundings. Encourage students to 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.

Suggested Grade Level 3-6

Subject Areas Visual Arts, Social Studies


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.


Cinedigm. (2009). Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time – Trailer.

Maximgruninart. (2009). Landscape Painting Maxim Grunin Part 2.

Our Shared Heritage

These resources will help 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 increase their 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.

Encourage students to 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.

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

Suggested Grade Level P-3

Subject Areas Visual Arts, Social Studies

Lesson Plan

Diana, K. (n.d.). Aboriginal Art.


Syliboy, Alan and Nance Ackerman (2009). Vistas: Little Thunder. National Film Board of Canada.


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

Abstraction in Action

Jump into the dynamic world of abstract art! These resources 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 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.

Suggested Grade Level 4-6

Subject Areas Visual Arts


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.


Henriksen, Dani. (2011, February). Abstract Art for Kids.

McHugh, Christine. (2010, October 10). What is Abstract Art?: 5 Solid Designs that Work.

Curriculum Outcomes

You can also click on the link to the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s website where you will find curriculum information for grades P 12.

Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Visual Art Curriculum Outcomes