Most museums feature extraordinary exhibits, stunning sculptures, and amazing art, perfect for inspiring the creativity of your students and whetting their artistic appetites. But there’s inspiration to be found all around! Shake things up with our ideas for field trips designed to help students see everyday objects—in everyday places—in a new light. Check out these 10 field trip ideas for your art students!
1. Botanical Gardens
Before you visit your local garden or nature center, give your students a refresher course in the basic anatomy of plants, trees, and flowers. Then encourage them to get up close and personal with various species, noting their unique structures, colors, and design. Bring cameras to capture subjects for later, sketch pads for quick studies, or easels and canvases for en plein air projects.
Take your students on an undersea adventure and open their eyes to the graceful, slow-motion movements of life underwater. Note the vibrant colors, tonal variations, and unique patterns you see. Underwater works lend themselves nicely to watercolor projects, and creating a new fish species is a fun exercise for younger students.
3. Urban Art
From graffiti art to sculptures by local artists and spontaneous structural art, your city likely has urban art worthy of a walking tour. Discuss the pieces you’ll see beforehand, then head out into the fresh air and try using reclaimed or recycled materials, mixed media, and more to create your own urban art.
4. Memorials and Monuments
Does your city display memorials or monuments to local heroes or legends? Conduct a group discussion around the choice of the materials used and subject matter. Then assign a freeform art project encouraging your students to share their personal expressions of heroics.
5. Historical Buildings
Bring your city’s history to life and inspire civic pride in your artists by visiting a local historical building. From courthouses to post offices, most cities maintain several buildings with serious stories and history. After your visit, discuss other objects of local pride—foods, celebrities, natural features—and have your students design and draw a hometown coin that best represents the city’s notable features on the obverse and reverse of the coin.
Draw the attention of our students to the building details with an architectural study. Choose a local structure with various ornate decorations, from wall niches to decorative corbels, ceiling medallions, patterned molding, and stair brackets. Take lots of pictures, then use them as inspiration for student-designed mandalas.
7. Place of worship
Conduct a study on symbolism with a visit to a place of worship. Take note of the decorative aspects of the facility, such as artwork, stained glass, and symbolic accouterment. Then assign an artwork depicting each student’s unique symbolism.
8. Dance or Street Performers
From the graceful lines and elegant movements of a ballerina to the brusque, jarring jams of a local street performer, dance is a great way to get students’ minds moving. Dancers make a great study in drawing motion.
9. People Watching
Pick a public place and park your class for a period of good old-fashioned people-watching! Train your students to study their subjects closely—faces, bodies, clothing, hairstyles—then head back for a portrait painting session, blending their favorite features into one fictional subject.
10. Walk on the Wild Side
Take a trip to whatever natural resource your city boasts. From shores to forests, mountains to desert scapes, the shapes, colors, and patterns of nature are incredibly inspiring for an artist.
What are some of your favorite field trip ideas for your art students?