Family visits present opportunities for children and adults to learn together through creative thinking, visual interpretation, and a rich engagement with the artistic process.
Looking at Art with Children
Consider these simple suggestions as you plan your time together at the Museum.
Guide them. Modeling your own enthusiasm for looking at art can serve as a big inspiration for getting children excited. You don’t need to be an expert on what you are looking at—simply expressing your own enjoyment in engaging with art creates a fun atmosphere.
Let them guide you. Allow children to choose the works you will explore and let their interests guide you.
Look and talk. Start by inviting your children to simply look quietly. Follow up with an open-ended question; one we like is “What do you notice?” For younger children, have them name the shapes or colors they see.
Get up and move. Have fun looking from a variety of different angles; get close (but not too close!), far away, and move from right to left. Ask your child what they notice from the different positions.
Make connections. Look for themes that emerge across artworks, perhaps noticing people, nature, or animals.
Strike a pose. When looking at artworks that contain figures, make note of what the body language and facial expressions show you. Invite your child to pose like the figures they see.
Check out our Young Explorer’s Guide
Programs for Families
Ages 3+: Tours for Tots Start them young! These themed interactive tours with read-aloud story time and gallery activities introduce small children to big ideas in art. Children learn alongside their parent or caregiver. Free with Museum admission. Pre-registration required; space is limited.
Ages 4+: Open Studio
Look. Think. Create. Visit the Open Studio for gallery explorations that prompt new discoveries and inspire personal creations. All materials provided.
Ages 6+: Family See & Sketch
Enjoy a close look at a work of art together through lively discussion, followed by sketching and activities in the galleries.
See calendar for upcoming sessions.
Programs for Teens
Art & Design Lab for High School Students
Free, pre-registration required. New sessions each month, repeated every Thursday. Each month focuses on specific themes and techniques. Explore how art and design objects can provoke fresh ideas, elicit conversation, and stimulate creativity. Email for more information or to register.
RISD Art Circle (RAC)
For high school students looking to deepen their leadership skills in the arts, the RAC is an opportunity to collaborate with the RISD Museum as an advisor, ambassador, and creative thinker. The RAC is seeking motivated students to play a role in giving the group its initial shape and direction. To learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401 454 6674
Teen Open Studio
For teens seeking a creative space to work on projects and get fresh ideas for new ones. See calendar for upcoming sessions.
Summer Teen Intensive
This free 10-day intensive program allows high school students to analyze works of art and design and respond through art-making, writing, and discussion. Participants explore the RISD Museum’s galleries and visit local studios to learn more about the work of artists, educators, and curators. No prior art-making experience necessary. Email for more information or to apply.
Other RISD Programs
RISD College and Continuing Ed also offer programs for children and teens.
Project Open Door
College-access program for artistically talented teens attending Rhode Island urban public high schools.
Young Adult Certificate Programs
Young Adult Certificate Programs encourage students ages 12 to 17 to broaden their horizons and develop stronger artistic skills, building confidence and maturity.
Young Artist Vacation Camps Camp sessions for children and teens ages 7 to 17, offered during winter, spring, and summer school vacations. Sessions held at RISD’s Tillinghast Farm campus in Barrington, Rhode Island, or on the RISD campus in Providence.
Young Artists Courses
This program provides a strong grounding in the visual arts and encourages creative and personal growth through self-expression. Year-round courses provide opportunities for teens to be with peers who are energetic, creative, and passionate about what they’re doing.
The six-week summer program offers high school students ages 16 to 18 a comprehensive introduction to the college art-school experience. Participants are fully immersed in a studio curriculum and live in RISD residence halls.