Live Paintings


Students will act out famous paintings with this performance art lesson.



  • Students will, learn about various art styles.


  • Students will investigate various art historical periods.


  • Students will create a performance art piece.


  • Students will present their “Live” Paintings in front of family, friends and classmates

What You Need:

  • Reproductions of the assigned paintings. The paintings should include people in them (Norman Rockwell, Freedom of Speech, Mary Cassatt, The Spanish Dancer …etc.).
  • Props
  • Camera

What You Do:

  1. Divide students into groups of three or four. Assign each group a different painting.
  2. Students are then asked to research and write an essay on their particular artist and painting. Grades 5-6 were required to write a one page essay. Grades 7-8 were required by the Language Arts teacher to write a three page report.
  3. Each group is asked to work together to find and bring in the necessary props for their particular painting. They should also do a couple of dress rehearsals before the actual presentation.
  4. Choose who will do the acting (we chose by drawing straws as no one really wanted to do the acting!) Also choose who will read the essay. The remaining students will set up and take down.
  5. The essay is read and the reproduction is show to the audience first. Then the students will proceed to set up their “Live” painting. A photo is then taken of them.When this was done at our school, we presented at our open house to the families and friends. The reactions were real positive.

    Note: Make sure a flyer is made up which recognizes everyone in each group!

❖ Similar Categories: Art History Lessons for Kids
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