Walker Art Center

Art Today

Schools and Teachers

Introduction for Teachers

The themes explored on this site are linked to Walker Art Center tour topics designed for students in grades K–12. Each theme is an approach to understanding the work of contemporary artists. Beginning with key questions that introduce a big idea related to the theme, each tour theme includes background information, discussion questions, ideas for classroom activities, and selected works of art from the Walker’s permanent collection. Students may also search for other works of art in the ArtsConnectEd (www.artsconnected.org) Art Gallery section which combines works from both the Walker Art Center and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Teachers may use the Art Today site in conjunction with Walker Art Center school tours as an introduction before your tour or follow-up activities. The Art Today themes can also be taught on their own as classroom explorations of contemporary art. Unless otherwise indicated, the themes can be customized for students of all ages.

The Art Today Web site includes several themes that can help you begin to understand contemporary art. Click a theme on the right to continue your journey.

How to Schedule an Art Today Tour

How can I understand the art of today?
Can we ever completely understand the art of today? Probably not. Contemporary art—the art being made today—takes many forms and is made for many purposes. Since it is happening right now, we don’t have the benefit of history to help us sort it out. There always seems to be a new idea or approach to learn about. Understanding today’s art is a journey with many interesting stops and side trips, but one that we hope continues for a lifetime.
Here are some ideas to try as we work toward understanding art today:
  • Describe artworks and interpret their meanings
  • Find connections among the techniques and materials used by artists today
  • Generalize big ideas from specific art works
  • Identify examples of those big ideas in other artworks and in your everyday life
  • Represent those ideas in new ways in your own artwork