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clyfford still | museum
A teacher gestures towards a painting while high school students behind her look a the painting
A teacher gestures towards a painting while high school students behind her look a the painting
inStill students by CSM

6-12 inStill Experiences

Art and Ideas

Big Ideas:

  • I belong in creative spaces that allow me to be myself and connect with others.
  • I can be creative. Creativity looks unique to each person.
  • Art can support me in the lifelong effort of learning about myself and others.

Essential Questions:

  • What does belonging feel like?
  • How do I exist in my communities?
  • What is creativity? In what ways am I creative?
  • Who am I?
  • How does learning about myself shift over time?


Learning Targets:

  • I can be myself.
  • I can connect with my communities.
  • I can decide what creativity means to me.
  • My ideas are important. I can share them with others.
  • I can observe and listen to other perspectives.

What will we do?

  • Transition into the Museum and introduction to the experience.
  • Divide into small groups and community building with educators.
  • Participate in two mini-workshops to explore the art, our interpretations, our responses, and our questions. Teachers can choose three different modules to explore and respond to the art, including:
    • Art and Context
    • Transition to Abstraction
    • Thinking Like a Curator
    • Responding with Creativity
    • Art and Questioning
    • Color is What You Make It
    • Art in Times of Change
    • Who am I?
    • Bridging My Experiences
    • Internal and External Landscapes
  • In all experiences, students will form and share their interpretations, listen and respond to others’ ideas, write and draw to learn and reflect, and collaborate with classmates.
  • Debrief and transition out of the Museum.

Workshop summaries:

  • Art and Context – Explore the contexts of WWII and the Great Depression and how those events may have impacted Clyfford Still’s art.
  • Art and Ideas – Use art to unpack big ideas about the human experience.
  • Transition to Abstraction – Look closer at how Clyfford Still’s art transitioned from representational to abstract and experiment with making your own art more abstract.
  • Thinking Like a Curator – Develop your interpretation of the artwork and curate a miniature exhibition to share your point of view.
  • Responding with Creativity – Respond to Clyfford Still’s artwork by writing poetry, creating your own artwork, responding with drama, or responding with movement.
  • Art and Questioning – Generate questions about the artwork, sort your questions, and use the skill of making inferences to uncover answers.


    • Color is What You Make It – Experiment with your own color choices while drawing influence from Clyfford Still’s compositions.
    • Art in Times of Change – Define change and the types of changes people might experience, then explore how you can use art to respond to and reflect during times of change.
    • Who am I? – Reflect on the facets of your identities and use visual language to communicate who you are to the world.
    • Bridging My Experiences – Use a simple artmaking prompt to reflect on your past experiences, current self, and future dreams.
    • Internal and External Landscapes – Reflect on the components of a landscape artwork, create your own example of a landscape, and use your artwork as a metaphor for your internal landscape.

      Request a 6-12 Experience

      Connections to Academic Standards:

      Visiting the Clyfford Still Museum addresses multiple standards for the State of Colorado, Core Standards, and CASEL Social-Emotional Learning Framework. In a single Museum visit, students demonstrate essential skills, read, write, and communicate, build awareness of self and others, and participate in the iterative process of making, critiquing, and reflecting.

      • Colorado Essential Skills:
        • Creativity/Innovation
        • Risk Taking
        • Self-Awareness
        • Initiative/Self-Direction
        • Personal Responsibility
        • Adaptability/Flexibility
        • Perseverance/Resilience
        • Collaboration
        • Civic Engagement
        • Character
        • Self-Advocacy
        • Leadership
      • Colorado Academic Standards in Reading, Writing, and Communicating:
        • Oral Expression and Listening
        • Reading for All Purposes
        • Writing and Composition
        • Research Inquiry and Design
        • Colorado Academic Standards in Social Studies
        • History (Art and Context mini-workshop)
      • Common Core State Standards:
      • Colorado Academic Standards in Visual Arts:
        • Observe and Learn to Comprehend
        • Envision and Critique to Reflect
        • Invent and Discover to Create
        • Relate and Connect to Transfer
      • National Core Arts Standards:
        • Anchor Standard 1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
        • Anchor Standard 2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work
        • Anchor Standard 3. Refine and complete artistic work
        • Anchor Standard 4. Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation
        • Anchor Standard 6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work
        • Anchor Standard 7. Perceive and analyze artistic work
        • Anchor Standard 8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
        • Anchor Standard 9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
        • Anchor Standard 10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
        • Anchor Standard 11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context
        • to deepen understanding.
      • CASEL Social Emotional Learning Framework:
        • Self-Awareness
        • Self-Management
        • Social Awareness
        • Relationship Skills
        • Responsible Decision Making