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  • Thinking Through Art

Delve deeply into the art and culture of the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions! Thinking Through Art is an arts residency program that allows students to explore themes and ideas presented in the Rubin Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibits and explicitly connects to classroom curriculums. Students learn art-making techniques, acquire new vocabulary, and express themselves through creative projects.

A Thinking Through Art residency includes:

  • Planning meeting with museum education staff to ensure curriculum integration
  • Ten single-period (45 minutes) or five double-period (90 minutes) in-school sessions
  • One customized 90-minute museum visit
  • Presentations of student work at the end of residency.
  • $1,500 per residency (Up to 30 students per residency). Minimum two residencies required.

The Rubin Museum educator will work closely with classroom teachers to make sure that the residency is tailored to complement the classroom curriculum and adapt to the school’s schedule. Residencies can connect to many areas of classroom curriculum, including Social Studies, History, ELA, and Math. Rubin Museum teaching artists have extensive knowledge of Himalayan art and art making techniques, experience working with students of all ages and ability levels, and expertise in working with ESL and ELL students.

For further information or to inquire about a Thinking Through Art residency for your school, call 212.620.5000 x262 or email Marilyn Casey at

Download Registration Form

Residency Themes

Personal Symbols
Students will discover how symbols convey meaning about people and ideas and will create a symbol to express a personal story and/or goal.

Possible art techniques/materials:

  • Stitching: Embroidery and Applique
  • Photography: Symbolic Still Life Self-Portrait
  • Tsa tsa: Carving and Mold-Making
  • Mythical and hybrid animals

Narrative Art

Students will explore narrative art from Himalayan Asia and will develop skills to tell stories using visual images and a visual vocabulary.

Possible art techniques/materials:

  • Painting: Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Color)
  • Comics: Drawing with Words and images
  • Bookmaking: Structure and Content


Students will learn about the form and function of Himalayan mandalas and will create their own mystical blueprint.

Possible art techniques/materials:

  • Printmaking: Carving and Printing
  • Collage: Mixed Media

Spread of Ideas
Students will discover how the art can help spread ideas, such as Buddhism, and will explore traditional materials and techniques.

Possible art techniques/materials:

  • Sculpture: Armature and Clay
  • Printmaking: Carving and Printing
  • Bookmaking: Structure and Content

Peace v. Wrath
Students will explore the idea of peace”“ and its opposite, wrath”“ in Himalayan art and will reflect on their own perception of peace.

Possible art techniques/materials:

  • Maskmaking: Plaster, Painting, and Collage
  • Stitching: Embroidery and Applique
  • Painting: Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Color)

Hybrid Animals
Students will explore the meaning and symbolism of real and imagined animals in Himalayan art and will create a unique hybrid animal.

Possible art techniques/materials:

  • Sculpture: Armature and Plaster
  • Maskmaking: Plaster, Painting, and Collage
  • Painting: Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Color)

See Thinking Through Art in action!

Discover what teaching artists, classroom teachers, and students have to say about our residencies. These evaluations document and reflect on experiences in the classroom and the museum. They are tools for assessing student learning and reflecting on our teaching practice.

Online Evidence of Teacher and Student Learning (ETSL)

Two of our Thinking Through Art residencies, conducted in partnership with Liberty High School Academy for Newcomers, were selected for online publication and can be viewed on the Online Evidence of Teacher and Student Learning (ETSL) Database. These school residencies and online publications were developed through generous support from New York State Council on the Arts and Empire State Partnership.

View the residencies here:

Teacher Collaboration: Literature and Art

Making Mandalas with High School ESL Students


Education programs are made possible, in part, by the David Rockefeller Fund. Additional funding for Thinking Through Art is provided through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Yarn courtesy of Lion Brand Yarn Company. Visit for over 5,000 free patterns.