Using ART21 Media in the Classroom

Strategies for introducing film and online resources


Engaging students with the ideas, imagery, and stories presented in film requires specific strategies and preparation to introduce and screen it in the classroom. ART21 films should facilitate active engagement with students, and allow them to explore ideas and questions raised by the artists and their artworks.



  • Encourage students to write regularly in a journal or sketchbook to record questions, ideas, or pictures related to their art-viewing experiences. Use any of the Before, While, or After Viewing questions as journal assignments to be completed in anticipation of a group discussion.
  • Initiate a debate based on any of the previous discussion questions. Turn the question into a statement and have students develop arguments for and against that statement to present to the class.
  • Use ART21’s series and website to prepare students to view art in museums, galleries, and other exhibition venues. Discuss the different ways audiences can see and experience contemporary art (on film, on the internet, in person, etc.) and reflect on how those contexts influence the way we look at and interpret the work.
  • View a variety of artist segments to inspire students to write his or her own artist statement or to create a video segment reflecting a personal artist profile.
  • Use ART21 as a springboard to connect with your local arts community. Invite a local artist, curator, collector, or educator to discuss particular artists, issues, or concepts relevant to your students or local community.



  • Preview all content before presenting it in a classroom or community context. Consider viewing a single artist profile or specific portions of different artist profiles to address particular discussion questions or to anticipate a hands-on activity.
  • Prepare viewers for what they will see. Initiate a discussion or writing exercise using the Before Viewing questions in the Educators’ Guide. These questions are designed to help viewers establish expectations about the content in the video and solicit personal experiences and opinion in relation to a particular topic or idea.
  • Ask viewers to discuss key vocabulary words before viewing, and identify how the terms are applied, while watching the video.
  • Introduce additional resources such as artist interviews, images of specific works of art, or keywords or topics found at These resources introduce specific ideas or themes addressed in the video segments and can support post-viewing discussion.
  • Encourage active viewing by identifying appropriate points for pausing, clarifying, or expanding on what participants are seeing and hearing. Use the While Viewing questions provided in the Educators’ Guide or revisit Before Viewing questions or ideas when relevant. Encourage participants to take notes, sketch, or consider additional questions while they watch.
  • Facilitate After Viewing engagement by analyzing and responding to the video segment with relevant discussion and follow-up activities. Consider ways for participants to process their ideas independently before sharing them with the group, either by writing, sketching, or utilizing graphic organizers.
  • Use ART21 themes to initiate conversation about multiple artists and their works. Compare and contrast artists, working methods, or interpretations of specific themes or topics.
  • Screen a range of films about different artists (past and present, documentary, and from popular culture) and compare how each film approaches its subject matter and conveys a narrative about the artist and his or her work and ideas.