Social Distance Learning

black and white photograph of a classroom by artist
Catherine Wagner, Naval Postgraduate School, Metallurgical Classroom, Monterey, CA, from the series American Classroom, 1986, Gelatin silver print.

The more I think about and engage with it, the more social distancing feels like an art movement. Although social distancing emphasizes staying home or at a physical distance from others; this practice parallels the concept of social practice art, where works of art are realized via engagement through human interaction and social discourse. It is important to state that social distancing does not mean dropping out from the collective culture. The nature of social distancing is to exhibit empathy so that more vulnerable members of society can minimize their risk of becoming sick.

In order to practice social distancing effectively within art and education settings an individual should seek to make social, emotional and cognitive connections to others via methods and actions that can be applied remotely. Thankfully, because we are social animals, the internet has been transformed by cultural producers to incorporate a variety of actions, events and resources for living, loving and learning artfully while observing and enacting social distancing.

This page is an extension of a recently published blog post called Art Education in an Age of Social Distancing, which includes examples of how art education can be effectively implemented while students and teachers are outside of their classrooms.  In the section below, I will continually update a list of tools, technology, inspirational themes and lesson ideas for making, viewing, presenting and responding to art. So stay tuned and bookmark this document for your reference.Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 3.06.59 PMIn addition to the links below, I have created a sharable Google Document titled Artfully Learning’s Online Art Lesson Plan Outlines for Social Distance Learning, where I have developed several lesson plans and ideas for educators and home-school teachers to utilize with their students in remote settings. Please read the disclaimer/introduction statement in the document if you plan to use any of the lessons.


  • Art Class Curator is the go-to platform for integrating art history and contemporary art methodologies into a K-12 visual arts curriculum. There are lesson plans, art appreciation activities and a plethora of downloadable resources, each benefiting a cross-disciplinary approach to making, viewing and responding to Global art themes. There is also a great podcast (see below under the podcast section) with a wide variety of inspiring episodes.
  • Art Prof  has specifically been developed for artists and educators to interact remotely on a global scale. Founded by seasoned artists and educators, Art Prof features video tutorials for students to learn technique and skill building, as well as live critique sessions, where students are mentored by a team of experienced art teachers. In fulfilling their mission of “removing barriers that exist due to the cost of higher ed & private classes,” the site is completely free. (High School – College)
  • ArtPedagogy is an interactive online platform for critically learning about and responding to the history of art and contemporary practices.  It has visual aids, creative prompts and collaborative learning activities that “promote reflective, authentic art and design teaching and learning, delivered with a spirit of ‘serious mischief’.” (High School – College, students and educators alike)
  • The Art Assignment is a video series where contemporary artists introduce a particular work of theirs and present viewers with interactive assignments that require minimal materials and very little prior artistic knowledge. This is a great way to broaden knowledge about contemporary artists, themes and techniques, and get inspired by taking bold risks through non-traditional creative processes. (All ages)
  • Artwork Archive (a great platform for organizing your art) published a list of creative prompts that can be realized while practicing social distancing. (All ages)
  • Stuck at home but need to get your creativity out? It is as good a time as ever to get innovative with your art supplies. The D.I.Y Art Materials Pinterest board has you covered, with resources to learn about art supplies that can be made and sourced at home.
  • The Arty Teacher is a great website for lesson ideas, assessments, demos and much more. The Art Home Learning page on the site is very useful for supporting remote learning and extending classroom-studio-time to the home. (K-12)
  • Artsology is another great website for discovering free online lesson ideas, as well as fun art inspired games, art-centered videos and ‘art investigations,’ which explore specific themes using examples of works throughout art history. (K-12)
  • The Children’s Museum of Art has a whole section of their website that is devoted to at-home learning.
  • Eric Gibbons is an art educator whose website, Art Ed Guru is one of the best go-to resources for online art education resources. He’s been regularly adding to the section on remote learning, so check it out for engaging lessons that can be enjoyed from home. (K-12)
  • Artist, Allie Olson, is creating daily web-based participatory learning videos for kids ages 2-6. Olson makes learning fun through a unique blend of somatic and social and emotional learning. Her videos are sure to inspire your young ones at home! Check it out by taking a virtual trip to Allieville! (Age 3, Pre-K and Kindergarten)
  • Kate Lindquist is an art teacher from Florida who teaches students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. She shares K-8 art lessons on her YouTube channel PeaceLoveArt. (Middle School)
  • Get your little ones ready for Art with Ms. Rachel on YouTube. (Age 3 and Pre-K)
  • Drawn Together with Mr. Sarno is a fun and informative YouTube channel full of lessons and creative inspiration for students and their families. (Middle School)
  • Geared for anyone who is interested in strengthening their depiction skills, Jessica Hopper’s YouTube art lessons  will help you develop your art making chops. (All ages)
  • Plants are essential for our health and happiness. Growing and nurturing plants is also an artistic activity (see: Down to Earth: Extraordinary STEAM Learning, Back to Nature: Learning about ecosystems of the past and building future ecological awareness and Artful Nurturing). The amazing crew of botanists and plant educators at GrowNYC created a guide for making and maintaining tiny greenhouses. (All ages)
  • The Corona Quilt is a communal art making project that utilizes the traditional aesthetics and socially engaged process of quilt making to address the fears, anxieties and stresses related to COVID-19 and living in isolation. The idea of the project is that these individualized expressions will be viewed within a collectivist lens. The quilted squares from participants are uploaded to social media. (All ages)
  • The Believer Magazine is hosting a series of Friday Night Comic Workshops where individuals of all ages can partake in a guided tutorials on making comics and zines. Each week features a new artist and theme. (All ages)
  • Danny Gregory is hosting daily live drawing sessions on YouTube, where he shares a lesson from his archive of lessons and invites participants to work collaboratively on the assignments. (All ages)
  • Get inspired from a list of playful creative prompts/assignments from artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher via their online series Learning To Love You More (2002-2009). Each assignment addresses a specific and simple activity such as feeling the news, giving advice to your past self or making a poster of shadows. Even though the project has officially ended, these assignments remain archived and are a great way to unleash your creativity and connect to others remotely. (All ages)
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St. Jerome Writing (after Caravaggio) from the Instagram account Covid Classics (see below for info)


  • Since museums across the world have had to temporally shutdown, many have shifted their exhibitions and galleries online. Through Google Arts and Culture, you can use your fingers to roam the halls of arts and cultural institutions and view countless works of art in the comfort and safety of your home. You can also check out famous sites and landmarks with Google’s ‘street view.’
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Artist Project  is a compelling video series in which contemporary artists take viewers on a virtual gallery talk about an item or body of works in the museum’s collection that has unique significance to them.
  • Smithsonian’s Open Access allows you to  download, share, and reuse/remix approximately 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from their collections. The list of downloadable content will continue to expand. The Learning Lab is full of lesson ideas and curriculum guides for utilizing the Smithsonian’s expansive collection for inquiry-based learning.
  • Take a trip through time to view some of the first known works of art through virtual reality and Vimeo tours of the Caves of Lascaux.
  • SmartHistory is a tried-and-true platform for viewing and learning about art history. They have an enormous selection of video and textual guides for learning about art, architecture and artifacts across time and place. They also publish free digital textbooks on a wide variety of global art content from antiquity to contemporary.
  • Art + Feminism is an intersectional feminist non-profit organization that directly addresses the information gap about gender, feminism, and the arts on the internet. The organization hosts events such as a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to bolster the presence of women artists on the World Wide Web. The Art + Feminism Remote Learning Guide features course work and curriculum maps, training for Wikipedia learning and other virtual learning resources and advice.
  • Art History Teaching Resources is your one stop guide for educator-populated materials for teaching and professional development in the fields of art history and museum education. The pedagogical resources including customizable lesson plans, slideshow presentations, ideas for assignments and learning activities that can be adapted for museum and classroom settings.
  • The closure of schools has put many students’ shows in limbo. However, as art schools cancel MFA exhibitions, one Instagram account has stepped up to the plate. Check out the Social Distance Gallery for virtual BFA & MFA thesis shows.
  • Studio visits are an essential way for the creative community to socialize and experience new and exciting work in intimate settings. However, just because we can’t physically visit each other’s studios, doesn’t mean that studio visits should be canceled. A Google Doc has been created where you can list your availability for virtual studio visits. Quarantine or not, this is a great way to connect artists who are miles apart in physical distance. Virtual studio visits have the potential to expand the reach of artist’s work and the communication between the artist and viewer.
  • Artsolation is a multidisciplinary online academic platform on the study of visual cultures. It was created by Lauren Rozenberg and Laura Scalabrella Spada as a response to feelings of isolation, realities of social distancing and fearful uncertainties about the future. Artsolation is intended to circulate research and reflect on a multitude expressions related to visual culture. The editors are seeking contributions from emerging and established academics. The creators “welcome short article submissions from all fields and career stages, but especially the voices of young academics, writers and artists.”
  • Transmission is a platform for connecting creatives across the world and promoting their work during this period of disruption due to the global pandemic. You can currently check out the work of featured artists and you will soon be able to view livestream performances of music and other events and read published pieces like short stories and poems. Last but not least, there’s an open call for art for an online exhibition.
  • Artsteps is an app that enables users to upload their art and curate it within a digital gallery space.
  • Sam Haller and his three roommates have taken an artful approach to their time at home by recreating iconic works of art using household objects and props. They post these recreations on an Instagram page called Covid Classics.
  • Quaranteens are a collective of New York City based high school students and Kate Levy, who is the Co-Director of Youth Documentary Workshop at Educational Video Center. Prior to the pandemic, they had been working on a documentary film as a part of the Educational Video Center (EVC) community, which is a “non-profit youth media organization dedicated to teaching documentary video as a means to develop the artistic, critical literacy, and career skills of young people, while nurturing their idealism and commitment to social change.” In light of the pandemic, the students have continued to utilize the medium of storytelling and multimedia art processes to document individual and collective adolescent experiences in response to the abrupt changes in their daily lives.
  • Quarantine Public Library has a collection of free artist books that can be printed out and easily assembled.

Expanded Learning (online courses/opportunities)

  • Call For Curators has ongoing listings for online courses in a variety of topics related to contextualizing and presenting contemporary art. Most of these courses are useful for individuals who are interested in curatorial methods, public programming and pedagogies of visual culture and social practice.
  • Coursera offers free extended learning classes in specialized areas/themes, accredited courses and online degrees in the Arts & Humanities.
  • The Art of Education University is an accredited teaching program for art educators to study art education and earn their certificates and degrees (they offer an M.A. in Arts Education) online. Their site also features free lesson plans, a podcast (see below) and a magazine.
  • The Praxis Center for Aesthetic Studies is an online learning space for professional artists directed by artist Brainard Carey. Each class features 1 on 1 support and is largely inquiry-based.


Blogroll (a selection of great art ed themed blogs)


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