Dear Community Leader –

As you know, IPaintMyMind is a nonprofit arts organization & gallery whose mission is to make art accessible to everyone. We are committed to helping create a climate where art is valued, supported, and accessible in every community. As a method of enriching & expanding our Shared Walls™ Program, which loans temporary art exhibitions to community spaces, we’ve created this guide for you: the educator, the community liaison, the park supervisor, the head librarian, etc.

We invite you to use The IPaintMyMind Community Art Guide as a tool to engage and facilitate a dialogue with your students or community about the recent exhibition installed at your school, park, library, or community center. Please refer to the plaque hung in your space for the link to the artist featured in your temporary art exhibition. For more info on that particular artist, you can always email us at ideas@ipaintmymind.org for additional support & information.

You can also visit IPaintMyMind.org to find:

The asset provided below is about supplementing the important work you do in our city. The Shared Walls™ Program and this art guide is meant to help you teach, engage, support & provide for your community.




Evan La Ruffa

Founder | Executive Director | Lead Curator @ IPaintMyMind

P.s. If you know of any other community spaces like schools, parks, libraries, or community centers that would love to participate in our programs & initiatives, please give them our info!

1. Creating Context

Consider some of these questions before you focus on the physical traits of the exhibition and each of the artworks included.

[Note: This step is recommended for everyone age 11 & up]

    1. What is art to you?
    2. Where have you seen art?
    3. Where do you think artists find inspiration?
    4. What do you love about art?

2. Reflections, Thoughts, and Critiques

Ask students or community members to observe, interpret and think about the art.

[Note: Art teachers may choose to expand this set of prompts so as to incorporate themes, concepts, and learnings covered in your curriculum.]

    1. Observe & describe what you see:
      1. shapes, colors, lines, textures.
    2. Interpret the artwork:
      1. What do you think the artist is trying to tell the audience?
      2. What do you feel the artist intentions/inspirations are?
      3. What do you think the message (if any) is?
    3. Analyze the artwork:
      1. How do your observations about the work make you feel?
      2. What traits (colors, shapes, imagery) give the artwork a specific feeling or mood?
    4. Evaluate/critique the artwork:
      1. Do you like or dislike the artwork, and why?
      2. Who would expect the audience for this work typically is?
      3. How does the art tie into your community?

5. Additional Resources

This guide gives the opportunity for you, art educator, to explore contemporary art in a different fashion, by considering subject matter that can be political, addressing social issues that your own community can be experiencing.

All these resources are FREE for you to use!

    1. Some IPaintMyMind Featured Artists to consider:
      1. Marc Foster is a Chicago based-based mixed media and found objects artist, creating cultural collages of history & mind.
      2. Sita Rupe her work draws from multiple mediums to create pop-iconic and retrospective silhouettes dimensionalized atop vibrant patterns.  
      3. Sam Kirk a multidisciplinary artist, explores culture, identity and urban politics through her art.
      4. Igor Vitomirov his work shows his processed reflection of feelings and impressions of the world near him.

For more artists check out our features section.

    1. Art21 is dedicated to engaging audiences with contemporary visual art, to inspire creative thinking, and to educating a new generation about artists working today. They have great tools for teaching!
    2. Contemporary Art ideas for The Classroom is a website an art teacher created that is devoted to the integration of contemporary art in the classroom!
    3. Check out MoMa for K-12 Art Teacher resources and MCA, where you can find workshops, educator tips, lesson plans and ways to work with their collection.
    4. National Museums:
      1. National Gallery of Art: Borrow free teaching packets, DVDs & access online lessons, activities, and interactives to bring art to your classroom, home, or other learning setting. All materials are free.
      2. Walker Art Center: This blog was created by their Education & Public Programs department. Short articles and videos that discuss community, art and civic engagement, raising creative kids, and many other topics.
      3. The Getty Museum: The materials in this curriculum are designed for elementary and secondary teachers to prompt classroom discussion and learning centered on contemporary art.
    5. Online Platforms:
      1. The Art Project: Features interior tours of seventeen world famous art museums. Create your own art gallery while visiting each museum. You can see works of art in greater detail, add to your collection, and open background information about each piece.
      2. The Art of Education: An innovative higher-learning institution serving art teachers. Lesson plans, resources and videos.
      3. Art Babble: A website that showcases high quality art-related video content from more than 50 cultural institutions from around the world. Educators can use it as a way to support their classroom activities.
    6. FREE Art Experiences in Chicago (Field Trip Sites)
      1. IPaintMyMind Gallery (Logan Square) – we are happy to schedule visits to our gallery, including a short talk by our Lead Curator, Evan La Ruffa
      2. Galerie F (Logan Square) – gallery that specializes in gig posters, art prints, and street art.
      3. Miles of Murals (Rogers Park) – stretch of murals along Red Line in Rogers Park.
      4. National Museum of Mexican Art (Pilsen) – where you can immerse yourself in the richness of Mexican art and culture right here in Chicago. Whatever your background, you’ll connect to this museum on a very personal level.
      5. Museum of Contemporary Photography (South Loop) – presents projects and exhibitions and acquiring works that embrace a wide range of contemporary aesthetics and technologies
      6. Chicago Cultural Center (Loop) – The stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions and family events.
      7. Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park (Northside) – combines original contemporary sculpture and two miles of walkways—all for free.
      8. Smart Museum of Art (Hyde Park) – fine arts museum of the University of Chicago, the Smart is home to thought-provoking exhibitions and an exquisite collection of more than 15,000 objects.
      9. Arts Incubator (Southside) – Envisioned by artist Theaster Gates, the Arts Incubator is a space for artist residencies, arts education, community-based arts projects, as well as exhibitions, performances, and talks.   

3. Artistic Responses

Take students/community members on a tour of the artwork installed in your school, park, library, or community center and get ideas for new artwork they can create inspired by IPMM’s exhibition. Themes, topics and other aspects to consider while viewing the exhibition are:

    1. Color theory:
      1. What colors/hues are used?
      2. Are the colors warm or cool?
      3. What feelings do they transmit?

An example of an artistic response might be creating a new piece of art in keeping with the color scheme of a particular piece of artwork.

    1. Content:
      1. What is the piece about?
      2. What story can the students/community imagine as a result of the content?

An example of an artistic response might be taking the content/story of a piece and creating a new image for it.

    1. Style:
      1. What is the artist’s style?
      2. Do you think the artist’s style is well-suited to the content?

An example of an artistic response might be trying to emulate the artist’s style in a new and original way.

4. Student/Community Art Exhibitions

Through IPaintMyMind’s Shared Walls™ Program, your space hosts our art for ONE YEAR. After that, we encourage you to use the nails/screws on the wall to display student/community art in years to come. This way our exhibition not only presents finished works of art, it also gives your community the chance to display an art gallery continuously.

After the students/community members familiarize themselves with the installation and have created an artistic response, you can exhibit a student/community art installation with their pieces. Celebrate the student/community artwork and validate their creativity!

6. Shared Walls™ Partners Facebook Group

WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN our private Facebook group for Shared Walls™ partners!

This group is for all companies & organizations that are part of Shared Walls™. The group allows you to SHARE & CONNECT with other IPaintMyMind partners to see how others are engaging with the installations and get ideas from one another.

Feel free to upload photos, videos or any thoughts you have!