Art Literacy: How to Embed Art Literacy in Your Curriculum

By The Arty Teacher - June 10, 2018

Art literacy is an essential component of a comprehensive art education, encompassing not only the creation of art but also the understanding of its history, theory, and cultural significance. As an art teacher, embedding art literacy in your curriculum can significantly enhance your students’ learning experience and appreciation for the subject. Here’s how you can effectively integrate art literacy into your teaching practices.

What is Art Literacy?

Art literacy involves a well-rounded understanding of art, including:

  • Technical Skills: Mastery of tools, techniques, and materials.
  • Art History: Knowledge of significant movements, artists, and works.
  • Art Criticism: Ability to analyze and interpret artworks.
  • Aesthetic Understanding: Appreciation of the visual and sensory qualities of art.
  • Cultural Awareness: Insight into the cultural contexts and influences on art.

Strategies for Embedding Art Literacy

  1. Integrate Art History Lessons
    • Contextual Learning: Start each project with a brief history lesson related to the style or artist you’re focusing on. Discuss the historical and cultural context, highlighting key artists and their works.
    • Timeline Projects: Have students create timelines of art movements, helping them understand the chronological progression and interconnectedness of different styles and periods.
  2. Incorporate Art Criticism and Analysis
    • Critique Sessions: Regularly schedule critique sessions where students present their work and provide constructive feedback to peers. This helps them develop their analytical and communication skills.
    • Discussion Prompts: Use open-ended questions to facilitate discussions about artworks. Questions like “What emotions does this piece evoke?” or “What techniques did the artist use to achieve this effect?” can stimulate critical thinking.
  3. Use Interdisciplinary Approaches
    • Cross-Curricular Projects: Collaborate with teachers from other subjects to create interdisciplinary projects. For example, integrating literature and art by illustrating scenes from a novel, or combining history and art by exploring the art of a particular historical period.
    • STEAM Activities: Incorporate elements of science, technology, engineering, and math into art projects. This could include exploring geometric patterns in art or using digital tools for design.
  4. Develop Technical Skills with Purpose
    • Skill-Based Workshops: Offer workshops focused on specific techniques or mediums, ensuring that students understand the purpose and context behind each skill.
    • Portfolio Development: Encourage students to build a portfolio that showcases a range of skills and styles, reflecting their personal growth and understanding of art literacy.
  5. Promote Aesthetic and Cultural Awareness
    • Cultural Projects: Assign projects that explore different cultural traditions and artistic styles. This broadens students’ perspectives and fosters a deeper appreciation for global art forms.
    • Museum Visits and Virtual Tours: Organize trips to local museums or use virtual tours to expose students to a variety of artworks and cultural artifacts.
  6. Leverage Technology and Digital Resources
    • Digital Art Platforms: Utilize platforms like Google Arts & Culture for virtual museum tours, or online databases for accessing high-quality images of artworks.
    • E-Learning Tools: Incorporate e-learning tools and apps that offer interactive art lessons, tutorials, and critique platforms.

Assessing Art Literacy

To gauge students’ progress in art literacy, consider the following assessment methods:

  • Reflective Journals: Have students maintain journals documenting their learning process, reflections on art history, and critiques of their own and others’ works.
  • Research Projects: Assign research projects on specific artists, movements, or cultural art forms, requiring students to present their findings.
  • Performance-Based Assessments: Evaluate students based on their participation in discussions, critiques, and the quality and thoughtfulness of their art projects.


By embedding art literacy into your curriculum, you enrich your students’ educational experience, fostering not only their technical abilities but also their critical thinking, cultural awareness, and appreciation for art. Implementing these strategies will help your students become more well-rounded, informed, and literate in the world of art.


  • Art Literacy
  • Art Education
  • Art History
  • Art Criticism
  • Aesthetic Understanding
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Interdisciplinary Art
  • STEAM in Art

Embedding art literacy in your curriculum is a transformative approach that prepares students for a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the visual arts. Embrace these strategies and watch your students flourish into informed and passionate art enthusiasts.

register on the arty teacher

Enjoy this article, Drop it a like


Or Share it

The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

More Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Resources you might like...

Subscribe & save in any currency!

Free Subscription


3 of the Free Resource every month.

Premium Subscription


10 Premium Resources every month.
3 of the Free Resources every month*.
Access to the online Venn Diagram Maker.
$9.99 Per month
$99 Per year

Premium Plus Subscription


Access to All Online Professional Development.
10 Premium Resources every month.
3 of the Free Resources every month*.
Access to the online Venn Diagram Maker.
$250 Per year
$475 Per year
$713 Per year
$950 Per year
$1,163 Per year
$1,395 Per year
$1,628 Per year
$1,800 Per year
$2,025 Per year
$2,250 Per year
$2,420 Per year
$2,640 Per year
$54,265 Per year
$3,080 Per year
$3,300 Per year
$3,520 Per year
$3,740 Per year
$3,960 Per year
$4,180 Per year
$4,250 Per year
*If you also have the free subscription.