School Programs

CMA field trips engage students with art in the galleries through a discussion-based approach that sparks curiosity, creating a personal connection that helps participants to retain the information. In the last year, the CMA has served nearly 25,000 youth.

School programs at the Columbia Museum of Art are nationally recognized for their excellence in providing students of all ages state and national standards-based cross-curricular learning experiences. 

There are a variety of grade-appropriate plans that encourage learning through interactive activities. Programs for students in grades Pre-K through 12 can also include a meaningful, hands-on art-making experience in the studios. Suggestions for pre- and post-visit activities are included with the confirmation materials that you will receive.

The CMA received a wonderful five-year grant from Aflac to underwrite K-12 field trips and transportation for Title 1 Schools in South Carolina. Aflac awarded the grant based on the need to reach more at-risk and underserved children through arts education. Learn more here.

Choose a program from those listed below and contact Kayleigh Vaughn at 803-343-2163 or kayleigh@columbiamuseum.org at least three weeks in advance. 

Programs & Lesson Plans

Preschool – Kindergarten

Animal Art Safari
Animals can be found hidden in the corners of paintings and crouching in the foreground of relief sculpture. Discover animals in the galleries while learning about the ways in which painters and sculptors incorporated the natural world into their art.
(Program length: 90 minutes)
Lesson Plans

Let's Explore
Discover the world of art! Step inside the canvas and utilize the five senses to “read” artworks throughout our galleries. Students identify familiar themes such as animals, children, and food while expanding and building upon their vocabulary.
(Program length: 90 minutes)
Lesson Plans

1st-3rd Grade

Roberts' Realm
Students will explore the world of well-known, Columbia photographer, Richard Samuel Roberts. This program is rich with U.S. and South Carolina history, and introduces students to the photographic process used by Roberts in the 1920s and ’30s to create his portraits.
(Program length: 90 minutes)
Lesson Plans

The Third Dimension
Welcome to the world of 3-D art! Students use scientific concepts and math skills to discuss three-dimensional objects such as furniture, sculpture, ceramics and glass including ancient Roman busts and antique silver tea sets.
(Program length: 120 minutes)
Lesson Plans

4th-5th Grade

The Language of Art
Delve deeper into the visual language of art while focusing on key concepts and terms such as portrait, landscape, still life and sculpture. Students explore the materials, concepts and processes that artists have used throughout the ages.
(Program length: 120 minutes)
Lesson Plans

Picturing America
Great art speaks powerfully, inspires creative thinking, and connects us to our past. Designed to connect to the National Endowment for the Humanities initiative, “Picturing America” features works in the Museum’s American galleries, including portraits of George Washington and Thomas Sumter.
(Program length: 120 minutes)
Lesson Plans

6th-8th Grade

A Conversation with the Ancients
Come face to face with the famous demigod, Hercules, as he’s in a fight for his life! From Ancient Greece to Neoclassicism, students will “unearth” relics of the past and discover why artists were inspired by ancient civilizations.
(Program length: 120 minutes)
Lesson Plans

Process of Illumination
From the Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment, students explore the artistic and scientific breakthroughs that impacted history through artwork. They will discuss certain inventions and how they illuminated the world of art.
(Program length: 120 minutes)
Lesson Plans

9th – 12th Grade

The Alchemy of Art
Why would a Renaissance artist have a dog’s tooth and a pig’s bladder in his workshop? This program will answer this and other questions as students discover the science behind the art and the evolution of an artist’s palette.
(Program length: 120 minutes)
Lesson Plans

Symbols of Power
What is power? Students will discuss the forms of power within the USA and across the globe. Students will consider how technological advancements and social media affect the balance of power in the 21st century, and investigate the various ways power is reflected and expressed through art.
(Program length: 120 minutes)
Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

For All Ages

Solar Art
Enjoy a hands-on learning when you stop by the SCANA/CMA solar exploration station. In the classroom, students will investigate the use of solar power and the effects of solar power on art. Students will create a design using the sun. This lesson will explain the importance of solar energy as it pertains to art.
Lesson Plans - Elementary School
Lesson Plans - Middle School
Lesson Plans - High School