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 18,000 youths.

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. 

Book Your Tour

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 fill out this form or contact us at 803-343-2163 or at least three weeks in advance. 

School Programs for 2018 - 2019 School Year

Tours will be available beginning on August 20, 2018.

If you would like any further information about any of the tours or to preview the galleries, please contact us at 803-343-2163.

Preschool – Kindergarten Programs

Sense-ational Art
Pre-Visit Guide
In this tour we’ll be using our senses to make discoveries about the art we see and the world around us. Join us as we explore texture, sound, and smell throughout the galleries and create multimedia masterpieces in the studios.

Animal Nature
Pre-Visit Guide
Come with us on an animal safari! We’ll be on the lookout for creatures of all kinds and learning about the natural environments they inhabit. In the studios we’ll make our own artful animals and habitats.

1st – 3rd Grade Programs

Rock, Paper, Silver
Pre-Visit Guide
In this tour we’ll explore natural resources and how they make up the materials used in works of art. We’ll use scientific and mathematical skills to discuss three-dimensional works of art from sculpture to architecture. In the studios we’ll create our own 3D creations.

Show Me a Story
Pre-Visit Guide
Art can tell all sorts of stories. Join us in the galleries to unravel these tales, discovering stories about famous figures and everyday events. Along the way we’ll explore ways artists use shape, color, and other elements of art to create new worlds before creating our own in the studios.

4th – 5th Grade Programs

How Art Works
Pre-Visit Guide
From a hammer and chisel to a well-oiled machine, art can be created with all sorts of things. In the studios we’ll learn the ins and outs of how art is made and the impact that art has in society.

Visions of the United States
Pre-Visit Guide
American life has been shaped by so many forces, from Native American tribes and African cultures to European fashions and popular culture. In the galleries we will discuss how art reflects American values and changing ways of life. In the studios students will create their own interpretation of Americana.

6th – 8th Grade Programs

Ways of Life
Pre-Visit Guide
Art doesn’t just tell us about the artist’s own ideas; it can tell us about what life is like in a certain time and place. In this tour we’ll explore art spanning from ancient Mesopotamia to the modern-day United States as we discuss how art shapes our understanding of cultures around the world.

All Around Our State
Pre-Visit Guide
While art can tell us about cultures around the world, it can also give vital information about our own region. In this tour we’ll span centuries of South Carolina history and culture, from one of the first Colonial artists to Native American art all the way up to the 21st century. In the studios we’ll explore how art and the written word intersect to inform historical understanding by creating our own periodicals.

9th – 12th Grade Programs

Making a Modern World
Pre-Visit Guide
Being modern has meant different things in different eras. In this tour we’ll explore the notion of modernity through both history and art, from the Renaissance up to the present day. In the studios we’ll explore modernity and what it means in our daily lives through our own creations.

Balance of Power
Pre-Visit Guide
Art is one of many ways people have demonstrated prestige and privilege over time. In the galleries we’ll examine figures and symbols in works of art from the powerful to the powerless, discussing who is and is not being depicted.

Lesson Plans

For All Ages

Solar Art
Can't make it to the CMA? 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

Matisse: Jazz & Poetry on Paper
Elementary School Pre-Visit Lesson
Elementary School Post-Visit Lesson
Middle and High School Pre-Visit Lesson
Middle and High School Post-Visit Lesson