Guiding Principles

EMPATHIZE: Understand how another person feels and thinks.

Guiding Questions

Ask these suggested guiding questions to use the strategy EMPATHIZE:

  • Imagine stepping inside this artwork:
    • How do you think the person is feeling?
    • What mood is the artist conveying? 
    • Why has the artist depicted the artwork in this way? 
  • How is your response to the artwork similar to or different from someone else’s response?

Suggested Activities

Blind Contour Drawings

  1. Draw a portrait of your partner, following these rules:
    • You cannot look at your paper.
    • You must only look at your partner.
    • Never pick up your pen or pencil. 
  2. Reflect:
    • What did you learn about your partner from drawing them?
    • How did you empathize with your partner (both as the artist and the subject)? 
    • How did the imperfections of the line drawing enhance the image?

Drawing in Pairs

  • Group students in pairs, and have them sit back to back (this can also be done virtually by having the students not show each other their images).
  • Give one student an artwork reproduction and one student drawing materials. Direct the student holding the reproduction to describe the artwork, while the other student tries to draw the artwork based on the student’s descriptions.
  • Have students switch roles. Reflect on the experience.

Moving Around

  • Have the group look closely at a work of art and talk about what they see.
  • Then have each person switch places with another person in the class. Ask what they notice from their new position that they didn’t see before.
  • Now, move up close. What do they see?
  • Now, move far away. What do they see?
  • How does changing positions change their perspective in looking at the work of art?

Speech Bubbles

  • Pick a work of art with people in it. Use speech bubbles to have students write what people in works of art might be thinking, saying, or feeling.
  • Challenge! Look at an abstract piece. Imagine what the shapes might say to each other. 

Step Inside/5 Senses

  • Imagine you are inside a work of art. Ask students what they would see, hear, smell, touch/feel, and taste.