VMFA on-site teacher workshops provide innovative ideas and activities for interdisciplinary learning—and resource packets with background information, lesson plan concepts, vocabulary, and CDs of images. A boxed lunch or dinner is also provided. Pre-registration is required. Workshops are suitable for recertification points.

Teacher Programs

Statewide Teacher Workshops

Teacher Programs & Workshops at VMFA


Teacher Workshop: Re-framing the Narrative: Art from the African American South

Thu, Sep 19, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

In 2018, VMFA acquired 34 artworks from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, an organization "dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the contributions of artists from the African American South." This acquisition resulted in the exhibition Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art from the African American South, which seeks to present these artists and their art in a new, and different, light. Discover how this art expands the narrative around modern and contemporary art and touches on themes such as social justice, familial tradition, and communal storytelling. Explore the exhibition and participate in an art-making activity that highlights the multimedia approach of many of the artists featured.

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: Consider the Source: Humanity, Habitat, and Creativity

Thu, Nov 14, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

Artists across all times and places take advantage of local materials and resources to create their works of art. At the same time, local habitats influence and inspire artistic decisions. This workshop offers resources and strategies for fostering creative and reflective thinking about art and the natural world. Participants will examine how art can be used to learn about the development of agriculture, colonization and global expansion, industrialization, and urbanization. This session is designed for Art, Science, and History teachers, and Librarians/Resource Specialists (grades 4 and above).

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: Your Eyes. Their Art. Our Story.

Thu, Dec 5, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

What do you see? What did the artist see? What do others see? How can exploring works of art promote equity and diversity in the classroom? Art often evokes conversations about inclusion, empathy—and what it means to be a global citizen. By examining works of art through multiple viewpoints based on individual, cultural, and/or societal contexts, students will discover strategies for uncovering many possible interpretations of each work. Participants in this workshop will practice and discuss unique ways to incorporate VMFA’s vast collections into the classroom by focusing on unifying themes and helping students understand the value of “walking in someone else’s shoes.”

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: Meet Up for Art 1

Thu, Dec 7, 10 am–3 pm | Pauley Center, Studio B

Do you EVER have enough time to spend creating your own artwork? Let’s get together for these Meet Up For Art sessions to make art and share ideas about TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) in our classrooms. Any teacher who makes art is invited to register for this opportunity at VMFA. The museum will provide studio space and a variety of materials and resources. Come with a few concepts or visions that you would like to express through art-making. Spend most of the day creating art, sharing your expertise, and networking with your peers. We’ll spend the final half hour of the day sharing discoveries and insights about choice-based creativity in learning environments. The museum will provide coffee, tea, and water throughout the day, but bring your own bag lunch or pick up a lunch in the Best Café.

Free; registration required.


Teacher Workshop: Unlikely Pairings: Conversations Through Art

Thu, Jan 16, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

This is the true story of various works of art from across time and place, picked to live in a museum, side by side. Find out what happens, when collections stop being polite and start getting real. (If you don’t get this pop culture reference, google “Real World” and then read on.) 

What would happen if museums placed works of art from different times and places side by side instead of in traditional chronological or thematic galleries? What surprising stories would we overhear if these works could come to life? In this workshop, designed primarily for secondary Art, English and History teachers, participants will explore strategies for helping students find connections between seemingly unrelated works of art in the VMFA collection. Empower your students to use analysis and contextualization to enhance their understanding of diverse perspectives as they collaborate with peers to create conversations between works of art.

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: REIMAGINE Monuments

Thu, Jan 30, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

How do we memorialize people or events in a monumental way? Kehinde Wiley's most recent work, Rumors of War, examines the dialogue between history and the role of monumental imagery. In this workshop, participants will explore the origins of monuments across time and cultures, using various works from VMFA's collections to challenge how we think about monuments. While Monument Avenue offers a local context for discussing the debate around Confederate monuments, the framework presented in this session can be used to examine a monument near you! (This workshop content is adaptable to many grade levels and disciplines.)

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: Louis Draper: African American Visions and Voices

Thu, Feb 6, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

In 1963, a group of African American photographers banded together to found Kamoinge, an African American photographic collective. Kamoinge means ‘a group of people working together’ in the Gikuyu language of Kenya. Kamoinge members created new platforms for showing their work—AND took control of the context in which the work appeared. Louis Draper, a native Richmonder and one of the founders of Kamoinge, explained, “This was at the height of civil unrest . . . and a year before massive civil resistance in Harlem . . .This was our story to tell and we set out to create the kind of images that spoke of the truth we’d witnessed and that countered the untruths we’d all seen in mainline publications.” This workshop includes a visit to the VMFA exhibition Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop, on view at VMFA from February 1 through June 14, 2020.

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: Fishing for Facts: Student-driven Research Projects

Thu, Mar 5, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

Have you ever felt the siren call of curiosity? Have you spent hours searching for elusive information on the internet? This workshop introduces strategies for conveying the potential excitement of research to your students. Build their curiosity by presenting works of art as visual clues for solving intriguing mysteries. Where could they find answers to their questions? How could they organize and present the solutions they uncover in new and interesting ways? Don’t miss this interactive workshop designed for upper level English, History, and IB teachers.

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: Meet Up for Art 2

Thu, Mar 7, 10 am–3 pm | Pauley Center, Studio B

Do you EVER have enough time to spend creating your own artwork? Let’s get together for these Meet Up For Art sessions to make art and share ideas about TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) in our classrooms. Any teacher who makes art is invited to register for this opportunity at VMFA. The museum will provide studio space and a variety of materials and resources. Come with a few concepts or visions that you would like to express through art-making. Spend most of the day creating art, sharing your expertise, and networking with your peers. We’ll spend the final half hour of the day sharing discoveries and insights about choice-based creativity in learning environments. The museum will provide coffee, tea, and water throughout the day, but bring your own bag lunch or pick up a lunch in the Best Café.

Free; registration required.


Teacher Workshop: Get into Shape

Thu, Mar 21, 10 am–3 pm | Pauley Center, Historic Parlor

In this STEAM-inspired workshop, search works of art in the VMFA galleries looking for geometric shapes. Use your discoveries to create a 2-D work of art. Then leave “flat land” and experiment with folded shapes. Finally, put it all together by engineering a 3-D structure. Recommended for grade levels K-3.

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: From Etching to Aquatint: A Printmaking Renaissance

Thu, Apr 23, 4:30–7 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

If you teach any form of printmaking, this workshop is for you! Go behind the scenes with Dr. Colleen Yarger to explore the techniques of etching, drypoint, soft-ground etching, lithography, mezzotint, and aquatint using examples from the VMFA collection. Many of these printmaking processes had all but disappeared by the late 1800s, when Frank Short, a civil engineer working in London, fell under a printmaking spell. He mastered all six of these types of printmaking—and inspired an English printmaking renaissance. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the work of Sir Frank Short, James McNeill Whistler, J.M. W. Turner, and more!

$20 (VMFA members $18)


Teacher Workshop: Meet Up for Art 3

Sat, Apr 25, 10 am–3 pm | Pauley Center, Studio B

Do you EVER have enough time to spend creating your own artwork? Let’s get together for these Meet Up For Art sessions to make art and share ideas about TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) in our classrooms. Any teacher who makes art is invited to register for this opportunity at VMFA. The museum will provide studio space and a variety of materials and resources. Come with a few concepts or visions that you would like to express through art-making. Spend most of the day creating art, sharing your expertise, and networking with your peers. We’ll spend the final half hour of the day sharing discoveries and insights about choice-based creativity in learning environments. The museum will provide coffee, tea, and water throughout the day, but bring your own bag lunch or pick up a lunch in the Best Café.

Free; registration required.


Teacher Workshop: Emergent Learning & Cross Curricular Connection: Early Childhood–Grade 1 Educators

Thu, May 7, 6:30–8 pm | Main Building, Conference Room 1

This workshop focuses on responsive teaching practices and explores how interest-driven learning can promote inquiry in all areas of development. Discover how to be intentional as you introduce concepts and facilitate learning, while still encouraging the curiosity of children to guide the focus of studies. Gain a better understanding of how emergent curriculum can invigorate lessons in literacy, mathematics, science, music and movement experiences, and more.

$20 (VMFA members $18)