York Art Gallery Workshops for School Children

York Art Gallery Workshops

York Art Gallery offers a fantastic collection of British and European art as well as the Centre of Ceramic Art. Visitors can experience everything from Renaissance masterpieces to specially commissioned contemporary works, with a dedicated Studio space for learning activities.


Primary School Workshop Programme

Workshops have been created in consultation with teachers and are based on the National Curriculum.

Click here to download details of the National Curriculum links.

Many of our workshops include a practical art, craft or role play activity which can contribute towards the requirements of:

Part A: participation in a range of arts activities.

Your visit can also contribute towards:

Part B: knowledge (or exploration) of the work of artists (and arts organisations.)

Please let us know when you book if you would like more detailed information.

We offer interactive and informative workshops for Early Years Foundation Stage (FS), Key Stage One and Key Stage Two pupils.

Each workshop is for a maximum of 30 pupils, unless otherwise stated. Each workshop has its own risk assessment which can be downloaded in PDF form.

We can also support your delivery of the Arts Award – click here to find out more.


To book a visit, please click here to complete a booking form and email it to groupbookings@ymt.org.uk.

You can contact our Group Bookings department on 01904 687633 for further information (Monday – Friday).



Prices depend on the length of the workshop, there is no minimum number of pupils required. Workshops are for a maximum of 30 pupils.

1 hour workshop – £60
1 hour 30 minutes workshop – £70
2 hour workshop – £80 (prices vary during Special Weeks, see below)

Actor Led workshops – prices vary.

We require a minimum of two full working days’ notice of cancellations for sessions not to be charged in full.

If you are running late on the day we ask that you call 01904 687633 to let us know your expected arrival time and if
your group are 30 minutes late for your booked workshop/s you will be charged £30.00 (per 30 minutes) to cover our costs.



Mastery of Techniques: Masterstrokes (KS1 & KS2) 1 hour 30 minutes

Paint like an artist! Pupils will explore the different techniques used by artists in the artworks on display in the Gallery. Employing some of the ‘tricks’ used by artists, pupils will create their own paintings in the style of the artists whose work they have seen. On booking choose to focus on either:

  • Portraits and compare the work of William Etty and Gwen John, or
  • Landscapes and compare the work of LS Lowry and Nathaniel Drake

Perfect Partner – The Draw Tour tour or Encountering Lowry performance


Encountering Lowry (KS2) 30 minutes for up to 15 pupils – £60
Two 30 minutes sessions for up to 30 pupils – £80

Meet LS Lowry the artist and learn about his life and work, including his painting of Clifford’s Tower which was completed in 1953.  Lowry will be played by actor Chris Cade.

Perfect Partner – Masterstrokes Landscapes workshop


Art Through the Ages: Iron Age Animal Art (KS2) 1 hour

Pupils will examine genuine museum artefacts to see how Iron Age people copied the images of horses they saw on Greek coins to create their own, stylised versions. Out in the gallery, pupils will look for animals in the displays and then draw one of them in a simple style echoing the art of the Iron Age. Pupils will adapt and emboss their stylised designs onto metallic card, mimicking decorative metalwork.

Perfect Partner – Prehistoric Progress workshop at the Yorkshire Museum


The Greek Art of Philosophy (KS2) 1 hour

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle

This time travelling workshop introduces pupils to Ancient Greek Philosophy and applies critical thinking to Victorian and Modern art to decide: Should Art Be Beautiful? Pupils take part in a democratic process allowing them to understand how Ancient Greek concepts still influence us today. As citizens of Athens, pupils will take on the role of philosophers to consider ‘What is beauty?’ and ‘What is Art?’ using the artworks on display and the feelings they inspire to develop their ideas.

In groups they will create definitions for art and beauty before debating the question ‘Should Art be Beautiful?’  The workshop facilitator, in the role of a Greek philosopher, will guide pupils through the process of thinking critically, refining their thoughts and discussing the pros and cons of an argument. Towards the end of the session a democratic vote in the style of the Ancient Greeks – by placing a pebble into one of two urns – will decide the outcome.

Perfect Partner – The Ancient Greeks workshop at the Yorkshire Museum


Sensory Art: Sensing the Gardens (KS1 & KS2) 1 hour 30 minutes

Take a tour of York Museum Gardens using all your senses and discover the sounds, smells and textures all around. Pupils will record their tour on a sensory map and then paint a watercolour of their favourite flower or part of the garden. Please come prepared for wet weather.

Photographs of the gardens during different seasons will allow pupils to consider how the gardens change. KS2 groups will also use historic photographs to consider how the gardens have changed over time.

This workshop can be adapted for SEN groups.


Gallery Tours

The Draw Tour (KS1 & KS2) 45 minutes Groups of 30 – £45

Pupils will use charcoal, chalks and brushes to take a line for a walk around the gallery. The tour also includes hunting for shapes in the paintings and drawing a ‘shape picture’.


Click here for information on booking your visit.