Photo by Kristyn Ulanday
The ICA offers a range of programs, services, and materials to enhance the experience of individuals and groups of all ages. Check out tips for visiting in the video above, browse through on-site and online resources below, and email the Education Department with any additional questions.
Before your visit
ICA Teacher Resources provide K-12 educators with information on select exhibitions and artists, including discussion questions, curricular connections, and resources for further exploration.
For the 2023 Simone Leigh exhibition, educators can access a free digital folder of teaching resources including:
- A slide deck with 20+ images of Leigh’s work, studio practice, and historical reference images
- A video tour of Leigh’s 2022 Venice Biennale presentation
- Themes and discussion questions
- A video recording of the February 2023 Virtual Teacher Open House produced in partnership with Boston Public Schools
- Links to external resources to learn more about Leigh and to dive deeper into the content of her work
Pre-visit social narrative
Using photographs and text written in a first-person narrative, the ICA’s Pre-Visit Guide for K-12 Group Visits is a social narrative that reviews what to expect on the day of your class visit to the ICA.
K-12 classes visiting the ICA on a guided or self-guided basis have the option of scheduling a free, live virtual pre-visit orientation through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Led by ICA educators, pre-visits introduce exhibitions and review expectations for the visit through participatory exchanges.
Art Lab at home
Art activities designed in collaboration with artists and educators are available for download on the Bank of America Art Lab webpage. Activities that pair well with an ICA visit include My Day at the ICA, Design Your Own Art Wall, and Slow Art Day.
ICA-produced documentary videos allow visitors to hear directly from artists and see them at work in their studios. See them, among other video offerings, on our Video + Audio page — and find ICA Teen–led artist interviews on ICATeens.org.
Explore the ICA online with the ICA’s Digital Guide, available on Bloomberg Connects, the FREE arts and culture app. The ICA Digital Guide takes you behind the scenes at the ICA with exclusive multimedia perspectives from artists, curators, and more.
School + Teacher programs
Guided visits + studio workshops
During guided visits, K-12 groups explore how contemporary artists question and make sense of the world. Through thoughtfully crafted gallery lessons that offer opportunities for reflection, close looking, and critical thinking, K-12 guided visits nurture student agency, honor student curiosity, and embrace the diversity of thought and experience that students bring to the ICA. Gallery Teachers for K-12 Groups develop and teach thematic, multimodal gallery lessons based on ICA exhibitions that incorporate guided discussion and activities. K-12 groups may opt to augment their Guided Visit with a hands-on art-making workshop in the ICA’s Bank of America Art Lab.
A multidisciplinary arts engagement program for 7th–12th grade students, WallTalk encourages close observation, open discussion, and individual connections to contemporary art through visual art, writing, and performance. Working closely with teaching artists, students participate in multiple museum and classroom visits over the course of a school year in which they observe, question, interpret, and respond creatively and critically to the art of our time.
The WallTalk Reading Jam brings together participants from multiple schools, creating an opportunity to share their work with their peers. The event provides students a public forum and live audience to exercise their public speaking and presentation abilities.
Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion Initiative
The ICA plays a role in Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion, a citywide, public-private partnership to expand and ensure equitable, quality arts instruction for all students. Partnering with specific BPS high schools, the ICA provides teens with semester-long and school-year-long opportunities to gain arts experience and simultaneously earn their required arts credit in order to graduate high school.
Poss Family Mediatheque
The Poss Family Mediatheque is the ICA’s resource room with a view. Touch-screen computers offer video and other digital resources on art and artists, behind-the-scenes studio visits and artistic processes, and opportunities to hear the artist’s voice. Interactive installations in the upper level invite visitors to respond to, consider, and engage with ideas in ICA exhibitions, and include tactile materials, writing prompts, and the like.
Members of the ICA’s Education Department, in-gallery Visitor Assistants (VAs) are responsible not only for the safety of the artwork, but also for enhancing the visitor’s experience. VAs empower visitors to interpret art on view, provide visitors with additional context on art, and introduce close-looking techniques in the galleries. Since Visitor Assistants are given the opportunity to spend several months with the exhibitions on view, they share their unique perspectives every Thursday during Pop-Up Talks—15-minute interactive public conversations with visitors.
The Education Department works closely with ICA curators on all gallery texts—labels, panels, exhibition introductions, etc.—to maximize accessibility.
ICA gallery games are designed for visitors of all ages to explore the museum through a unique and playful lens. Different cards invite visitors to embody different identities, such as “The Thinker” or “The Explorer,” to engage creatively in the museum and with contemporary works of art. Cards are available in both English and Spanish.