Find your favorite

Create your own Masterpiece Moment presentation

Minimum Grade Level: 6th grade
Social and Emotional Learning Skills (from CASEL framework):
Self Awareness – Integrating personal and social identities; linking feelings, values, and thoughts; developing interested and a sense of purpose
Relationship Skills – Developing positive relationships; demonstrating cultural competence 
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (Writing):
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Harry Fonseca, Creation Story, 2000, acrylic paint on canvas, 525 x 194 x 542 cm (National Museum of the American Indian)

Harry Fonseca, Creation Story, 2000, acrylic paint on canvas, 525 x 194 x 542 cm (National Museum of the American Indian)

For the Masterpiece Moment series, museum directors were asked to select a favorite artwork from their collection as the focus for a video.

What makes something a favorite?

A favorite is always personal and often positive, like the way something makes you feel when you see it or how it reminds you of a personal connection or experience. It may also reveal what is important to you. 

Having favorite things is a reminder that you have choices. No one else gets to decide your favorites. And, your choices make you unique. Telling others about your favorite things is a great way to help them get to know you and learn more about your individual experience of the world. If you, in turn, learn about others’ favorite things, you all benefit. The result of such an exchange can be an expanded understanding and respect for the diversity within your class, school, or community. It may also lead to greater and more authentic engagement with our diverse, global society. 

In this activity, test these ideas by selecting your favorite artwork (if you don’t already know what it is!) and sharing it with others in the form of a Masterpiece Moment presentation.

Rufino Tamayo, The Somnambulist, 1954, oil on canvas, 100.33 x 80.01 cm (San Diego Museum of Art)

Rufino Tamayo, The Somnambulist, 1954, oil on canvas, 100.33 x 80.01 cm (San Diego Museum of Art)

1. Select a favorite artwork.

It can be hard to pick just one, because we like different things for different reasons. However, for this activity, decide on one artwork that you will focus on to make your own Masterpiece Moment presentation. If you don’t already have an artwork in mind, here are a few suggestions for how to find one you really like:

  • Watch a selection of the Masterpiece Moment videos—see if you can watch at least five of them. Pick the artwork from this group that you like the most.
  • Visit a local museum, either online or in person. Many museums have very large collections, and it can feel overwhelming to have to look at so much and then choose just one artwork. Instead of trying to see it all, pick a room or section in the museum and identify which artwork you like best from what’s on display in that space. If you are looking on the website, there are often filters to help narrow your search of the collection–you can search by things like material, artist, or culture. Additionally, museum websites often have pre-selected highlights or popular artworks that you can view as a group. Any of these strategies will give you a smaller set of artworks from which to choose your favorite. 
  • Look at artwork in your community, inside or outside the buildings around you, such as your school, the library, local parks, or even your own home. This way you can pick something that was probably made by a local artist, who might even be a friend, family member, or classmate! 

Remember, whichever approach you take, you get to decide what and why something is your favorite. It could be because of the way something looks or because of information you have learned about it. There is no one right way to find and decide on your favorite. 

2. Learn more about your favorite artwork.

Do some research and see what you can find out about the artist, subject, materials, date, and historical and cultural context of your favorite artwork. These tips on conducting research may be helpful.

Joan Mitchell, Low Water, 1969, oil on canvas, 284.48 x 200.66 cm (Carnegie Museum of Art)

Joan Mitchell, Low Water, 1969, oil on canvas, 284.48 x 200.66 cm (Carnegie Museum of Art)

3. Create your own Masterpiece Moment presentation.

Choose the format that works best for you, such as a video, podcast, slideshow, or written report. You can even write and perform a song about your favorite artwork. However you choose to do it, make sure to include information gathered from your research, at least one image of the artwork, and the reasons why it is your favorite. 

4. Share about your favorite artwork.

Take time to learn from your classmates by watching their presentations, asking questions, and reflecting on what you learned about each other and your class, school, community, or even the larger world through this activity.