Inside: A collection of posts and resources with artworks by women artists, including art projects, book suggestions, and more to teach lessons about famous women artists.
Art historians have traditionally focused on artworks made by white men. Teaching art with this limited focus robs students of the chance to learn about themselves and the experiences of others through art. Students of all genders, races, and backgrounds deserve to see art from artists they can relate to. Expanding art lessons beyond the traditional masterpieces opens students up to the greater possibilities of art and can greatly inspire their own works.
Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the contributions of women and discuss their evolving place in society. These lessons should not be kept solely in the history classroom. Looking at art helps students develop empathy, flex thinking and observation skills, connect with history, get in touch with their creative side, and savor the human spirit. Women’s History Month offers art teachers the perfect opportunity to feature women artists and artworks about feminism.
To support art teachers and ensure that they have a variety of artworks to choose from, this post is a collection of famous women artists lessons, all of which you’ll find links to below.
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Free Printable Art Worksheets
The more time students spend looking at art, the easier it is for them to explore the narratives, techniques, and meanings behind the artworks. Take learning to a deeper level with a ready-to-go art lessons from the Art Appreciation Worksheet Bundle.
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. Pick one of the artworks by women below
2. Print one of the Art Appreciation Worksheets
3. Watch with joy as your students connect with and interpret art
Art Appreciation Worksheets
In this free bundle of art worksheets, you receive six ready-to-use art worksheets with looking activities designed to work with almost any work of art.
Famous Women Artists Lessons
This list of famous women artists lessons is of course not a full representation of all women artists. These are the artists we have written about to date on Art Class Curator. We will update this post as we create new resources!
Betye Saar is an American artist known for her assemblage and collage artworks.
Betye Saar Art Lesson
Saar uses stereotypical and potentially-offensive material to make social commentary, which makes her work an excellent way to teach kids about the world, acceptance, and empathy. In this lesson, students discuss an assemblage Saar created around a depiction of Aunt Jemima and watch a video of the artist discussing the work. This Betye Saar Art Lesson also includes several project ideas and extensions.
Lesson: The Liberation of Aunt Jemima
Monica Lozano is a Mexican-American photographer who was born in El Paso, Texas and raised across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Her work has been featured in American Photo Magazine and shw was chosen as one of Columbia Journalism Review’s “20 Women to Watch” list. Lozano currently lives on the border of Mexico and the United States, teaching young students at different universities about photography and art as a way to transcend borders.
Monica Lozano Art Lesson
Delve into Lozano’s Juarez Photo Series where she photographed citizens of Juarez wearing Day of the Dead masks with learning activities and discussion questions.
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Augusta Savage was an American sculptor and prominent member of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City. She opened her own studio and became an influential teacher.
Augusta Savage Art Lesson
There have been few sculptors who can capture emotion in a subject like Augusta Savage. In this Augusta Savage Art Lesson, students learn about her life, discuss some of her work, and read In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor.
Lesson: The Art of Augusta Savage
Ed Johnetta Miller
Ed Johnetta Miller is is a renowned American fiber artist, quilter, and teacher who regularly works within her community. Her work is often inspired by color, patterns, and jazz music.
Ed Johnetta Miller Art Lesson
One of Miller’s community art projects was an improvisational quilt completed with the children and families of Yale New Haven’s Children’s Hospital.
Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist. Her photograph titled Migrant Motherhas become an icon of her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration. Lange’s photographs brought the consequences of the Great Depression to light and put a human face on the suffering of the time.
Dorothea Lange Art Lesson
Lange’s work has been featured on Art Class Curator twice. A lesson based on Migrant Mother was a part of the Art Around the World series. Her work was also paired with one of our free downloads to explore empathy in art with a photography analysis activity.
Artwork of the Week Lesson: Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother
This is a complete lesson with discussion questions, talking points, activities, and project ideas for Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother.
Faith Ringgold is an award-winning American painter, writer, sculptor, and performance artist. She is best known for her narrative quilts.
Faith Ringgold Art Lesson
Ringgold started out as a painter and focused much of her art on telling the stories of the Civil Rights Movement and her experiences growing up in Harlem. On a trip to Europe in 1972, Ringgold experiences some Nepali artworks that used fabrics around the border. This inspired her to start making quilt paintings, and those are the artworks she’s become best known for. In this Faith Ringgold Art Lesson, students dive into Ringgold’s The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles and imagine what it would be like to be the fictional woman featured in the artwork. To extend the lesson, students complete a portrait project and read Dinner at Aunt Connie’s House or one of Ringgold’s other children’s books.
Hanaa Malallah is an Iraqi artist and educator who currently lives in London. She is known for creating the Ruins Technique in which found objects are incorporated into artworks.
Hanaa Malallah Art Lesson
Featuring Malallah’s introspective artwork entitled Barzakh (Obstacle), this lesson features discussion questions and learning activities.
Käthe Kollwitz was a German artist who worked with paint, printmaking, and sculpture. Her most famous artworks depicted the effects of poverty, hunger, and war on the working class.
Käthe Kollwitz Art Lesson
Kollwitz’s art is emotional and deep. There are three types of lessons you can take into your classroom with her work: using her art to support lessons on the World Wars, discussing her work to teach about expression in art, and using her work among others to teach about different elements of art and principles of design.
Lesson: The Art of Käthe Kollwitz
Frida Kahlo is perhaps the most famous female artist of all time. Her stunning self-portraits and nature inspired works are known throughout the world. Kahlo’s surrealist works and political leanings have made her an icon for Chicanos, feminists, and within the LGBTQ community.
Frida Kahlo Art Lesson
Many of Kahlo’s works are perfect to share with students of all ages. They are rich with details and possible interpretations. Her work has been featured as a part of the Art Around the World series, and one of her most famous works, The Two Fridas, inspired my favorite lesson.
Mary Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker who lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and worked alongside other Impressionists. She is best known for her works featuring the bonds between mothers and children.
Mary Cassatt Art Lesson
Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the best known female artists of our time. Known for her stunning landscapes and flowers, she has been called the “mother of American modernism”.
Georgia O’Keeffe Art Lesson
Explore Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses by Georgia O’Keeffe with your students and have them create a work of art using O’Keeffe’s work as inspiration.
Artwork of the Week Lesson: Audrey Flack, Marilyn
This is a full lesson on Marilyn by Audrey Flack. Students will engage with this artwork using a variety of discussion topics, a compare and contrast activity to explore vanitas paintings, and more!
Art Projects Inspired by Famous Women Artists
The internet outside of Art Class Curator has lots of great art lessons inspired by famous women artists! Check out these links.
- Mary Edmonia Lewis Lesson by — For grades 6 and 12, students learn the basics of sculpture and create a bust of the prominent civil rights leader.
- Historical Genre Drawing Silhouettes by Incredible @rt Department — Inspired by Kara Walker’s silhouettes, middle to high school students research a historical event and create an silhouettes based on the subject and insert their likeness into the work.
- O’Keeffe Flowers (Get Kids to Draw BIG!) by The Art of Education – For grades 3 through 5, students create their own O’Keeffe inspired flowers.
- Framed Art Sculptures Inspired by Louise Nevelson by Scribble Doodle and Draw – Using Nevelson’s monochromatic abstract expressionist sculptures as inspiration, students create their own sculptures using found/recycled objects.
- Frida Kahlo Inspired Self-Portraits for Kids by Kids Activities Woo! – Inspired by Mexican culture and Kahlo’s folk art style often mixed realism with fantasy, students create their own self-portraits.
- Images of Children in Dorthea Lange’s Photographs by Getty Photos – Elementary students study how Dorothea Lange tells stories related to children. They practice telling their own written and visual stories in response to Dorothea Lange’s images.
- Picturing a Story: Photo Essay about a Community, Event or Issue by Getty Photos – For middle or high school. Students consider the function of social-documentary photography. They research Dorothea Lange’s documentary projects, and create their own photo essay about a subject of interest to them.
Children’s Books about Women Artists
This collection of highly rated children’s books about women artists are a great way to share information about the lives of black artists with elementary students. Each book is marked with recommended student ages and a link to purchase the book.
Famous Women Artists Biographies
Integrate historical and cultural knowledge into your women artist art lessons with in-depth biographies and short videos about famous women artists.
- Augusta Savage
- Frida Kahlo
- Edmonia Lewis
- Georgia O’Keeffe
- Lee Krasner
- Faith Ringgold
- Artemisia Gentileschi
- Lorna Simpson / Who is Lorna Simpson?
- Grandma Moses
- Betye Saar
- Berthe Morisot
- Gwendolyn Bennett
- Mary Cassatt
- Kara Walker
Artworks by Women Artists from Around the World
From American artists to artworks by female artists from around the world, these pieces will get your students talking and connected to art.
- The Liberation of Aunt Jemima
- Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses
- The Art of Augusta Savage
- Faith Ringgold’s Celebration of African American Women
- Discrimination is Not Protection by Lorna Simpson
- Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother
- The Empathetic Art of Dorothea Lange
- The Artworks of Mary Cassatt
- After the Death of the Child
Women Artists from Around the World
- Monica Lozano’s Juarez Series
- Hannaa Malallah’s Barzakh (Obstacle)
- The Art of Käthe Kollwitz
- Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas
- The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego, and Señor Xólotl by Frida Kahlo
- Young Woman Drawing by Marie Denise Villers
- The Beach by Beatriz Milhazes
Artwork of the Week Lesson: Yayoi Kusama, My Heart is Dancing Into the Universe
This is a full lesson on My Heart is Dancing Into the Universe by Yayoi Kusama. Students will explore and connect with this artwork through discussion, comparing and contrasting a variety of the artist’s Infinity Room artworks, and more!
More Art Lessons about Famous Women Artists
This post covers 5 incredible women artists of color: Augusta Savage, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Carmen Lomas Garza, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, and Yayoi Kusama. Each entry has images of the artwork or a video of the artist talking about her work, plus activity suggestions and lesson ideas for each artist.
Students love this art lesson where they compare two Baroque paintings of Judith and Holofernes and try to deduce which was made by a man and which was painted by a woman.
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