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Talking with Kids about Their Art

When looking at or making art with children at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, using questions is a core teaching approach. In response to our inquiries, children increase their ability to think critically about their experiences.

Here are some questions we regularly use with young artists in the museum’s studios. These questions are specially designed to encourage and, at times, challenge the artist’s thinking. A focus on process empowers students to expand their interests and abilities and can foster further curiosity and experimentation.

The list below includes frequently exhibited behaviors from children ages 6–11, and questions that teaching artists ask to focus students on the creative process.

“I’m Not an Artist”: The Reticent Child

“I’m Done”: The Speed Racer

“I Can’t Do It”: The Frustrated Child

“I Need to Start Over”: The Perfectionist Child

“Do It for Me”: The Unconfident Child

“I Am an Artist”: The Confident Child


The work is not over when the artwork is complete! Discussing the experience of making artwork during and after art making cements discoveries and learning for the next project.