Southampton City Art Gallery Education & Learning

Southampton City Art Gallery is an outstanding resource, housing one of the finest collections of art in the south of England. As well as changing collection displays we are proud to host temporary exhibitions of work by contemporary artists and photographers.

We are home to an inspiring collection of over 3,800 works of art from the Renaissance to the present day featuring works by great artists such as: J.M.W. Turner, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Eileen Agar, L.S. Lowry, Bridget Riley, Helen Chadwick, Chris Ofili and Rachel Whiteread among many others.

There are plenty of opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to enrich their exploration of art. From practical workshops, guided sessions in the Gallery to project based work, there’s a wealth of ways to engage with the collection and get the best out of your visit.

Our educational activities are led by a team of passionate artist educators, helping pupils to respond to genuine artworks inspiring the artists within.

The Art Gallery’s collection can be used as a learning resource to support not only arts based subjects, but also the delivery of English, History, Religious Studies and other subjects. Our Schools Programme uses creativity to support and achieve the aims of many curriculum topics and facilitates cross-curricular projects.

Here is what Rebecca Mayman, a teacher from from William Gilpin Primary School, had to say about a recent visit:

“That art gallery is an undiscovered gem .. Beautiful building and a really varied and interesting selection of art work. The Greek Mythology workshop was really interesting, the oral re-telling of Perseus was vivid and well researched and it was really useful for the children to see how an artist experiments & … gives the children a rare glimpse into the creative process. My class loved the wire workshop as we haven't worked in that media before & the teacher was enthusiastic & friendly. I will definitely keep an eye on events & hope to be back soon.”

For Early Years through to Adult Education groups the Art Gallery offers…

Discovery Sessions
Capture their imagination and bring the exhibitions to life during one of our interactive discovery sessions which take place in the Art Gallery, encouraging investigation and discussion. Let our experienced guides use their knowledge to captivate your group and get them talking about the exciting things they see. Popular themes include: My first Gallery Visit, Art Detectives (finding out how artworks are made), Greek Mythology, Colour Shape and Pattern and Differences and Similarities.
Hands-on workshops are a fabulous way to enhance your Gallery visit, developing key skills and techniques which can be linked directly with exhibitions on display, art masters or schemes of work.
Popular themes and processes include: colour, shape and pattern, Pop Art, portraits, Greek mythology, printing, painting, wire sculpture or clay.
Art on Wheels
Art on Wheels is an exciting initiative where Southampton City Art Gallery comes to your school! Inspiring works of art have been handpicked from our outstanding collection including a Picasso print and paintings and drawings by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Paul Nash and Southampton born Eric Meadus among others.
Select an artwork from our image gallery and choose a medium from wire, printing, drawing or collage. We will bring the artwork to your classroom with a professional artist and an assistant who will lead a discussion and a practical workshop inspired by the artwork you have chosen. Available for Key Stage 1 – 5. Workshops last for 1.5 hours (including a talk and a practical activity) and we can cater for up to 3 classes of up to 33 pupils in a day.
SEN groups 

Our educational activities can be tailored and extended to meet the needs of students with behavioural, physical, cognitive or sensory difficulties or disabilities. Sessions can include a series of practical and gallery-based activities, students will be made to feel comfortable, enthused and included.
Please call us to discuss your individual group needs and we will create engaging and stimulating sessions that are suitable and affordable.
Higher and Further Education Groups

Formal Learning activities are also available for Sixth Form and University Students encouraging independent learning and developing research skills. We can focus on special exhibitions, such as the British Art Show or take a walk through Art History looking at Art Movements represented in the Gallery’s Collection.

We would also suggest students take advantage of our public events programme which includes: Art History Study Days and Saturday Life Drawing. More information on our public events can be found here:
Self-guided visits
We’d love to hear from you if you’re thinking about a self-led visit too. Entry to the Art Gallery and its temporary exhibitions is free of charge, but it’s helpful for us to know when you intend to visit.
Continuing Professional Development and INSET
As well as catering for your pupils, Southampton City Art Gallery offers CPD training and INSET opportunities for teachers and art facilitators. For more information download our Arts and Heritage Education Guide
To book 
If you’re looking to arrange a visit to Southampton City Art Gallery please contact our bookings officer on 023 8083 2810 or alternatively email and a member of the learning team will get back to you shortly.
Please provide the following information if you wish to book a visit:

  • 1st/2nd/3rd choice of dates 
  • Year group and number of classes 
  • Number of students and adults 
  • Exhibitions you would like to visit and activities you would like to book 
  • Any access or special requirements