This week we have something special in store— an online “trip” to the San Diego Museum of Art! The San Diego Museum of Art is an important cultural institution in Balboa Park–just a short drive from McKinley! Opened in 1926, it was originally called the The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego—nearly a hundred years ago! In 1978 they officially changed the name to the San Diego Museum of Art. As you can probably guess, the San Diego Museum of Art has a LOT of art in it— much of it by extremely famous and important artists! But there is also a lot of art and objects from long ago—made by craftsman and artists that never became famous, but their contributions to culture are just as important and beautiful to look at.

Now, we may not be able to visit the museum in person right now, but the San Diego Museum of Art has graciously “opened” its online galleries to view in 3D on their app available here on the Apple Store or Google Play

You can browse photos of their collections here:

We are going to check out their South and Southeast Asia art collection, and try to make a project inspired by it.

From the San Diego Museum of Art:

Exchange of the babies, ca. 1600–1625,  India
Colonel James Tod and Guru Gyanchandra riding elephants near Udaipur, October 1822, India

Animals play a very important role in Indian culture and mythology. Animals like the peacock 🦚 and the lion 🦁, which often appear in imperial paintings, are symbols of royalty. Mighty elephants 🐘 have been used for battle and processions, horses 🐴 for transportation and warfare, and falcons 🦅 and dogs 🐕 for hunting birds, antelope, boards and other animals. If we look closely, we can find creatures of all shapes and sizes in works of art from India, from real species to imaginary beasts from Hindu mythology. ⠀

Did you know? Shadow puppet theatre likely originated in Central Asia-China or India in the first millennium BCE. 

Try making your own imaginary creature or shadow puppets by combining features from real animals with your own imagination.⠀

Take a tour through our South and Southeast Asia art collection, search and create a list of all found creatures.

Create slips of paper with the individual animals, draw a few randomly from the pile, and combine to create your own imaginary creature.

On heavy paper or a cereal box, draw out the shape of your creatures, cut out with scissors ✂, and mount with tape to a pencil ✏ or stick to convert to shadow puppet.

With a light source facing a wall (or flashlight on a smartphone), create a fun night-time performance of imaginative scenes using your shadow puppets.⠀


Which picture(s) did you like best from your virtual field trip? Have you been to the San Diego Museum of Art in person before? Or any other museums? If you had to choose a project you worked on with me at school this year to include into an art museum, which would you pick?


My weekly lessons will be on hiatus as I work on a special project that I hope to share with you soon! In the mean time, keep making art and feel free to share with me your clever creations:

All the best,

Ms. Smith