Best Movies to Show in the Art Room


Movies might seem like a copout for parents and school administrators, but it can also be a powerful teaching mechanism. Numerous films help to bring art concepts to life, especially for the K-12 demographic.

If you teach art classes and want to try something new in the classroom, then these are the best movies to consider showing. Remember to preview a film in its entirety before showing it to students so that you can avoid issues with language, nudity, or violations of school policy.

List of the Best Movies to Show in Art Class

1. Between the Folds
This documentary features various ways that artists can make paper into something fantastic. It takes you through some of the details of the projects that you can duplicate in the classroom.

2. My Kid Could Paint That
Marla Olmsted became a household name at the age of four because of her artistic talent. The film depicts the controversy surrounding her work while proving that anyone at any age can market their work.

3. The Rape of Europa
Although the title is worded strongly, this movie takes students through the priceless art thefts that happened during World War II. Then it follows the Allied effort to locate and return the items to their rightful owners.

4. Brush with Fate
This movie teaches students about Vermeer through an adaptation of the novel called Girl in Hyacinth Blue.

5. The Monuments Men
Showing this film can inform your students about what it was like to return stolen art after the wars of the 1940s. It follows one platoon’s efforts to recover these items instead of reviewing the subject as a documentary.

6. Pollock
This movie features the story of Jackson Pollock, starring Ed Harris as the painter. Most people don’t realize that he got started with his artistic career because of government grants that became available to the creative communities at the height of the Great Depression.

7. Craft in America
It’s an educational series instead of a movie, but it is still worth mentioning here. Your students get to watch artisans making meaningful items while celebrating the crafting surge happening in the United States. Then you can replicate some of the projects in the classroom if you want.

Additional Ideas to Consider for Art Class

You can discover several documentaries that cover art and creativity that are suitable for classrooms of almost any age. One of the most popular films is called Waste Land, and it follows trash pickers who go through the world’s largest dump to pick out items so that they can create art.

Some teachers might want to take a modern art approach by showing Exit Through the Gift Shop, which tells the story of street artists like Banksy – and it may not be entirely accurate.

When used responsibly, movies can be an incredible teaching resource for classrooms all over the world. What are your favorite films that depict painting, photography, or other forms of art?

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