Sowing Creativity

Sowing Creativity is an integrated visual art residency program developed by the San José Museum of Art to align with the California Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards and to meet the urgent need to promote creativity across disciplines. The premise: well-honed visual thinking abilities contribute powerfully to the teaching and learning of specific cross-disciplinary concepts.

To meet the needs of social distancing, we have adapted our Sowing Creativity program to be entirely live virtual! What does this mean exactly? Our studio art educator will meet your class online to teach our award-winning curriculum to your students. This program includes a virtual Museum visit and all art supplies needed for lesson plans!

Classroom Program Request Form


If you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.

Well-honed visual thinking abilities can contribute powerfully to the teaching and learning of specific cross-disciplinary concepts. An investigation of perception, defined as “a thought, belief, or opinion, often held by many people based on experience,” encourages students to explore both the seen and unseen. A rich sequence of hands-on art making lessons and inquiry-based discussions of contemporary art helps students to understand the shared art and science concepts of perception, perspective, optics, light, and color theory.

Teacher Information (PDF)



“Making student thinking visible”

Timed to precede the formal introduction of fractions in the fourth-grade curriculum “Show Your Work” will similarly use hands-on visual art exercises to build student understanding of key mathematical concepts like scale, proportion, and symmetry, in the service of preparing them to master the critical concept of fractions. This “turning point” concept—often dreaded by students--is considered essential for eventual success in algebra and general college readiness. [1] To promote student success in this area, Sowing Creativity lessons use the natural enthusiasm students show for art class to introduce key mathematical concepts and to help build what Stanford professor Jo Boaler calls “a positive math mindset.”

Teacher Information (PDF)

Sowing Creativity: “Engineering and Art” for 5th grade!
For more information, or to apply to be one of our test classrooms, contact or call 408.291.5393.


Sowing Creativity is rooted in a number of educational frameworks. Following the national shift to Common Core standards, the program promotes an integrated approach to the big-picture questions at the intersection of science and art. The curriculum aligns itself with the newly implemented Next Generation Science Standards and the California Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Content Standards. It is informed by the research-based initiative to add the arts into the nationally dominant science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. The shift from STEM to STEAM fosters true innovation founded in the belief that by developing students’ abilities to use knowledge across contexts the arts can play a vital role in promoting the four C’s of P21’s 21st-Century Learning Skills: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. The program has also adopted the Studio Habits of Mind framework for teaching and learning in the visual arts as developed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero.

Thank you to our sponsors

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS grant #MA-10-15-0497-15).

Sowing Creativity is supported by generous funding from Adobe, Jeanine Lunardi, Yvonne and Mike Nevens with Glenda and Gary Dorchak, Daphne and Stuart Wells, and Wells Fargo.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council (CAC), a state agency. 

Supported, in part by, a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José.

Thank you to our sponsors.
[1] Sue Shellenbarger, “New Approaches to Teaching Fractions,” The Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2013.