Third Thursday Tour

Join Curator, Stacy Peterson and Director of Education, Margaret Buhr for an informal tour of the “African Art in the 20th Century” from the Collection of the Smithsonian American Art. Included will be a a brief history of African American art and stories about the artists and their creative process. You will be encouraged to share your insights about this remarkable exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Loïs Mailou Jones, Moon Masque, 1971, oil and collage on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, bequest of the artist.

Slow Down Art Day 2019

Join a movement! Slow Art Day is an international event encouraging people of all ages to visit museums and to look at art slowly.


-To break out of your typical “go, go, go” routine.

-To learn about yourself, fellow participants, & the creative expressions of artists.

-To make discoveries about and forge connections with artwork.

Participants are encouraged to examine at least five works of art for 10 minutes each and then talk, write or post to social media about their experience. Simple by design, the goal is to focus on the art and the art of seeing.

Don’t worry, museum staff will be present to provide you with artwork suggestions and questions to consider!


Neighborhood Portraits Workshop

Online Registration Form

Inspired by the colors and artworks in the current exhibition African American Art of the 20th Century, students will create personal expressions of their neighborhood environments and learn brush techniques using acrylic paint.

Ages: This workshop is geared to children 9 and older, but all ages are welcome.
Instructor: Hana Velde
Tuition: $20 Members, $25 Guest (materials included)
Members save 20% on all classes.

Scholarships are available. Contact Margaret Buhr, director of education, at 563.557.1851 or at for details.

Enjoy complimentary coffee and Wi-Fi in our lobby during class.

Youth Drawing Classes

Winter/Spring 2019 Youth Art Classes

Online Registration Form

Back to Basics: Drawing Class
Saturdays, January 19 & 26, February 2 & 9 (4-week session)
Section I: Ages 8-12: 9-10:30 am
Section II: Ages 13-16: 10:30 am-Noon
Tuition: $60 Members | $75 Guests (materials included)
Instructor: Hana Velde

Students will practice the act of observing through continuous line drawing, drawing upside down, and drawing negative spaces, then begin a still life project to discover how shading and perspective add depth to their drawings. Museum exhibits will be visited each class as we discover connections and gain creative inspiration from the art on display. The second half of the class series will focus on the study of facial proportions and portrait drawing.

Gallery Inspiration: Texture Painting Workshop
February 17, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Ages 8-12
Fee: $20 Members | $25 Guests (materials included)
Instructor: Rachel Spurling

Taking inspiration from the exhibition African American Art in the 20th Century and Abstract Expressionist artist Sam Gilliam, students will create an abstract painting from loose canvas. Students will use non-traditional utensils to spread paint and add texture.

Neighborhood Portraits Workshop
Saturday, February 23, 9:30-11:30 am
Ages: 11 and up
Tuition: $20 Members, $25 Guests (materials included)
Instructor: Hana Velde

Students will visit African American Art in the 20th Century to observe the colors, images, and messages in the artworks on display. We will discuss the importance of neighborhoods in everyday life, how basic needs are met through housing and the food supply, and how interpersonal interactions build a feeling of community. After preparing a canvas board and acrylic paint palette and learning brush techniques, students will create personal expressions of their neighborhood environments.

Back to Basics: Painting Class
Sundays, April 7-28 (4-Week Session)
Section I: Ages 8-12: 1-2:30 pm
Section II: Ages 13-16: 2:30-4 pm
Tuition: $60 Members | $75 Guests (materials included)
Instructors: Hana Velde and Kelsey Hammons

Students will visit museum exhibits, including African American Art in the 20th Century, to explore color, theme, and mood and to gain creative inspiration. We will begin by learning about color theory and brush techniques using watercolors. The second week’s class will explore shading and perspective using tempera paints. The second half of the class series will focus on composition and acrylic painting techniques as students prepare a canvas and work on a landscape painting.

Living Proof Exhibit: Lunch & Learn

Join us for a Lunch and Learn for the “Living Proof” exhibition being featured in the Museum’s Alice E. & Erwin J. Hafeman Lobby. Ron Avery and Gail Chavenelle will each speak shortly on the topic of cancer survivor art and then welcome individuals attending the talk to create written reflections on the exhibition.

Feel free to bring a sack lunch, however lunch will not be provided by the Museum.

Why Art?

Why Art?

Why do we need art? Everyone has a different answer for this question, and some, I’m sure, don’t believe we need it at all. The past millennia have seen an incredible display of the artistic capabilities of humankind, and it’s so clear how inherently engrained it is in our biological makeup. It’s used for both practical and aesthetic purposes; communication, expression, self-reflection, and empathy. Perhaps it’s one of the many tools we use to try and understand one another. Museums are simply houses for art, but they have the potential to be true sanctuaries for the disenfranchised, for the misunderstood. Do we as humans have a responsibility to one another to provide these sources of refuge for others’ survival? In these turbulent times, art is used as socio-political commentary, giving voice to those who do not have one and motion to positive change. Is it simply a matter of funding, or is it also attitude and consciousness that denies the necessary resources for museums to become great mechanisms for important dialogues? In the past few decades, museums have become wonderful forms of secondary educational resources for school children. It’s my hope that we can do right by our children and provide them with access to fruitful leisure learning, separate from the confines of a school desk chair, where they are provided the opportunity to learn a vastness of things through art, and in doing so, understand the world they’re growing up in.

So, why do we need art? Maybe, at the end of the day, it helps us relate to one another, and form a basis of compassion. These are just a few thoughts on why we need art, and I truly think art museums can nourish this attempt at understanding.

Why do you believe we need art?

By Katherine Hellberg, Intern at Dubuque Museum of Art

Summer Art Camp – Ages 9 to 12



Summer Art Camp

Make friends with the Dubuque Museum of Art’s world class art collection! Explore exhibition highlights through imaginative and interactive projects led by the Museum Educator. The two-week long summer art camp at the Dubuque Museum of Art will explore several aspects of the visual arts (drawing, painting, mixed media, and 3-dimensional work) and culminate in an exhibition of the participating students work.

Ages 9 to 12
Monday through Friday, July 6 – 17, 10-11:30 AM

Cost is $60 ($50 for museum members). Limit of 12 students per age group. All supplies furnished. For more information or to enroll a student please contact Margaret at (563) 557-1851 or