High school art programs face a number of challenges, including budgetary restrictions and students with a variety of different skill levels. Besides basic projects to teach students how to work in various art media, high school art teachers can take advantage of easy art projects that will bring variety and creative opportunities to any art curriculum.
One simple project with a wide range of possibilities is a collage assignment. Students can spend time collecting images based on a specific theme or concept from magazines, catalogs and by printing images from the Internet. Next, students have a chance to apply the principles of composition as they arrange their collages. To add to a collage assignment, art instructors may require students to produce original work to include in the collage alongside appropriated photographs and clippings.
High school students have likely spent a great deal of time painting in acrylic, oils and watercolors. One simple twist on a traditional painting assignment is a sculptural painting, which involves students painting on a three-dimensional surface. Students may choose existing objects to serve as a nontraditional canvas, or construct their own by carving designs into a sheet of foam or rubber. A sculptural painting can give students a chance to think about painting as a three-dimensional art form and also familiarize them with new art materials and processes.
Lettering and calligraphy is a relatively simple process that high school-age students can use to develop patience and precise hand-eye coordination that will be useful in other areas of art. Besides paper, ink and pens, a lettering project needs few art supplies and is a low-cost alternative to painting sculpture projects. Calligraphy requires practice and can be a way to keep students busy and learning for long periods of time.
Besides producing traditional artwork, high school students who wish to pursue a career in art may benefit greatly from organizing a student art show. Students may select a theme for a class show, producing work especially for the exhibit or curating the art show by selecting from each student's best work from the past several years of art classes. An art show teaches high school art students about the business side of art while also giving them a chance to receive feedback from the public.