Spotlight children



Spotlight is an annual program that invites students to make creative responses to one work of art in the Museum’s collection. Started in 2013, the program engages thousands of students, educators, and their families within and outside the Museum through workshops, tours, and community events.

Students study one work of art from the permanent collection and then create a unique, personal reflection in response. Class visits, museum tours, teacher workshops, and access to learning materials help prepare and inspire students to create an original project. The students’ creations are exhibited or performed at the Spotlight Celebration in May.

Beginning in 2018, artwork by K–12 students found a year-round home in the Patio Gallery. Following the Spotlight Celebration, the creative responses are cycled on view to inspire and delight all visitors.

Major support for Spotlight is provided by The Charles Butt Foundation, the Semmes Foundation, Inc., and Texas Commission for the Arts.

Spotlight Resources and FAQs

Schedule a Class Visit

To kickstart your Spotlight project, schedule a classroom visit from a McNay educator. The visit includes in-depth looking at a reproduction of the Spotlight selection and an art historical background of the artist and the work of art. Students learn how to look closely and theorize about the style or content of the work of art supported by visual evidence.

Plan a Free Student Tour

A museum visit is a great way to prepare for Spotlight. On a free student tour, students closely examine the Spotlight selection in person and consider how and why it was made with the help of a museum docent. For more information on how to schedule a student tour, visit our Tours page.

Brainstorm Project Ideas

Spotlight projects can take on many forms and are not limited to art making, with past submissions including painting and sculpture, but also poetry and film. The goal is to respond to the work of art in a creative way. That could be a science experiment, a choreographed dance, or a video game. See submission guidelines HERE.

Submit Your Project Idea

Once you have developed your Spotlight concept, apply to participate in the Spotlight Celebration by the submission deadline. When available, complete the Spotlight Form HERE.

Execute Your Idea

Spotlight encourages experimentation. Students learn problem solving skills as they experiment, evaluate the results, and adapt their approach.

Showcase Your Project at Spotlight Celebration

The culmination of this year-long focus is the Spotlight Celebration, where students have a forum to showcase their finished projects and talk about the creative process. Parents, teachers, administrators, and friends are invited to this free celebration.


Spotlight is an annual program that invites students to make creative responses to one work of art in the Museum’s collection. Read through some frequently asked questions HERE.