Art Auction Kickoff with Students

Before you start your Art Auction project, have a discussion with your students about the purpose  and use it as an opportunity to explain real-world experiences. Then give a high level view of the project. In subsequent sessions, give the instructions for that day so they are not overwhelmed.

Here are two presentations I created for Mr. Brown’s 1st Grade and Mrs. Pastorelli’s 4th Gradeclasses. You can change out your slides on the art project to show students what they will work on.

Remember you don’t have to work with the entire class at the same time. You can work with students at smaller tables in hallways. Please coordinate with your teacher(s). Please email the Esther at the front desk if you are using hallway tables:



1. What is an auction? (A subtraction problem)

For lower grades, use small numbers like $20 for bid price, $5 for materials to work through a subtraction problem to demonstrate explain the concept of profits.

For upper grades, use larger/real numbers like $1200 for bid price, $245 for materials. You can also show what happens to profit if bid price is higher or the class bought very expensive materials or made mistake (threw away materials).

2. Show how an auction works

You can also try auctioning your phone and let the students observe what happens as price rises. I got some housecleaning from Mr.Brown’s class and about $200 from Mrs. Pastorelli’s class when I mock-auctioned mine.

3. Try to let the students do as much as possible

We are all very busy and we want the artwork to come out as perfect as possible. But if you can, please try to give the students as complete an experience. This means letting them prepare the substrate by painting primer on the canvas or wooden backing, letting them trace and cut out shapes even if not perfectly a square or circle, letting them mount the artwork if there is tolerance in object placement. Kindergarteners as an example are very capable of creating a printing block, inking it, and pulling a print. You just need to work in smaller groups and help here and there.

Explaining how to ink and pull print
Explaining inking and pulling print (“People” – Kindergarten Art Auction, Spring 2011)
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Student pulling a print (“People” – Kindergarten Art Auction, Spring 2011)