About the Koffler Gallery Education Program

Koffler Gallery’s education programs help students expand their creativity, develop their visual literacy and sharpen their communication skills. Interactive gallery tours prompt students to analyse the formal aspects and meaning of artworks, enabling them to share their own interpretations while gaining understanding of the intentions of artists. Tours are followed by in-gallery art-making workshops inspired by the works in the exhibition, giving students the opportunity to express their views of the world around them and their personal feelings, experiences and ideas.

For more information on the Koffler Gallery public programs and tours, please contact:

Sandy Saad
Public Engagement Coordinator, Koffler Gallery
647.925.0643 x221

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Winter 2017

January 19 – March 19, 2017 | Guest Curator: E.C. Woodley
Leopold Plotek uses abstract painting as a vehicle for narrative content and emotional exploration. He re-imagines architecture, objects, people and stories, and creates immersive works that explore memory and experience, combining abstract and figurative elements. Exploring abstraction will be the focus of Koffler’s Winter 2017 education programs. Inspired by Plotek’s artistic practice, students will be led on guided tours and workshops to communicate their own experiences through the language of abstraction.

Full exhibition details here.

Elementary School Programs

Grades 1-3
$5 per student | 2.5 hours 

Activity: How can you translate sound into a visual language? What does jazz look like compared to pop music? Leopold Plotek’s paintings are inspired by the world around him — architecture, history, and music amongst other things. Abstract painting is his language for communicating the things that fascinate him. In this activity students will focus on music as a form of inspiration. A guided tour leads students into exploring Plotek’s abstract paintings, including his works inspired by music. The tour is followed by an art-making workshop in which students listen to various types of music and create line drawings that reflect their interpretation of sound. Once this exercise is completed, students select one type of line and create a larger scale work incorporating colour and texture to add further meaning and depth. At the end of the workshop students will discuss how their works communicate their experiences.

Curriculum Links: Language (1-2), Music (C2.1-C2.2), Visual Arts (D1-D2)

  • Oral Communication: Listening to Understand, and Speaking to Communicate – Language
    Students will demonstrate their understanding of language by answering questions while listening to a variety of stories in a guided tour of No Work, Nor Device, Nor Knowledge, Nor Wisdom. At the end of the workshop students will discuss with their peers the ways in which their work of art expresses their experiences.
  • Reflecting, Responding and Analysing – Music
    Students will express their initial reactions and personal responses to music and use visual techniques to describe the ways different types of music create different responses.
  • Creating and Presenting – Visual Arts
    Students will create a two-dimensional work of art using various elements of art and design —line, shape, and colour to communicate their experience of music.
  • Reflecting, Responding and Analysing – Visual Arts
    Students will communicate to their peers how their work of art reflects their experience of music and why they have selected various elements of art to articulate their feelings.


Grades 4-8
$5 per student | 2.5 hours 

Activity: How can a simple story be broken down into key visual elements? Many of Leopold Plotek’s paintings are inspired by stories. Students will explore and identify various forms, lines, colours and shapes in Plotek’s abstract paintings to uncover the stories behind them in a guided tour. The tour will be followed by a workshop in which students will reflect on their own experiences and write about their favourite day. They will be guided then to find ways of reducing the story to simple visual elements — line, shape, colour, etc. as they create an abstract composition that can still convey personal meaning.

Curriculum Links: Language (1.1 – 1.6, 2.1 – 2.7), Visual Arts (D2.1 – D2.3)

  • Listening to Understand – Language
    Students will listen to a variety of stories as they explore the work of Leopold Plotek in an interactive tour. They will demonstrate their understanding by answering questions throughout the tour, and will expand it by developing their own narratives and reflecting on their own experiences through the production of an artwork.
  • Speaking to Communicate – Language
    Students will share their story with their peers and communicate the ways they’ve used visual elements to express their experiences.
  • Creating and Presenting – Visual Arts
    Students will create a work of art that expresses an experience and will use the elements of art and design to communicate their story.
  • Reflecting and Responding – Visual Arts
    Students will interpret a variety of artworks and identify the feelings they convey. They will explore various signs, symbols and meanings in Leopold Plotek’s paintings.

Secondary School Programs

The Past is Now
Grades 9-12
$5/Student | 3 hours

Activity: Leopold Plotek’s paintings featured in No Work, Nor Device, Nor Knowledge, Nor Wisdom often make reference to Classical, Biblical, Romantic and Renaissance tropes and motifs, an artistic technique formally known as ‘allusion.’ These references, when made in a new historical, cultural and social context, produce entirely different meanings and messages. During a guided tour of the exhibition, students will be guided to critically analyze the artworks by examining, interpreting and evaluating the implications of allusion. Following the tour, students will be asked to consider a moment in their recent or distant memory, based in either reality or fiction, and create their own “allusive” artwork through the artistic medium of collage and assemblage. This program is supplemented with a pre-visit in-class activity in which students begin to think about a personal memory and collect images from family photographs, magazines, or other sources to use in the production of their artwork during the gallery workshop. An activity guide will be emailed to the teacher in advance of the visit.

Curriculum Links: Arts (A1-A3, B1-B3, C1-C3)

  • Terminology, Conventions, and Techniques
    Students will learn to identify various stages of the creative process and critical analysis process using appropriate terminology. Students will learn to use appropriate terminology when identifying and describing the use of elements and principles of design in their own art works and the works of others (e.g. use of line and space, abstraction, layers of tone and texture, etc.).
  • Creativity and Communication
    Students will develop aesthetic awareness by using the creative process and taking an innovative approach to artistic expression. Students will manipulate elements and forms to convey or express feelings, messages, or ideas through the arts. They will also construct and analyze work with an emphasis on communicating the meaning of the work.

Curriculum Links: Social Sciences and Humanities (A1-A4, B1-B3, C1-C3)

  • Disciplined Inquiry and Critical Literacy
    Students will use inquisitive methods to understand how Plotek’s work examines human nature and behaviour. Students will also practice challenging ideas by reading “behind and beyond” physical artworks, questioning how they influence us and others, and whose interests they serve.
  • Local and Global Mindedness
    While considering Leopold Plotek’s Russian heritage, Canadian and Jewish identity, students will develop an awareness of the social, cultural, economic and environmental circumstances that various people are affected by and affect in their turn. Students will explore how theories and concepts can influence social action and impact individuals and communities throughout the world.
  • Understanding of Self and Others
    Students will develop a deeper awareness of critical issues in our increasingly complex, multifaceted and diverse society. The knowledge gained through creativity and analysis will help build students’ understanding of critical social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental concerns.


Download our online booking form. To schedule a meeting with our Gallery Educators, please call Sandy Saad at 647.925.0643 x221 or email at: ssaad@kofflerarts.org

Koffler Gallery Public Hours
Tuesday-Friday: 12 – 6 PM
Saturday-Sunday: 11 AM – 5 PM

School Tours and Workshops
Monday-Friday: 9 AM – 7 PM

Photo: Mary Anderson.