To ensure the health and safety of our community, University of California, Irvine continues to closely monitor the outbreak of coronavirus/COVID-19. In support of preventative care efforts on campus and beyond, we have temporarily closed the museum and canceled or rescheduled our public programs, including Docent Tours, School Visits and Guided Group Visits, until further notice. 

School visits to IMCA contribute to the development of stronger critical-thinking skills, empathy and curiosity about art and culture. When students are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in discussing and creating art, they awaken their imaginations and nurture their creative and innovative potential. School visits offer opportunities for students to develop observation and interpretation skills using visual and sensory information, build knowledge independently and with one another, and cultivate an interest in artistic production.

IMCA offers FREE school visits for students in grades 3 – 12. Requests for school visits must be submitted at least 4 weeks in advance. Please complete and submit the School Visit Request form below and Education staff will contact you regarding your request. 

 School visits are scheduled Tuesdays – Fridays starting at 9 am. Due to limited capacity, IMCA limits the number of students each day but will work with the school coordinator to identify available days and times.



IMCA School Visit
Available: January – December
Grades: 3 – 12

An IMCA School Visit is a two-hour museum experience for students in grades 3 – 12. The program is open to all public, private, charter, and homeschooled students. The school visit is facilitated by UCI student educators and IMCA teaching artists. The visit includes an inquiry- and dialogue-based gallery experience and a studio activity. UCI student educators facilitate the gallery experience and IMCA’s teaching artists lead the art-making activity in the Education Studio – an experimental space and creative hub where students are encouraged to explore ideas and respond to new materials and processes. 

The Plein Air Project
Available: September – June
Grades: 4 and 5

The Plein Air Project is a four-session program offered in partnership with the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), a non-profit organization of professional artists in Laguna Beach. The aim of the program is to expand students’ exposure to the California landscape and create connections to plein air painting (the act of painting outdoors) through IMCA’s collection, studio activities and offsite experiences. 

Session 1
Location: Participating school
A LPAPA artist and an IMCA teaching artist introduce California Impressionism through works in the museum’s permanent collection.

Session 2
Location: Participating school
A LPAPA artist, assisted by an IMCA teaching artist, facilitates a live painting demonstration.

Session 3
Location: IMCA
Students participate in a two-hour visit to the museum. The visit includes an inquiry- and dialogue-based gallery experience, facilitated by a museum educator or trained docent, and a studio activity. The gallery experience reinforces and builds on the introductory lesson presented at their school. The studio activity, facilitated by a LPAPA artist, introduces watercolor painting techniques and encourages students to use creative expression as a means for communication and understanding.

Session 4 (optional)
Location: Offsite
Students venture outdoors with a LPAPA artist to create a plein air painting. This exercise continues to build on their museum and classroom experiences. Throughout the process, teachers and students reflect on the impact and importance of California art.

Art Meets Science
Available: September – December (limited availability due to bird nesting and migration periods)
Wednesdays only
Grades: 6 – 8 

Art Meets Science is a partnership between IMCA and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy that explores the intersection of art and science with students in grades 6 – 8. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy coordinates conservation projects, conducts habitat restoration and provides opportunities for participation and education.

Art Meets Science launched in spring 2018 as a pilot program and has experienced incredible success. IMCA looks forward to expanding the program in 2020-2021.

The school visit begins at IMCA where students participate in an inquiry- and dialogue-based gallery experience and studio activity facilitated by a UCI student educator and IMCA teaching artist. Students are introduced to strategies and techniques employed by artists in their artistic practice and creative and scientific approaches to observation that deepen connections between art, science, and the environment.

Immediately following the visit to IMCA, students travel a short distance to the Back Bay Science Center where they experience the diversity and beauty of this wetland habitat and its inhabitants with an educator from Back Bay Science Center. While there, they draw from the museum experience and apply their newly acquired observation and technical skills to create their own plein air painting.


If you are affiliated with a university or community college and are interested in scheduling a visit for undergraduate or graduate students, please contact Sofia Gutierrez, Associate Director of Education and Community Engagement at


Students painting with the Plein Air Project, 2016, © Jeff Sewell