Engaging Empathy

Creating connections by exploring art, literature, history, and social justice issues.

Engaging Empathy integrates the artwork and library resources of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in lessons to strengthen empathy and literacy in secondary schools. Engaging Empathy was developed by Heather Hooks and Julie Griggs for the 2019 Reese Fellowship with the William Reese Company and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Plexus No. 27 by Gabriel Dawe
We recommend you start here to learn how the lessons are organized. Lessons are published as Google Docs that you can copy and customize.
"Introducing Empathy" helps students understand the concept and importance of empathy to prepare for the Perspectives & Issues lessons.
Maya's Quilt of Life by Faith Ringgold
"Celebrating Diversity" explores diversity and inclusion and offers activities to celebrate our differences and our connections.


Click on the topic to open the Teacher's Guide. The Teacher's Guide contains background information on the topic, lesson plans aligned to standards, links to the art slides and student resources for each lesson, works cited, and supplementary resources. Go to the Lessons page to view the individual lessons for each topic and access links to art slides and graphic organizers.

New Lesson! Exceptionalities

Our most recent lessons explore exceptionalities through Untitled by Joan Mitchell and "Dance Class" by Anne Lamott.