Art to Grow

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a unique place that features both fine art and horticulture. This beautiful environment provides an exciting opportunity for cross disciplinary education. The colorful Art to Grow van and its talented and creative instructors visit schools and other organizations bringing art and nature to your learning space. The curriculum offered provides students with stimulating and creative experiences that teach art concepts, techniques, and history. Each lesson includes a presentation on your selected topic and a hands-on activity.   

Who can use Art to Grow? 
  • Pre-K through 8th Grade teachers 
  • Shelby County Schools 
  • Charter Schools 
  • Private and parochial schools    

During the School year: Tuesday through Friday from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

  • Each Art to Grow lesson lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. 
  • Teachers can make one reservation for their class, per school year. 
  • Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. 
  • The Dixon requires at least two sessions per school each visit. 

During the Summer: 

  • Art to Grow also operates May through July. During these summer months, the Art to Grow program is available to libraries, summer camps, daycares, and other educational organizations. The Art to Grow summer lesson varies each year and is dependent on what special exhibition the Dixon is hosting.   

Art to Grow is a FREE program. All supplies for your visit will be provided; it is the Dixon’s gift to the community.  

Policies and Regulations: 
  • The classroom teacher must remain in the classroom during their Art to Grow visit. 
  • Contact the Art to Grow instructor with any cancellations at least two weeks prior to your visit. 
  • Please participate in the lesson by helping the Art to Grow instructor with set up and clean up and with classroom management. Refrain from using electronic devices. Failure to comply with the above may jeopardize your chances of booking future Art to Grow visits.       


Lessons are grade specific and will give students the opportunity to use age appropriate tools and techniques. The lessons are inspired by our current exhibitions and collections. All lessons adhere to the Common Core Standards. The following lessons are for Pre-K through 8th Grade and are available throughout the school year. They are adapted to suit your grade level.   

Learn more about lessons for each grade level.

The Permanent Collection 

Objective: Students will be inspired by a work of art from the Dixon’s permanent collection, they will learn about the artist, investigate different techniques, and produce their own masterpiece. The Dixon’s permanent collection has over 2000 works of art. This includes works on paper, sculptures, decorative arts objects, and works by Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. The collection features artists such as Monet, Matisse, Degas, Renoir, and more!         

Click here for full Permanent Collection Lesson Plans.

The Living Collection 

Objective: Students will explore an element of the gardens and work with exciting art materials to create an original piece. Students will learn about specific types of trees, plants, or animals living in the Dixon gardens. They will look at the effect of the changing seasons, wildlife, habitats, and the importance and impact plants have on the environment. The Dixon Gallery & Gardens is a certified Level IV (four) arboretum with more than 120 identified species of trees. 

Click here for full Living Collection Lesson Plans.

Special Exhibitions 

Objective: Students will be inspired by a work of art or a group of artworks in the Dixon’s temporary exhibition. Students will learn about artists and their biographies in the grander scale of art history. Students will also learn the difference between a permanent and temporary collection in a museum setting. Using the special exhibition as inspiration, students will create art of their own with similar techniques and processes. This lesson changes seasonally depending on what exhibition the Dixon is currently hosting. 

Click here for full American Art Now lesson plans. 

Click here for full Perfumed Objects and Images lesson plans.

Click here for full Memphis in May lesson Plans.

How to Book Art to Grow

Fill out the form to the right or contact Christan Allen, Outreach Coordinator, 901-312-1263,

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Coming Up
Monday Closed
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm
Third Thursdays: Open until 8pm
Special / Holiday Hours

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