Art Jam Session: Collaborative Painting

Are you looking to inject some creativity and spontaneity into your daily routine? If so, have you considered setting up an art jam session?

This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking in an afrobeat jazz concert featuring a band we’ve been listening to for some time. When they announced a show close to home, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to catch them live!

art jam session: collaborative painting

I had my art teacher hat on (it’s hard to leave it at home), and what struck me most was their playfulness. As the band members jammed and improvised, their delight in playing together was absolutely moving. Even with 25 years of playing together, play is at the core of their game.

Definitions of play turn up with ideas around engaging in activities for their pure enjoyment and amusement rather than a serious or practical purpose, along with words like spontaneity, creativity, and experimentation.

When we talk about seeing bands, we’ll say things like:

“they played so well,”

“I saw them play live,” or

“they played my favorite song.”

Play is at the heart of the matter!

Observing their playful riffing, it was clear this band is dedicated to experimentation, spontaneity, and enjoyment.

Are there lessons jam sessions for other creative pursuits?

  • How do you make time for play in your creative process?
  • Where can you let go of perfection and embrace the unpredictable process of creating?
  • How can you release yourself from a fear of making mistakes?
  • Do you see opportunities to collaborate with others to bring your visions to life?

Just as musicians come together to riff off one another in a jam session, artists too can indulge in the magic of collaboration.

Collaborative art is not only about generating a final product; it’s about the experience of play, spontaneity, and improvisation that unfolds through the process.

How to set up an art jam session

Let’s explore the idea of collaborative art and how to set up an art jam session.

art jam session: collaborative painting

First, the group! Who will join your jam session? To create an engaging, collaborative art experience, consider the group you’d like to gather. Will it be a third grade class, Girl Scout troop, best friends, fellow artists, or work team?

Next, set up a large sheet of paper or canvas on the wall or floor, providing plenty of space for everyone to contribute.

Finally, gather a variety of art materials, such as paint, markers, stencils, mark-making tools, or collage materials, to allow participants the freedom to choose their preferred medium.

Tips for a successful art jam session:

  1. Establish a safe and inclusive environment: Ensure that everyone can feel comfortable expressing their creativity without fear of judgment or criticism. Encourage open communication, active listening, and respect for each other’s ideas.
  2. Emphasize the process, not the product: While a beautiful final piece is always a welcome outcome, the focus should be on the experience of creating together. Encourage everyone to enjoy the process of collaboration and improvisation without getting too attached to the end result.
  3. Create a theme or prompt: To help guide the creative process, consider establishing a theme or prompt for the session. This can be as simple or complex as desired, but it should serve as a starting point for inspiration and conversation. In the example above, the prompt is circles. To get folks started and ready to create, a few circles are painted ahead of time. From there, the participants can do whatever they desire.
  4. Rotate roles and positions: Encourage participants to switch positions, media, or roles throughout the session. This promotes a sense of playfulness and allows individuals to explore new techniques and styles while collaborating with others.
  5. Take breaks and reflect: Periodically pause the session to allow participants to step back, observe the piece, and discuss their thoughts, feelings, and observations. This can lead to new insights and ideas, helping the artwork evolve organically.
  6. Offer snacks: Food and drink can keep everyone motivated, especially if you’re jam session is on the longer side.
  7. Document the process: Capture the evolution of the artwork by taking photographs or recording video throughout the session. Documentation can serve as a valuable resource for reflection, discussion, and future collaboration.

Playful collaboration, especially in art, is a powerful way to encourage communication, play, spontaneity, and improvisation.

By setting the stage for an engaging art jam session, makers come together to create a collective piece that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Are you ready to embrace the spirit of playful collaboration?

Want another way to bring more play into your art?

Make an Art Tinkering Box: Assemble an “Art Tinkering Box” filled with a variety of unconventional and recycled materials like cardboard tubes, bottle caps, fabric scraps, buttons, egg cartons, or string. Experiment with different combinations to create unique art pieces. This activity promotes playfulness, experimentation, problem-solving skills, and creative thinking. Get started with invention and set up your own art tinkering box. Read the post:  DIY Kids Invention Box 

Looking for more inspiration?

Here are 3 resources to help nurture your creativity:

  • Discover art for every season with “Art around the Year: 36 Lessons for Every Season.” Start exploring now. 
  • Ignite your creative spark with TinkerLab Schoolhouse’s art & STEAM projects, printables, and calendars. Join here.  3 Enhance your skills with our
  • Live Professional Development Workshops for teachers, docents, and adult groups. Reserve your spot today.
Art Jam sessions collaborative painting