Take An Art Break

Listen and tell me what you see

Sketchbook with words and pastels

There is music all around us, we just need to quiet ourselves and we’ll hear it. Today I took my pastels, my sketchbook, and my coffee and sat outside in my backyard. I made the best effort I could to listen to the world around me. I wanted to hear everything, one sound at a time and use it to make art.

What do the sounds in your world look like?


The Recipe

Materials Needed:

Take an Art Break

  • Pastels, Colored Pencils, Markers, Crayons, Legos, Paint, Play Dough, anything with different color choices
  • Paper
  • A Place to Sit


  1. Grab your supplies and find a place to sit for a bit (at least 15 minutes).
  2. Concentrate on the sounds that surround you. Try to single out each sound, one by one.
  3. Do one of the following:
    1. Count how many different sounds you hear.
    2. Write down what you hear.
  4. One by one, add each single sound you hear to your paper. Think about this:
    1. What color matches the sound?
    2. What shape?
    3. What form?
    4. What gesture? 

Sketchbook with pastels. Take an Art Break. Take an Art Break with pastels and an sketchbook 

Reflection Questions:

  1. Did you notice a shift in how you approached adding color, form, line, etc. to your paper as time passed?
  2. Were particular sounds easier to match to color and form than others?
  3. What do you think would happen if you did this exercise every day for a week? Or a month?

After a while, I noticed that I got into this automatic flow of listening, grabbing some color, and adding it to the paper. All of the steps of the art break just started to meld together.

-Lauren Odell Usher Sharpton

Co-Founding Director of Art is Moving

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Taking a moment to actively listen to our surroundings can open us up to a whole new experience. For me, I was shocked that in such a short amount of time (my break was less than 15 minutes) I began to differentiate between various types of birds talking and cars driving by my backyard. I loved listening to the natural orchestra of life. It also woke me up to how much is going on around me that I don’t hear or see or notice on a daily basis.

For more information on the benefits of this type of art break and other related stuff, check out the links below:

Feel free to read more about the

benefits of art on our resource page here.

Art is Moving creates, initiates, and shares community art projects that encourage and empower people to make art part of their daily life. We do this because we know that art makes people better. And, better people make a better world.

 Help us help everyone “Take an Art Break.”

Art Break Day, the day the world makes art together, has served over 20,000 folks across 143 communities. 

Photos from Art is Moving events across the world