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Take One Picture

All you need to know about our Take One Picture programme and exhibitions

What is Take One Picture?

Take One Picture is our national programme for primary schools, which aims to inspire a lifelong love of art and learning.

Every year,  we take one picture from the collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms.

Activity around each focus painting takes place in four stages: 

Stage 1: Planning your project

Our CPD sessions are a great way to start your Take One Picture project. They offer the opportunity to learn about the focus painting from Gallery educators, to explore it in depth with your peers, and to develop techniques and ideas for using paintings as a resource for curriculum-based learning. 

If you would like a large group of teachers from your school to attend a CPD session, this can be booked separately, to either take place at the Gallery, at your school or online. For group bookings and rates please contact

While we do encourage it, you do not have to attend a CPD session to complete a project or submit work to the exhibition. Learning notes about the current and previous focus paintings are available, as well as information and videos on our website (search the collection) and YouTube channel.

Stage 2: Working on your project

Introduce the painting to your students and complete a project based on the picture. You can decide on the length of the project, when you complete it and how many students take part.

We suggest including the following elements: 

  • Painting links: Work links back to the focus painting
  • Investigative approach: Projects are shaped by child-led research
  • Process: Children have the opportunity to learn a new process inspired by the painting
  • Cross-curricular learning: Projects make meaningful links across the curriculum
  • Community: Learning involves people or places in the local community 

If you plan to submit your project, document the process as you go, capturing photographs of the work and quotes from the children.

As part of your project, you can also bring your students to the Gallery to see the real painting, or you can book an online version of the session. We run free school group tours and virtual talks based on the focus painting and making connections to other works in the collection.

See our guided tours and online talks for school groups

Stage 3: Submitting your project

If you would like the chance to see your project exhibited at the National Gallery, you can submit a PowerPoint presentation which shows the process, final result and how the project includes the Take One Picture criteria: Focus painting links, investigative approach, process, cross-curricular learning and community (detailed above).

The submission portal is open until 31 October each yearAll submitting schools receive a participation certificate and we will inform you whether or not your project has been shortlisted for inclusion in the exhibition before the Christmas break.

Stage 4: Exhibiting your project

Image: Works in the Take One Picture 2023 exhibition

The annual Take One Picture exhibition takes place at the National Gallery. The exhibition is held every summer and is a great way to celebrate children’s creativity and showcase their responses to the focus painting. Students have the unique opportunity to see their artwork exhibited at the heart of a world-leading Gallery. We also run a digital programme alongside the exhibition, including video tours, photographs and descriptions of the projects to celebrate them online.

See the works in the 2023 exhibition.

As well as the exhibition at the National Gallery, many schools hold their own local celebrations and exhibitions throughout the year. From galleries set up in school halls, to assemblies and special parents’ evenings, the children’s work can be celebrated in a number of different ways. If you plan to hold a local event, please let us know or share your photographs with us, we would love to attend if possible. Contact us at

Take One Picture is generously supported by Columbia Threadneedle Foundation

Sponsored by 

With additional support from the John Armitage Charitable Trust