We want to stay connected and creative with our community during these unprecedented times. 

Our first opportunity we are sharing is our Virtual Pop-Up. For the next few weeks, arts instructor Elisabeth Herrera is sharing virtual activities to keep you inspired. Follow along with each activity and share your creations with us on Instagram (@atlantacontemporary) with the hashtag #ACMAKES

We look forward to seeing everyone’s creations and continuing the excellent conversations we usually have in person in a digital space.

Surface Rubbing Activity

Watch our video on YouTube to watch how it is done.

What is it?

It’s about representation: We tend to assume that a photograph, or photo realistic painting, is the most accurate way to depict a place. There are other ways to create a representation of a place, such as a rubbing. Rubbings are an index of the place where it was captured. An index is a mark or trace that gives information or evidence about the object. Index are a very real form of documentation that gives you real information; I was there, I did this. They’re the most realistic representations that can be captured.

This activity is intended to get you thinking about the creative possibilities all around in unexpected places. Your composition need not be a masterpiece, create something you enjoy creating. The process is the purpose

Artist, Kim Beck, refers to indexical field recordings, such as rubbings, as surface tests. Check out Kim Beck’s art assignment at http://www.theartassignment.com/assignments//surface-test

Crayons - Don’t have any crayons? Experiment with unconventional materials for art making. I found that baking cocoa did not work but a charcoal briquette worked great!


Step 1
Choose your surface and use a crayon to create surface rubbings. Look for a surface you feel is interesting or memorable to record. Interesting surfaces are all around our homes and neighborhoods hiding in the most mundane of places.

Step 2

Next, consider using your rubbings to create a composition that complements the surface you have chosen to index. Use your choice of art processes.

This artmaking experience was conceived by Atlanta Contemporary intern Summer Davis and the tutorial was created by Elisabeth Herrera-Very for Atlanta Contemporary’s virtual pop-up series. Thank you to Summer Davis for sharing this resource from theartassignment.com!

Meet Summer!

Summer, why did you choose this activity to share with our virtual patrons?
•“The best part about this assignment is that you can do it at home while you are social distancing! It also helps us stay mindful and observant of the spaces we are quarantining in, helping us see our home from a new perspective.”

•“This episode is from an educational video series called “The Art Assignment” created by Sarah Green. The series is meant to engage all types of people, not only artists. The activities are thought provoking, fun, and highly adaptable to your interpretation.


Elisabeth Herrera-Very

Elisabeth Herrera-Very is a teaching artist and art educator working in Atlanta. A former public school visual arts teacher she now focuses on community engagement and museum education. As a teaching artist she develops programming that provides inclusive, thoughtful, and relevant art experiences for participants of all ages and skill levels. Her programming at Atlanta Contemporary encourages patrons to explore their own creative process through contemporary art making practices and exploratory art making.


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We encourage you to share your images using #atlantacontemporary. Read our full photography policy.