The Poster Predicament: Is an Art Room Icon Becoming Extinct?

As I was sorting through my large art reproduction prints to find a poster for the next artist on my Mystery Artist Board, I tried to remember the last time I pulled out a print for a specific lesson. Usually when showing an art reproduction, I just show a digital version using my projector and screen.

Mystery artistNow, don’t get me wrong, I love my posters and large prints, especially my Crystal Productions posters like, Art Styles, Art Careers, Color Vocabulary, and Elements and Principles, which I reference almost every day.  I have a lot of these kinds of posters hanging up so that if the students’ eyes wander, they’re finding things that are informational, interesting, and engaging. In fact, I have so many of these kinds of posters that I almost don’t have room for anything else!


But, what about those reproductions? I do have a few hanging up, and while writing this article, it occurred to me to hang the large reproduction pieces with the student work that was inspired by them in the hallway.  I have also begun the task of alphabetizing my posters and making a catalog of exactly what images I have so that I’m more likely to pull them out for lessons.

So I’m wondering, in this technological day and age, what is happening to all those reproductions in your art room? Are they just gathering dust? Are a few lucky ones being used? Are some so irrelevant they haven’t seen the light of day in years? It would be a shame to let them become extinct!

How do you show artwork to your students in your room? With hard copy reproductions? Digitally?

Is one way better than the other? Sound off in the comments below! 



Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.


  • Charmaine86

    I have posters that stay up year round, such as perspective drawing tips and posters from exhibits I have visited either myself or as field trips. I do use the large prints frequently when teaching and as part of hallway displays. I use digital versions of artwork, too, but I find that the colors are washed out when projected on my SmartBoard. I am getting a classroom set of iPads later this year, so that will make digital viewing much more practical.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Yes! There are so many different avenues for access to our visuals, great tip with the ipads!

  • Belinda Monn

    Between my collection of instructional posters from Crystal Art and my illustrated word walls there is no space left to display art for the sake of art in my tiny classroom. Above each table I hang a table name (an artist), and I hang a prints of their work along with the artists name. I am able to change these each year to expose students to a variety of artists. To keep my prints from getting dusty, I use them in table activities. For example for a summarizer I may lay a different landscape at each table and have students label the 3 grounds. I do find the poster print quality can not be matched by the digital display. Although I love how the digital prints do not require the same organization time!

    • Alecia Eggers

      I have also run out of space with these informational posters! Awesome interactive idea for your summarizer’s! (and the time thing is a HUGE factor in displaying)

  • Deborrah Pagel

    While I use a lot of power points and online resources, I can’t keep those projected throughout a project’s duration. So I still use my art prints for specific projects hanging up around the room while we are still on that topic. Then students have a constant visual resource. Since I teach 7 different courses, it sometimes gets crowded, but the images are always in front of them and they often refer to them.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Great solution!

  • Your room looks amazing! What is the best method you’ve found to get all of those slippery posters to stay on the wall/ cupboards?

    • Alecia Eggers

      I use “Scotch Removable Mounting Putty” by 3M – “holds up to 1 lb.” and boy does it hold! I do have a little trouble around seasonal changes, but other than that…they’ve been up for two years and counting!

      • Thanks for the tip! I am sure it will help others, as keeping posters up can be tricky.

  • Christy Branham

    I use Pinterest to show visuals to students. I make a board for the activity (artist, culture, etc.) for what we are studying or learning about and pull it up during our discussion. I have two Pinterest accounts due to my first account hitting the max on boards (350 is the max).

    • Alecia Eggers

      That is an absolutely genius idea!! Thank you for sharing!

    • I second Alecia – genius!

    • Another thing I like about this, is you are more ‘covered’ on copyright by using Pinterst because the image ‘should’ link back to the original source. I attended a session on copyright at a conference this fall. Scary stuff. The digital world is turing everything upside down, but copyright laws haven’t changed. Yikes!

  • Elizabeth

    I teach elementary. I use Pinterest, and other sites to project images, but I still use my reproductions. I hang them in the hall with the kids’ work, I use them as a sorting activity according to art period, or genre, etc., and the kids even use them as something to draw and paint from, just another way of learning. I have some wonderful large flat drawers and they are almost all alphabetized, and easy to get to. Other teachers borrow them, and like that there is info on the back of them…

    • Alecia Eggers

      Your sorting activity sounds awesome! So many uses! These are SOOO in danger after all! :)

  • Linda

    I use my reproductions all the time. I hang 10 different images about every month or so and use them for Art Walks. This activity is generally done at the start of a lesson to introduce a concept, artist or genre. Students are actively engaged in discussions and interpreting what they see. I also like to make cultural connections when I can……did I tell you, I love my art reproductions!

    • Alecia Eggers

      Awesome idea Linda! Great way to get those critical thinking skills going!

  • Mary Reel

    I’m sitting here laughing because I know that there is a cache of slides of reproductions in my cabinet! Like I can ever use slides! I’m sure there is no projector in this building!

    • Alecia Eggers

      But just think of the cool, up-cycled projects you could do with those old slides! :)

  • Debbie R.

    A great idea for hanging up posters which have a slippery laminate or coating is to use a nail file or sand paper on the back. Give it a little rub and the mounting tabs stick right to it.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Thanks for the tip Debbie!

  • Claire

    I have a collection of portraits of artists / artist’s information that I use to hang above tables until told it was a fire hazard… no more hanging anything from the ceiling. So at the start of school this year, I hung all the portraits / info out in the hallway leading to my room with a reproduction of the artists’ works underneath. It looked like a mini museum and the students enjoyed perusing the art. I use E-Z up clips to hang work whenever possible.

    • Alecia Eggers

      LOVE the mini museum idea! What a great way to have stuff up in the hallway at the beginning of the year (before any art is made!).

  • HipWaldorf

    We just transitioned to an Early Childhood Center, so I teach first grade all week. I kept my small world wide artists bulletin board up, but everything else was pulled off the walls. I realized I needed to cut out the basic shapes, but I have nothing with words and no posters because most of the first graders do not read until the end of first grade. I have a Waldorf background, so I have really re-embraced this approach with first grade and am keeping the visuals to a minimum unless I am teaching a specific artist, then their work is on my easel or on the overhead screen. I feel the class is much calmer and has less distraction and as we know first graders are easily dreamy! (I do miss the humor of the 6th graders!) I have all my posters and visuals on hand in case.

  • Julie McNulty

    I really like your poster of Art Room Voice Levels! Could you please post a close up photo of it? I want to make one for my art room!

  • kathleenMK

    I’m old school and like my prints better than technology that often doesn’t project in the true colors. it’s easier to display several prints to compare or contrast with prints. The challenge is the new push for posting all sorts of verbage- pencil sharpening procedures to student objectives and 7 different classes a day. My whiteboard gets crowded.I post things on easels and cabinet doors. I do use on-line resources but prints are what they can take time to refer to through out a project. Now the overhead transparencies and slides are just wasting space.

    • Alecia Eggers

      It is a challenge! There are so many great informational posters (and also the ones we need to have up) that space fills up quickly! Great idea with the easel…easily changeable!

  • Jenette Noe

    I usually don’t need poster reproductions because I look up free versions online. I love Google Art Project because you can pull up super HD digital photos of masterworks around the globe and zoom in so close you can see the brush strokes. I like this tech tool because it allows my students to see the artwork up close with details that get lost in print reproductions.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Wow that sounds awesome! I’ll definitely have to check it out!

  • Kendall Gamelin

    I use my posters and reproductions in displays outside of my room. I have also done Artwalks with my students. I love them and so do my students! I can’t keep up images all class on my Smartboard, so I use these as inspiration.

  • phyl

    I’m a year retired now, but I always used prints. I would hang prints all over the place based on what we were learning about – whether it was a particular artist, or a particular subject (such as self-portraits) or a particular art movement, and leave them up for a few weeks. We looked at them, compared and contrasted, and the kids were able to to examine them in detail. I would see kids looking at them all the time, and they learned a lot from the prints, way more than from a fleeting image on a screen.

  • Dana

    I am a new teacher with zero budget for things like this. What would you recommend for developing resources on a dream and a wish?

    • Alecia Eggers

      I would definitely say if you have a projector, Pinterest and the Internet are your best asset. Otherwise maybe check around with other art teachers who may not be using some of their posters and you can do a swap!

  • Idie Weinsoff

    Sometimes I hang art posters on bulletin boards in the halls that are in transition- after I’ve taken one batch down and before I hang the next up.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Good idea Idie!

  • MrsStreetman

    I use art reproductions to enhance my weekly art history lessons. Each Monday we study a different “Monday Master”. In addition to showing digital images on the smart board, I also have a bulletin board in my room that is the “Master Artist Spotlight” where I display a few reproductions from that week’s Monday Master. Having those there when we have a verbal review is a great visual cue for the students and helps them recall much more information! (I teach middle school art)

  • Suann Evans

    Kinda joining this conversation a little late, but how does everyone store and organize their prints? I inherited a huge collection from the teacher that retired before me. I don’t even know what all I have. I need to figure out how to catalog them so I can use them. Would love some kinda digital or app catalog system. I have this fabulous resource just piled in stacks and drawers. Help!

    • Alecia Eggers

      Hi Suann – it’s never too late to join the conversation! I have those large poster drawers similar to these:
      I am working my ways towards alphabetizing them by last name of artist, but also have a drawer for cultures/unit themes. I also have started a digital list of all posters I do have so I can quickly scroll instead of dig!

      • Suann Evans

        I have to start a digital list! Are you just using a spread sheet or is there a good app? I have most of my book in an app that I scanned the Ibsn codes. Just hoping there is something out there!

        • Alecia Eggers

          I just use a spreadsheet but let me know if you find out about an app!

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  • jb Doodle

    I’m a little late on the discussion but as I’m moving into my art room previously occupied by a different teacher. I am trying to catalog and organize supplies to my preferences. I have tons of transparencies …..TONS!!!

    Anyway, I’m a big fan of the Evernote App. I have been taking “document” photos of the transparency index and adding these photos to a notebook dedicated to transparencies and prints. I can then search my notes and Evernote will scan the document and highlight the words in the document that were in my search.

    Quick and Easy Peasy!

  • Stephen Smith

    Does anybody know the name of the company that makes those large reproductions? I’m moving into a brand new art room and I have NO posters! I used them all the time in my last classroom as well and can’t remember the name of the company that created them. Was is DAVIS?

    • Alecia Eggers

      Hey Stephen, I would check both Davis and Crystal Productions for the large posters.
      Good luck!