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“Sneeze Art” Teaches Kids about Health, Science, Visualization

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This piece of "sneeze art" shows paint droplets carried by sneezes. Photo courtesy Washington State University News & Media Relations

As avid supporters of art educators and art education, we were impressed by a recent story about a very timely “sneeze art” program that brings together health education, visual art, scientific experimentation, and information visualization.

The sneeze art was made by kids at the Washington State University Children’s Center in Pullman, Wash., which serves children of the university’s faculty, staff, and students, under a joint program with Pullman Regional Hospital called Health Education and Art (HEART).

Participants pretended to sneeze while squeezing bottles of paint. Each “sneeze” generated a cloud of droplets that traveled surprising distances before falling onto large sheets of paper placed on the floor, producing remarkably lovely multi-colored patterns. Spots where masks were placed on the paper remained droplet-free.

“The art room was a mess, but the kids had a fun, educational experience,” noted Center director Heather Havey. “It’s a cumulative education, where combining health education with art was easy for our teachers. Meaningful experience is more impactful and allows them to learn at their own rate.”

Art Program at Washington State University


The visual results were so striking that the instructors arranged for examples to be displayed at the hospital, where they’ve proved popular and given the youthful artists a taste of exhibiting their work. And the participating children got to talk and learn about staying healthy; the exercise also helped increase their understanding of why so many people are wearing masks these days.

Other HEART projects have involved mindfulness, kindness, and having students pass lengths of thread to one another, to create a 3-D representation of their interactions that demonstrates how contact tracing works.

These are great examples of STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), and we at Gallery System offer our congratulations to the students, teachers, and developers! 

Do you know of another art education program that deserves wider attention? Please let us know at