Out of Ice Breakers? Try a TASK Party!

Do you loathe some of those beginning of the year ice breakers? Do you dread ill-conceived team-building activities? Maybe it is time to freshen up your back-to-school staff meetings with a TASK Party!

::::: You Are Officially Invited! :::::


WHAT: A TASK Party is a community-building piece of performance art. It was first started by conceptual artist Oliver Herring. All participants agree to two rules — one: to write down a task on a piece of paper and add it to the box, and two: to draw a task from the box and complete it. It is anonymous and all tasks are open to interpretation.

WHERE: Anywhere! You can hold this event in a classroom or staff room. It can be done during a short period of time, or over the course of your school year. A set of supplies of any kind (markers, pencils, paper, rubber bands, etc.) can be provided, but participants can use anything they want to complete the task. Many tasks are action-oriented and need no supplies. Once a task is complete, the paper should be posted to create a collage of completed tasks.

WHEN: Try it on the first day of class with your students. The process is truly self-regulating. Inappropriate tasks are rarely written because participants also have to draw and complete one. Or try it at your first staff meeting. Get teachers into a creative mix!

WHY: A task party is a way to build creative capacity for students and adults. It is a fun and accessible way to get them interacting and working through the creative process in groups. At the end, it is an awesome feeling (especially for those who feel they are ”not good at” art) to experience being part of a large-scale art project.


Participants can put anything in the box, which is what makes a task party so much fun. Tasks can be more straightforward, “Find the three shiniest things in the school,” or totally off-the-wall, “Open an ice cream shop.” Check out these fun photos from a task party at last year’s NAEA National Convention.



So tell us, what task would YOU put in the task box?

Do you have any other creative ice breakers to share? We’d love to know.

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah Dougherty, a visual arts curriculum coordinator, is a former AOEU Writer and elementary school art educator. She loves working with diverse populations to bring art into students’ homes, communities, and everyday lives.

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