Portrait Gallery

#community #real-time #icebreaker #online #on-campus

The Portrait Gallery is an energetic and fun icebreaker game that gets participants interacting by having the group collaboratively draw portraits of each member. The activity builds a sense of group because it results with each participant having a portrait drawn of him/herself by the other members of the group together. It also has a very colorful visual outcome: the set of portraits which can be posted in the space.

Timeframe: 30-060 min.
Group size: 2 - 40+
Facilitation level: Beginner
Comfort Zone: Safe
Materials: A4 paper or cardstock


  1. Split the group into two equal halves, called group A and group B. Group A forms an inner circle facing outward; group B forms an outer circle facing inward. Each person in group A should be facing one person in group.
  2. Members of Group A, the inner circle, are the subjects of the portraits. Group B are the artists. Explain that group B will be the portrait artists for group A. Every member of group B should have paper and marker in hand and begin by writing the name of their subject at the top of the paper. There should be many different colors of markers and they should be as thick as possible.
  3. When the activity begins, the artists in group B begin drawing the subjects in Group A. They do so in 10-15 second intervals. After each interval, the leader calls “Rotate!” and the artists rotate one step to the left while handing their paper to the person to their right. Thus, each artist is standing in front of a new subject with that subject’s portrait in his/her hands. When they rotate, the artists must keep their markers.
  4. Rotate at 10-15 second intervals until the artists in Group B have rotated all the way around. By this point, each portrait should be quite developed (and quite messy). When the artists arrive back at their original subject, the rotation ends and they may hand back the portrait to that person.
  5. Switch the groups and repeat. The artists become the subjects and visa versa.

Facilitator notes:
With an uneven number of participants a facilitator could step in as an “extra”, or make a group of three.

Link: https://toolbox.hyperisland.com/portrait-gallery