Portrait Gallery

2-40 people

The Portrait Gallery is a lively and enjoyable icebreaker activity that encourages participants to engage with one another by creating collaborative portraits of each member. This activity fosters a sense of unity within the group, as each participant receives a portrait drawn by their peers. Additionally, the resulting collection of portraits is visually striking and can be displayed in the space.

Workshop steps


Divide the group into two equal parts, named group A and group B. Have group A create an inner circle facing outwards, while group B forms an outer circle facing inwards. Ensure that each individual in group A is directly facing someone from group B.


Group A members, the inner circle, will be the subjects of the portraits, while Group B members will be the artists. Instruct Group B to act as portrait artists for Group A. Ensure that each Group B member has paper and a marker, starting by writing their subject's name at the top of the paper. Provide a variety of thick, colorful markers for them to use.


Start the activity by having Group B artists draw Group A subjects in 10-15 second intervals. After each interval, the leader shouts "Rotate!" prompting artists to move one step to the left and pass their paper to the person on their right. This way, each artist faces a new subject holding their portrait. Remember, artists should keep their markers while rotating.


Switch positions every 10-15 seconds until all artists in Group B have moved around completely. At this stage, each portrait should be well-formed (and quite untidy). Once the artists return to their initial subject, the rotation stops, and they can give the portrait back to that individual.


Swap the groups and do it again. Turn the artists into subjects and vice versa.

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