Before & After

Some pieces of art capture a single moment in time, but an action scene can inspire us to think about what might have occurred before and what might happen after.

Select an artwork that features a dramatic scene, one that you want to know more about.

Larry Fink (American, b. 1941)
Pat Sabatine’s Eighth Birthday Party, April, 1977, 1977
Gelatin silver print
13 3/4 × 14 1/8 in. (34.93 × 35.88 cm)
The Floyd and Josephine Segel Collection, Gift of Wis-Pak Foods, Inc. M1986.303
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
© Larry Fink


Hunt for clues in the image that suggest answers to the investigative questions how, when, where, and why.


What do you think happened before the action you see in front of you? You may want to incorporate elements of storytelling such as setting and characters. Then write down what you imagine might take place after the scene shown.


Share your story with someone who chose the same artwork. Are your stories similar or do they paint different accounts of what may have happened?