Re-Imagining the Studio Art Classroom: From Tired to Inspired


Angela Allmond
IDIA Spaces


1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

Invite! Delight! Inspire!    Is it surprising to find out that few studio art classrooms are invoking these responses from students and teachers today? It sounds impossible for a place in which art is made to be tired and uninspiring, but a picture is worth a thousand words and the photographs presented in this session will say what needs to be said. Art classrooms, new and old, have not been re-imagined for years, if ever, and it is time to consider a complete change in the way that these classrooms are designed and equipped. This session will use the data from a freshly completed dissertation research project that found design problems in studio art classrooms located in schools opened as recently as Spring 2017. The conclusion of this research is not that educators, architects and school facilities planners do not intend to design great facilities in which students and their teachers can enjoy painting, sculpting, gluing, and drawing, among so many other creative activities, in a delightful space. This is, without a doubt, the hope. The findings of this study will demonstrate, rather, that the designs, furnishing options, and practical day to day operations in a studio art classroom often do not work well and are in dire need of revamping. Specific examples of design issues will be presented on topics such as built-in cabinetry, sinks, storage rooms, technology, a variety of furnishings, outdoor studio spaces, and classroom footprint. Other examples will include site-specific design decisions that have had unintentional, but lasting negative impacts on students and teachers. This session will offer ideas for both renovation and new construction projects and seeks to invite, delight, and inspire educators, architects and school facilities planners on ways to re-imagine the studio art classroom.

Learning Objectives:
  • The National Art Education Association’s Design Standards for School Art Facilities will be examined and discussed in order to understand how the field of art educators views the needs of the studio art classroom.;
  • Attendees will learn about specific design issues found in current studio art classrooms in the U.S. and how they effect students and teachers.
  • Ideas will be offered for re-imagining studio art classrooms and changing perceptions about the design and arrangement of these spaces.;
  • The call to Invite! Delight! Inspire! art students will be shared and experienced by all.
Primary Competency:

Assessment of the School Facility: The ability to objectively evaluate a learning environment post-occupancy and utilize that data to improve future projects. Implements a plan for educational commissioning that provides guidance on how to use and maximize the learning environment to meet the foundational vision established in the planning phase.

Primary Domain:

Context: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the circumstances that form the setting for the design and construction of specific learning environments and characteristics that distinguishes the project from other applications.

Secondary Domain:

Learning: Content of this session/workshop will focus on how we learn and/or how the physical environment responds specifically to various methods of instruction, pedagogies, learning styles, or learning trends.

Additional information:

This session seeks to inform the A4LE community of the recent findings of a dissertation research project related to the current state of studio art classrooms as identified in 18 K12 public and private schools in 3 different regions of the U.S. for the purpose of proposing new approaches to designing these spaces. Photographs and organized groupings of data that tell the story of the practical post-occupancy issues that students and teachers experience will be discussed. A re-imagined studio art classroom will be articulated as well and a call to invite, delight and inspire students in the art classroom will be explained and encouraged.