Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Visit to Hamilton Elementary

We recently had the opportunity to visit Ms. Schick's classroom at Hamilton Elementary. We sat down for a while after school to talk about her studio space and how her students interact with it. Here are some excerpts from that conversation.

"I wanted a class that was sort of homey. Kids probably spend more time here than they do at home. I think it’s important. Also, for art, if you’re in a sterile environment or space, it’s not creative. It’s not inspiring." 

Let’s start with the paint table. How does it function?
"Well, like today, we were drawing with oil pastels and I didn’t want to just put the paint on the table because kids will just start painting. Painting is too much fun. I had everything set up over there. And then when they raised their hand, I would look at their work and then they could go get the paint. So, yeah, kids should be able to get their own things and put them away and not be waited on."

"That’s the supply table. That’s where the markers, glue, scissors, drawing books are. They really like how-to drawing books. When they are done with an activity, they can go get a how-to draw book. Kids really like those and I think it can really build your confidence in drawing."

I’m impressed with how many supplies you have.
"I’m a pretty good borrower and stealer. And, one of the moms in this arts group, said 'we all have wish lists, right?' So, she said let’s put a bin in the hallway, so people can donate. People always want to give, but they don’t want to email me or they don’t know where to bring it. Now they just walk in and throw it in this bin. And it’s been overflowing with stuff, which is really nice. The bin has a list and now I have pretty much everything on the list."

"We have an art gallery here too. It’s an art gallery/café. I rotate with the other art teacher here. Every other month we each do a show. I would consider that one of the top 5 spaces. There’s this really cool installation hanging in there now." (Students created bird sculptures and placed them in the school garden. The garden installation was documented and exhibited in the café gallery. The students also exhibited the bird sculptures in a flying sequence above the café tables.)


  1. Very Nice Art Room and Philosophy

  2. oops, this comment goes with the entry above. I will re-post it in the right place.

    However, I came here to add a comment to this piece. I am struck by the integration here of the art classroom and the school as a whole. The inspiration came from a book from the librarian. Which was developed with other books about the artist. The cafe space, where art work and documentation panels are both displayed is a strong link to artist in the world. We know that these connections build excitement and interest in the project.