An art studio needs a few basic features:
k a tile floor, because many encounters with art are messy
k a table with plenty of work space for four or five children and you, the
teacher k good light from both natural and artificial sources
k open storage shelves for art materials; these shelves should be at the
children’s level, and materials should not be kept in a closed cupboard
that is inaccessible to children.

k space for paintings to dry; this can be a drying rack, a clothesline from
which paintings can be hung, or a shelf system with lots of space for
large paintings.

k space for three-dimensional sculptures to dry; shelves spaced so there’s
plenty of room between them work best for this.

If your studio is within the classroom, find a way to set the studio
space apart. Some programs use tall, open shelving to create a “wall”
around the studio space. Other programs use simple free-standing screens
made of wood frames and sheer white fabric. Hanging sheer curtains, like
those designed for outdoor patios, are another option. Vines planted in a
box on the floor can grow up a trellis to create a living wall. The intention
in dividing the studio from the rest of the room is to invite focus and
attention, to communicate to the children, “You can immerse yourselves in
this work. You can linger here, uninterrupted. We honor your
work here.”
Make the studio space beautiful, a place that nourishes young chil-
dren’s spirit and senses. If you have the resources, store paint in clear
jars to bring vibrant color into the room. Bring lush green plants into
the space. Pour glitter into glass jars and set them on the window ledge
to sparkle in the sun. Arrange shells, rocks, or branches on shelves, or
hang them on the wall. Tuck unexpected treasures into the studio: a
vase of feathers, a basket of sea glass, or an abandoned bird’s nest. Store
paintbrushes in pottery jars. Create a space that stirs the imagination and
awakens the senses.

As you create your space, remember that a studio is as much about how
we think about art practices as it is a specific place. Barbara Burrington
writes that “studio” is “a name that implies work, study, and art all in a
breath” (2005, 56). A studio stands for a way of experiencing the possibili-
ties of art materials in community with others.

Setting Up the Space
As you prepare to invite children into the art studio, arrange the work
space in a way that creates focus and attention. The table ought to be
cleared of all but the materials you will need at the beginning of your
COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL General Guidelines for Studio Explorations 19