Hands-on Art: The Artist as Explorer

April 11, 2018 by

AIE student preparing a plate in the intaglio studio.

For thirty-three years Women’s Studio Workshop’s Art-in-Education (AIE) program has welcomed local fourth through ninth grade students into our studios. We have the pleasure of seeing them deepen their connection to artmaking while learning from the expertise of working artists. This year is no exception.

During our spring session, elementary and middle school students spend a full day in our studios for four weeks learning the fundamentals of silkscreen, papermaking, and intaglio. This year, with their guiding theme The Artist as Explorer, students played with materials and concepts that made tangible new ways of seeing and understanding their world.

Each studio served as a catalyst for a thematic project. In silkscreen, gathering statistical data from student-derived survey questions was coupled with visual renditions of the information. Art-in-Ed Artist’s Book resident Carlotta Origoni and Studio Manager Chris Petrone guided the class through a three-layer print, starting with their question and ending with combined image and text representations of the results. The process asked kids to engage with each other while uncovering humorous and interesting facts about themselves.

Down in our paper studio, Workspace Resident Kristen DeGree taught kids to sculpt, layer, and paint with pulp. Young artists created imaginary, topographical landscapes, which were produced in collaboration between both grades. These structural pieces popped with color and styles, mirroring in an imaginative way, their classroom study of colonial exploration and geography.

Across the hall, students in our intaglio studio were asked to consider what would be of value for them to take into the future. With assistance and demonstration from AIE Workspace Resident Kyung Eun You, students composed sequential, narrative-based images utilizing key elements of etching such as color, line work, and texture to convey their ideas.

To conclude the program, student work will be shown in our gallery from April 10th – 27th. Be sure to join us for our Open House on Saturday, April 14th, from 2-4 pm. This is an opportunity to support these young artists and see their work in the studios where it was created. Each group of students showed excitement and true exploration of their ideas which remains palpable in their art.

Marisa Malone is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been published in Selfish Magazine and BlazeVox Journal   and she has self-published two chapbooks of poetry.