And then, I've been thinking that we ARE talking about the basic elements
and principles of design here. To what extent do we treat our classrooms as
an interior design project? This question comes naturally to me. Years back
I got my bachelors in Interior Design (which I highly recommend BTW as a
model foundation and prep for Art Ed and a great exposure to art history,
multiple mediums and techniques.)
Anyway, in all my observations I've encountered many efficient and
functional classrooms, some excellent space planning, and some wondeful
displays but not yet a classroom that itself exemplified art.
I've been trying to work out a model of the classroom as art, (as a whole
unit exemplifying the principles and elements in action) as an installation.
Granted a lot of installation art is not also a functional workspace but
that isn't ruled out either.
Along the way I've been peeking in on the folks in Museum Education hoping
to find some models of exhibit design that could be applied to the
classroom. It's been a long morning. I've found a bit but not much.
The classroom is commonly a didactic environment. An art classroom is also a
working production studio as well as a gallery space. and, on occasion, a
daycare/playroom. And, more recently maybe a technology center. There is a
lot there for an artist to juggle.
But then you have to add to that access and public safety concerns (fire
inspectors). Daunting, huh?
The thing that has occured to me is that we learn an awful lot just from the
ambient culture and environment which surround us. Even without training we
learn to distinguish qualities which appears to be "right" because they are
the familiar ones and such learnings established in the environment are hard
to correct in the exclusivey didactic classroom. Better I think to establish
classroom environments which embody the values and information we are
striving to instill.
So--- If you were invited by a local museum to produce a a work of
installation art for a show (other artists would be submitting too) that
responded to the classroom environment and that theoretically could function
as a (novel) classroom and if you got the grant to cover the project... What
would your installation (classroom) look like?
I would assume that as a teacher/artist your installation would probably
reflect more practical concerns than someone else's submission for the
American Pavillion at the Venice Bienniale (sp?)
Or if that doesn't sound inspiring, suppose the same museum had another
comission for you: Create a classroom/exhibit for a year long "World Art"
series of installations the museum was planning. Visiting school children
woiuld use your classroom space for various art activities that the museum's
education staff will offer throughout the year. Much more practical.
Could you "live" in such a classroom? As an art teacher hat would make it
anyways --- a question for today