Classroom Spotlight: Open Art in the Art Studio

Open Art in the Art Studio

by Cathy Withrington and Rebekah Goldstein
“Open Art” is a beloved part of the art program at Brandeis. Beginning in third grade students have the opportunity to spend recess or study hall in the art room. 

During Open Art students work independently and autonomously in the art room. Because they have built a strong foundation of art skills over the course of their year, students are quite capable artists who have their own creative  interests and ideas. During open art students are able to explore materials, develop their own projects, and really delve into the process of creating art when there is no project set in place for them by a teacher. This is truly a place to let their imaginations run free. 

For example a group of 5th graders who are especially excited about painting created an open art “Painting Club”. During this time they experiment with different methods and painting processes - using tape to create abstractions, Pollack like splatters, and cutting up paintings to make collages. 

In 4th grade the bin full of recycled materials is extremely popular. Students love to make sculptures by using hot glue guns to glue together whatever they can find- paper towel rolls, bits of fabric, popsicle sticks, empty shoe boxes, etc. 

In 7th grade a group of students just draw and sketch. Another student has been using only neon paint and has made enough work to hang his own solo exhibition. We are always happy to guide students who have specific skills that they want to improve on or answer any pressing artistic questions. 

Open art also allows students to bond with other students who share their love of the arts. It serves as a space where students start to identify themselves as artists and create with others who do as well.