Studio in a School was founded on the belief that all children deserve to reap the widely recognized benefits of a quality visual arts education. In its forty-year history, the Studio has been dedicated to this singular purpose with a mission to foster the creative and intellectual development of young people through quality visual arts programs directed by professional artists, as well as to collaborate with and enhance the capacity of those who provide and support arts programming for children and youth across New York City. Its New York City Schools Program delivers in-class instruction across multiple grades and in varied media, primarily for students who otherwise would not have access to a quality visual arts curriculum. It also maintains a robust program of professional development for educators, expanding their expertise while solidifying the important role of arts education within their schools. Meanwhile, its Studio Institute undertakes initiatives to identify and document best practices in arts education, including the integration of the arts with other areas of classroom study and new models for effective teacher training.
A 2021 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported Studio in a School’s Art in Our Community project, an initiative of the Long Term Partnerships Program. The program aimed to deepen the cultural responsiveness of Studio in a School’s visual arts curricula by engaging students in the artistic life of their community. Units of study in varied arts media focused on the history of local artists and their engagement in cultural movements, and connected students to the artists, artworks, and cultural resources in their neighborhoods. Studio partnered with five Title I schools, working with one to two grades per school to engage up to 400 students through instruction; seventy-five teachers through professional development; and 100 family members through workshops and exhibitions.
edA 2020 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported the Studio’s Long Term Partnerships Program (LTP), which serves up to 9,000 students attending twenty-five Title I (high poverty) schools in all five boroughs each year. Through the LTP, Studio NYC makes a multi-year commitment to public schools that have little or no visual arts education, establishing visual arts instruction across all grades and embedding practices of art-making and art literacy into each school’s curriculum, culture, and community. In addition to teaching standards-based art classes for students, the Studio NYC Artist Instructor leads professional development sessions for classroom teachers, family art-making workshops, and celebratory exhibitions of student artwork. In 2020, substantial budget cuts jeopardized the ability of many LTP partners to continue to work with Studio NYC at the same level, or even to work with the organization at all. Given the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was more important than ever that students had the chance to experience the power and joy of the visual arts – to imagine, create, express, and reflect.
A 2017 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported the Studio’s Long Term Program, which annually serves twenty-five schools and up to 10,000 students in Title I (high poverty) schools. Through an in-depth partnership lasting a minimum of five years, the Long Term Program establishes a children’s art studio in the school, transforming the school’s curriculum and culture. The grant was designated specifically to the Studio’s program at PS 256K in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, a high-poverty school where all students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. Before its partnership with the Studio began in 2016, PS 256 had not had an art teacher in over five years.