by Jane Thomas, MYP/DP Visual Art Teacher
With the gradual easing of COVID-19 campus visitor restrictions, our new Visual Art and Design learning space has been open to members of the YIS community, first for the IBDP Visual Art Exhibition opening on April 7 and then for the school Open House on April 16. Among the many comments overheard on these days were statements such as: “it’s like an art gallery”, “wow, it’s like a professional art studio”, and “I wish I’d had these opportunities, materials, equipment when I was at school”.
The central hub of the Art & Design space with studio-style classrooms lining both sides of the hub.
Welcome to the new Visual Art and Design space, envisioned in line with the wider goals of the school community. The idea: to create large and flexible learning spaces that accommodate a range of creative endeavors. The configuration of our new area is open plan, filled with light and directly leads to a large outdoor deck.
Kengo Kuma, the new campus’ principal architect has said the recent pandemic has “given us a great opportunity to see how humans should work, and architecture should change in response to people’s new lifestyles”. In the same way, our new space reflects the changing educational needs of our learners. Through more autonomy in the way they learn, students are encouraged to take risks and develop their resilience along with their cognitive and creative thinking behaviors. Our new studios enable students to inquire, understand and respond to the world around them through authentic project based learning experiences. The flow between rooms and the collaborative possibilities allow students to develop creative confidence and problem solving skills through exploring a range of media and techniques.
Students work at modular, flexible furniture in one of the classroom lining the central hub.
The elementary art and design classroom is fitted with 3-meter sliding doors.
There is a machine workshop and a ceramic kiln room to support our ability to create a wide range of three-dimensional projects. The 3D-printers, laser cutters and photography booths are available for students to access in a communal space. In addition, the Art and Design Hub acts as a breakout space, collaboration and lecture space as well as a “pop-up” art gallery.
Elementary students visit the Gr. 12 IBDP Art Exhibition displayed in the Art & Design space.
At any given time of the school day you can see diverse projects happening, such as Design students creating storage solutions and signage for our new campus, Art students forming pots on our pottery wheels and Grade 5 students working on their PYPX. The Elementary School students can witness Grade 12 students curating an exhibition and become inspired by their pieces. The inspiration is not just one way though; our older students can also reflect on the awe that the younger grades experience experimenting and exploring new materials and techniques. It is truly a dynamic environment and one that will continue to evolve with new imagination and innovation. We hope to make it a place accessible to the YIS community as a place of partnership and participation in Visual Arts and Design.