Ask Shelley Bolton what she likes about her new CMDS art room and her answer is concise: Space.
“I have space to do stuff away from the paint,” says Mrs. Bolton, CMDS Grade School Art Teacher.
Both art rooms on the CMDS campus received extensive renovations over the summer. Mrs. Bolton teaches 2nd through 6th grades in hers, and Meghean Warner teaches 2K through 1st grade downstairs.
“The kids are happier because it’s so conducive to the work we’re doing,” Mrs. Warner says of her new space.
Both rooms are filled with natural light. The sink areas are more accessible, allowing children to be more self-sufficient at clean up. There’s the new furniture: moveable and customizable tables for work and special projects; Hokki ergonomic stools that allow kids to keep moving even while sitting still; and stacks to store rows upon rows of student work.
And then there’s the storage. Both rooms got a cabinetry overhaul. Mrs. Bolton says it’s resulted in a real improvement to her students’ work because she can now access so many more materials quickly and easily. There’s also room to plan and work in groups.
“It’s given them the space to expand their creativity,” Mrs. Bolton says.
Thanks to storage and cabinetry, Warner is able to lead larger projects and store alternative materials. Case in point, her 1st graders’ 5-foot Memphis skylines, which were partially painted with brooms.
Both teachers have put their own artistic flair in their space. Mrs. Bolton painted a Folk Art stencil on one of her walls, and Mrs. Warner opted for a Pop Art-style deer head.
STEAM Initiative realized with new spaces
Mrs. Bolton has especially enjoyed integrating her room with the new Engineering Lab, which is just across the third-floor breezeway. She says the students, specifically those in Upper School, feel a freedom when they’re working in both spaces.
“It really is a pretty open atmosphere now that we back up to the E Lab,” she says. “We borrow stuff back and forth, and the kids love the ownership, like it’s home.”
They are also fully integrating a cross-curricular approach. For example, 2nd graders were studying Greek architecture in their CKLA domain. They were drawing column designs in E Lab. And in Art, they did black-and-white study representing each of the three types – Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Melding the classroom with Encore is a key component of the CMDS STEAM Initiative.
“It’s a memory, not just a memorization, now that they’ve had their hands in it,” Mrs. Bolton said.
The art renovations are the result of a record breaking 2015-16 Spirit Fund. Money raised through last year’s Spirit Fund paid for construction in both art rooms, the Grade School Engineering Lab and the Early Childhood Discovery Lab.