From the playground to the artist’s studio
Children and young people are creative and want to make things. For this to happen, their creativity needs to be nurtured, ideally in the place where they spend most of their time – namely in school.
So the Crespo Foundation thought: Why not simply bring art and culture directly to children in the playground? Together with the Hessen Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs (HKM) and the Hessen Ministry of Science and the Arts (HMWK), the flying artist’s room was launched in 2018 as a new cultural education programme in schools.
The flying artist’s room – a mobile live-in studio – and the artist’s presence allow the arts to be encountered in everyday school life and to provide inspiration for the school’s development as part of an integrated education.
In the course of its collaboration with an artist for a period of two years, the school can develop teaching models and change structures so that artistic practice and aesthetic experiences are embedded in everyday life at school, even after the flying artist’s room takes off for another school.
In addition, a bond of trust can develop between the artist in the flying artist’s room and the students and teachers that gives them the scope to express their own personality.
In the 2023/2024 school year a total of six flying artist’s rooms are taking up residence in rural parts of Hessen on the playgrounds of Stadtschule Schlüchtern, Adolf-Reichwein-Schule in Pohlheim, Mittelpunktschule Gadernheim, Gymnasium Nidda, Paul-Moor-Schule in Wehretal-Reichensachsen and Walter-Lübcke-Schule in Wolfhagen. On board are Lena Skrabs and Paloma Sanchez-Palencia from the artist duo g.a.d.o., and artists Fabian Knöbl, Hassan Sheidaei, Damaris Wurster, Ghaku Okazaki and Dawid Liftinger.
Each flying artist’s room takes up residence in the playground of a secondary school in rural Hessen for two years.
The mobile live-in studio was specially designed for the Flying Artist’s Room by the architects Prof. Nikolaus Hirsch and Prof. Dr. Michel Müller. The building, which is around 7.50 x 11 metres and has an area of approximately 80 square metres, was originally closed to the outside on three sides, but is now closed on two sides, and has a small-format wooden shingle façade. Inside there is a generously proportioned studio illuminated from above by natural light, whose clear height of up to 3.50 metres exceeds standard container dimensions and therefore again creates a studio ambiance.
Stadtschule Schlüchtern is a combined vocational and general secondary school in the Main-Kinzig district and has around 750 students and 60 teachers. It is certified as having a specialism in music and in the 2021/2022 school year was included in Hessen’s schools of culture programme.
Mittelpunktschule Gadernheim consists of a primary school and a vocational and general secondary school in Lautertal in the district of Bergstraße, and is attended by around 400 children and young people aged between 6 and 17 from four municipalities. As its name suggests, it performs an integrating role in the region.
Adolf-Reichwein-Schule in Pohlheim
Adolf-Reichwein-Schule is an integrated comprehensive school in Pohlheim in the district of Gießen that has around 620 students from grades 5 to 10. As well as offering vocational and general secondary school diplomas, ARS also provides students with the opportunity to transfer to grade 11.
Around 1,000 students in grades 5 to 13 from 83 towns and villages are taught at Gymnasium Nidda. Due to its proximity to the pond, it is also known as the school on the pond. As creativity is required in all areas, the school community has embarked on becoming certified as a school of culture.
Paul-Moor-Schule in Wehretal-Reichensachsen is a special needs school and an all-day school (Profile 3). It is the only school in the Werra-Meißner district focusing on cognitive development. A total of 52 teachers teach 142 students who have very different learning needs in team teaching.
Walter-Lübcke-Schule in Wolfhagen is a cooperative comprehensive school with an academic sixth form in the district of Kassel and has around 1,350 students. With its renaming as Walter-Lübcke-Schule in 2020, the school community wanted to send a clear message about democracy and social cohesion.
The artist-in-residence bursary
This bursary is intended for artists who, alongside their own creative work, have experience of cultural educational activity with children and young people in schools. It includes use of the live-in studio on the school playground and comes with a living allowance of 2,500 euros per month. In addition, the artist receives an allowance of 6,000 euros per year for material and expenses for their own work and for their collaboration with students.
The 2023/2024 school year
Since the start of the 2022/2023 school year, six flying artist’s rooms have taken up residence on six playgrounds in Hessen.
Artists Paloma Sanchez-Palencia and Lena Skrabs have been working together as artistic duo g.a.d.o. since 2016. They moved into the flying artist’s room at Stadtschule Schlüchtern at the beginning of the 2022/2023 school year and are now starting their second year there.
The designer and visual artist Fabian Knöbl deals with forms of expression using different media and disciplines and has been in residence at the flying artist’s room at Mittelpunktschule Gadernheim since the 2022/2023 school year.
Hassan Sheidaei has been occupying the flying artist’s room at Adolf-Reichwein-Schule in Pohlheim since this school year. Prior to that he spent a year as a flying artist at Verbundschule Selters/Brechen which he was very sad to leave.
Damaris Wurster is the first flying artist at Gymnasium Nidda. In her artistic work Wurster, who likes to see herself as a researcher, engages in abstraction in photography and digital compositions.
As artist-in-residence Ghaku Okazaki has been occupying the flying artist’s room on the playground of Paul-Moor-Schule in Wehretal-Reichensachsen since this school year. He loves creating artworks that portray hybrid forms comprising people, animals, plants and brightly coloured beings.
Dawid Liftinger moved into his flying artist’s room at Walter-Lübcke-Schule in the district of Kassel in the summer of 2023. He wants to offer students and teachers there an open space for experimenting, trying things out and improvising.
The collaboration between the artist and the school
For three days a week, in close collaboration with teachers at the school and spanning classes and subjects, the artists develop artistic approaches to open up new aesthetic perspectives on curriculum content for children and young people. On top of this, the artists also provide open studio situations for their collaboration with students.