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 Hessian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs (HKM) and the Hessian 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 provide inspiration for the school’s development as part of an integrated education.

In the course of its collaboration with an artist lasting for at least one year, 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 develop their own personality.

The flying artist’s room is taking up residence in six schools in rural Hessen for the first time in the 2022/2023 school year: on the playgrounds of Einhard School in Seligenstadt, Lüdertal School in Großenlüder, Emsbachtal School in Niederbrechen, Schlüchtern Municipal School, Adolf Reichwein School in Pohlheim and Gadernheim Education Centre. On board are artists Christina Wildgrube, Eva Funk, Hassan Sheidaei, Ida (Szu-Ying) Hsu and Fabian Knöbl, plus the artistic duo g.a.d.o.


Band The Bottom Line, Foto: Jessica Schäfer

Overview

Duration
Each flying artist’s room takes up residence in the playground of a secondary school in rural Hessen for at least one school year.

The building
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 covering 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 compartmentalised 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. 

Einhard School in Seligenstadt
In this academic secondary school in Seligenstadt, a town on the Main river steeped in tradition and known as the home of the Frankish scholar Einhard, around 1,100 students from grade 5 to their final secondary-school examinations are taught by around 80 teachers. As a certified school with a specialism in music, Einhard School offers a broad selection of music clubs. There is also a good tradition of drama here.

Lüdertal School in Großenlüder
Lüdertal School in the heart of the countryside near Fulda is a general and vocational secondary school with around 350 students and 30 or so teachers. The full-day school has extensive offerings in the arts and sport, and offers additional educational support.

Emsbachtal School in Niederbrechen
Emsbachtal School is a full-day primary and integrated general and vocational secondary school in Niederbrechen. Just under 50 teachers teach 410 students here with a focus on vocational and cultural education.

Adolf Reichwein School
Adolf Reichwein School is an integrated comprehensive school in Pohlheim in the district of Gießen that has around 620 students. As well as offering vocational and general secondary school diplomas, the school also offers students the opportunity to transfer to grade 11.

Schlüchtern Municipal School 
Schlüchtern Municipal School 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 cultural schools programme.

Gadernheim Education Centre
Gadernheim Education Centre consists of a primary school and a vocational and general secondary school in Lautertal in the district of Bergstraße, which is attended by around 400 children and young people aged between 6 and 17 from four municipalities. As its name suggests, it encompasses different types of school in the area.

The artist-in-residence bursary
The 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 2,000 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 2022/2023 school year
Since the start of the 2022/2023 school year, six flying artist’s rooms have taken up residence for the first time on six playgrounds in Hessen.

The artists
Christina Wildgrube
Christina Wildgrube, an artist in printed graphics, lives in the flying artist’s room on the Einhard School playground in Seligenstadt.

Eva Funk
Berlin-based Eva Funk has been the flying artist at Lüdertal School in Großenlüder since the summer of 2021. Prior to this, the focus of her projects has been on the strengths of a united (urban) society, building culture and experience of urban nature.

Hassan Sheidaei
Hassan Sheidaei has occupied the flying artist’s room at Emsbachtal School since the 2022/2023 school year. His work includes videos and video installations as well as room installations and sculptures.

Ida
As artist-in-residence, Ida (Szu-Ying) Hsu, also known as Ida, is living in the flying artist’s room at Adolf Reichwein School in Pohlheim.

g.a.d.o.
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 Schlüchtern Municipal School in the summer of 2022.

Fabian Knöbl
The designer and visual artist Fabian Knöbl deals with forms of expression using different media and disciplines and moved into the flying artist’s room at Gadernheim Education Centre in the 2022/2023 school year.

The collaboration between the artist and students
In close collaboration with teachers across classes and subjects in the school, for three days a week the artists develop artistic approaches in order to open up new aesthetic perspectives on lesson content for the children and young people. In addition, the artists offer open studio situations for their collaborations with students.