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Taller Juvenil

A studio where museum learning could be focused was essential to the 15,000 students who visited El Museo del Barrio every year. School children arrived for morning tours of the galleries, followed by art activities that reenforced the learning that had taken place while viewing the exhibitions. Taller Juvenil was built to create an alternative learning environment — an environment outside the classroom — where museum educators and children could learn using art materials. The learning was tactile and sensory. A collection of teaching artifacts was passed around to encourage tactile exploration of pieces resembling those in gallery show cases.

Children working with texture toolsChairs and tables scaled to the correct size for elementary school students were designed allowing plenty of space for elbow room and working area on and around the tables. The space was lit by large windows on either side of the room. Colorful paintings by the children decorated the room, as well as posters featuring cultural artifacts from the teaching collection. Students were encouraged to ask questions, make comments, and be supportive of each others work. During the hour and a half workshops the children worked with clay, marking pens, oil pastels, collage materials, paint, and other tactile art supplies. Activities were led by museum educators.

The space, which measured approximately 1,400 sq. ft. also served as a workshop for teacher’s training activities. It was also equipped with two sinks, a kiln, a printing press and metal shelving for storage. Folding doors could be closed to divide the space into two workshops of about 650 sq. ft. each.

Fourth grade class works with texture tools and low fire white clay to detail Taino Ballplayer; El Museo del Barrio, New York.