The Art Education Center, Inner-City Arts, provides high-quality art education to students giving them the tools and skills they need to succeed academically and personally. During the school day, after school, and on weekends, these students have the opportunity to go to Inner-City Arts to be taught by professional teaching artists in well-equipped studios, receiving hands-on instruction within the visual, performing, and media arts. The design study aims to develop a new design model for an Art Education Center which will enhance the social, emotional, and cognitive development in students between the ages of 13 to 18.
Rationale and Design Narrative
The existing building, 21 Ossington Avenue, has been redesigned into an Art Education Center. With its original post and beam construction, the connection between the first and second level creates a dynamic experience. In the center of the building, users can view the atrium and art gallery from the second level. It creates a connection between the two levels which ultimately emphasizes the subtle sense of intimacy within the space. The atrium is a flexible gathering space that holds performances and events within the center to showcase the students’ work and talent. It also allows students to socialize and provides additional seating when events are not being held. The surrounding art studios are located around the perimeter of the center, holding visual and performing arts on the lower level, and media arts and administrative offices on the second level.
Design Connection to Research
Due to Ontario’s cut to education, it has eliminated art programs out of the school curriculum. Students receive little access in the participation of these programs unless their school specializes in the arts has the funds to participate in specialized arts programs outside of school. Inner-City Arts provides the opportunity for students to learn about their own identity, evolve their creativity, increase their self-confidence, and increase their well-being. Learning through the arts also fosters integration of students’ cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor capacities, and provides students with a wide variety of learning styles to increase their learning potential. All in all, Inner-City Arts is a place where students can go to after school, on school trips, camps, and birthday parties.
Character of Space
Multi-functional and flexible spaces are a crucial element in the design of the Art Education Center. All studio spaces have an abundance of storage and modular furniture allowing the space to have multiple configurations. Cubby storage is also located within the studios allowing for personal items to be secured safely. Also, each art studio space has sinks for easy clean ups. Lockers are located within the central area allowing additional storage for students to place their backpacks or any other personal items. The colours used within Inner-City Arts have been taken from its original branding. The goal was to create a fun and energetic atmosphere where students are not afraid to express their creativity in an open and safe environment. The art gallery and the digital library graffiti wall displays students’ own art making them feel like they are even more a part of the Inner-City Arts community.
The Art Education Center provides a space for collaboration and learning through visual arts, dance, music, multi-functional studios, photography, computer use, cooking, and the digital library. The combination of these multi-purpose and dedicated spaces allow students to participate in the learning and practice of various art disciplines.There is also an open cafe space and multiple flexible gathering spaces that can hold performances and events to showcase the students’ work and talent. Additional design goals within the Art Education Center include: Modular & flexible design, private spaces, palette of postures, accessibility, connection to the community, connection to nature, way-finding, and efficiency & productivity.