SAIIER 2019:Kalabhumi Open Art Studio

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SAIIER 2018-19
Kalabhumi Open Art Studio

by Nele

The open studio project in Kalabhumi has been created to give a chance to students of all ages to work and learn art in a well-equipped studio. It has been set up as a collaborative space to facilitate interaction between artists and interested students, to allow a ‘real live’ learning experience.

Many people at some point in their life feel the need to express themselves through art. Often this need is not developed because either one thinks one is not good enough, or because one does not have the necessary facilities. The Kalabhumi Art Studio offers an atmosphere that is free of judgment where a diverse range of skills can be developed. The guided classes are free and grouped according to level in order to overcome these difficulties. Students from Transition School and Last School appreciate the small groups with individual help and professional equipment and the art studio atmosphere.

Some artists like to come to the studio’s free sessions to be able to exchange ideas and gain inspiration. The studio is there to provide all those who wish to pursue art, for whichever reason, and opportunity to do so. There are currently three artists teaching groups of students ranging from ages 9 to 75. The classes are planned and guided and there is also one afternoon set aside for more experienced students to come and work on their own projects, while exchanging ideas and critiques and so inspiring one another. The studio is fully equipped with professional art materials to enable students to try out different techniques with quality materials.

Kalabhumi Open Art Studio 2019 2.jpg

Activities of the year:

In the last year we had 9 groups with three to five students in each group:

  • 3 groups with school students aged up to 14 years.
  • 4 groups comprised of teenagers and young adults.
  • 2 groups with adult students.

The space is comprised of two studios, as well as a new storeroom/studio, and a covered outdoor space. A ceramic studio will be built this summer to increase the range of skills on offer to include ceramics.

We are three teachers:

  • Stephanie teaches the younger students.
  • Sabrina leads the ceramic and painting and art appreciation.
  • Nele offers painting, sculpture and art appreciation.

Sabrina and Nele also work as artists in the studios.

There are different courses for children and adults, some are more technique oriented, others are more free expression. Art can be a way to concentrate, understand, to see the world from different angles, to let go of ones old patterns and dare the new, unknown.

The studio aims to create a space in which this is made possible in a free environment with guidance from the teachers.


The studio serves at a space to meet, explore art, exchange ideas, learn and teach. The group dynamic is very helpful to inspire and find new ideas.

Students were able to work and complete their portfolios and apply to art school. Others came to interact and work on their art as a way to relax and find their creativity.

In our class discussions it emerged how important it is for the art to observe with attention, to get inspired, find ways and techniques to materialise an idea, with methods like aquarelle, sketch, acrylic paint, spray paint with stencils, sculpture in clay or paper mache, collage and many more.

We worked on composition and proportions by doing specific exercises in life drawing and still life study. We discussed the different ‘styles’ of art, from realism to expressionism, abstract, pop art and conceptual art, to be able to better understand the infinite possibilities of expressing oneself.

­We provided skills to enable the students to accomplish their intention whether it was sketching, working on interaction of colours for the painting class or creating a sculpture.

Research highlights:

This year we taught clay work and sculpture to students from Last School. This ceramics course focused on the technique of pinching and coiling to build all possibilities of shapes and forms. During these sessions, discussions and debates arose around functionality versus form and art versus craft. With the adult group we explored the technical aspect of making sculptures, from the type of clay used to ensuring the sculpture does not crack while drying or firing.

These courses will be further expanded when our new ceramic section is completed after the summer.

Kalabhumi Open Art Studio 2019 1.jpg

In the painting class for adults the main focus was on composition and techniques of how to use the different paint materials. The younger children worked on drawing skills and perspective, and graphic collage. We also included art history and discussions on art theory in all the classes where possible. Students learned how to apply layers of colours and how to use the theory of colours to enhance the vibrancy and create a feeling of space. I also encouraged students to let go of the feeling to have to succeed to make a ‘nice’ artwork, continuing to work in known patterns, and instead to try new and daring painting techniques. Often it is difficult for the student to work independently, as they feel there is a risk that they might ruin the artwork. The studio atmosphere wants to help tackle that fear of not succeeding.

In this context we worked intensively on expressive brushstrokes, calligraphy and energy lines. This supports the more intuitive, expressive way of painting. This helped the artwork to come alive. It is the balance between the free intuitive and the organising mind that creates the best work.


This year we increased the space available with the addition of a new storeroom/studio. This is a wonderful expansion of the project and will create more space for work and better order and storage for the equipment. This comes just in the right time, as with the new activity of ceramics we will require a lot of space.

The ceramic activity has attracted a new set of students, and it has been great to be able to work with clay as a new medium. It opens up a whole new horizon of sculptural projects.

Next year all classes will be scheduled outside of school hours. Previously the students would attend courses at the studio as part of the school schedule, but this became increasingly more difficult to coordinate with the projects going on in the regular classes. To have separate classes in the studio will ensure that the projects can be completed without interruptions, which can be frustrating for both student and teachers. As we have three teachers and the space to have more classes at the same time, classes for those students who are interested will be scheduled after school or on Fridays, so there will be no issues of timings for the students.


It has been good year, with a lot of innovation. The ceramic work has been a wonderful addition to the activities, as has the addition of the new storeroom/studio.

I also hope to be able to buy a projector so we can use the new storeroom/studio for projections, as it is an easy space to darken with curtains. This will make art history classes possible, with screening of slideshows and art documentaries. It will also make the work with light projection art possible. I am very much looking forward to sharing this with the students.