The Wilkinson School community recently celebrated the opening of its Creativity Lab. With pencils and paint and tools to tinker, it offers a nook for just about every student’s interest.
“I wanted to create little spaces for kids because they have so many different styles of learning,” art teacher Andrea Caturegli said.
Previously, Caturegli stored art supplies in her home garage. She would take them out and travel classroom to classroom. When donations came in to help her make the creativity lab come to life, she was thrilled.
As the school opened its first dedicated art room in years, Caturegli said she wanted it to embrace the school’s creative roots in a modern way. She designed it to help students understand and use the vast tools they have at their disposal to make art in the world.
“I want to have it be so much more than construction paper, scissors and crayons,” Caturegli said. “I was so lucky to be able to create this space. The school is a little smaller and we have the opportunity, so let’s go for it.”
There’s a spot for video screenings to introduce students to different artists, a magnetic, old-fashioned chalkboard where they can hang and feature their work, an individual desk with a ream of butcher paper for quiet crafting, a pegboard covered in hammers, screwdrivers and twine, a workbench so they can safely learn to use tools, and broad tables on casters. Her father made the latter.
“I have a very handy dad,” Caturegli said.
Like father, like daughter. Caturegli said a trip to the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco informed the design of her Creativity Lab.
“We went there as a class. We were all just so inspired by everything about it,” Caturegli said.
Fifth-grader Jonah Weber was struck by the changes in his former classroom.
Gray walls were replaced by swathes of bold felt in colors inspired by the school’s spring production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Harsh fluorescent lights now diffuse to a blue glow with fabric that Caturegli attached with magnets to the ceiling.
“I’m noticing all the differences,” Weber said.
In particular, he’s drawn to a Lego board attached to the wall, low enough so that students can access it from a cushy beanbag on the floor. Caturegli installed it so students can experiment with ideas for vertical sculptures.
“I’m looking forward to building on the Lego board,” Weber said. “I like to play with Legos at home, and it will be fun to play with them at school.”
Caturegli said she’s hopeful for the space’s potential. In addition to class time, she intends for it to serve as an open lab over lunch so kids are free to create.
“I just want it to be big and airy so they can work,” Caturegli said.