Drop-In Studio Allows for Creativity

The Montclair Art Museum offers a weekly drop-in studio focusing on different themes each month, taught by a variety of instructors from the museum.

Drop-in Studio at The Montclair Art Museum allows everyone to express themselves through art.

drop-in studio
Photo by Emma Gallof for The Montclair Dispatch.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, families braved the cold weather to come to the Montclair Art Museum’s drop-in art studio. Offered weekly, the studio allows families to come for however long they want, and to bond with each other while creating a physical piece of artwork. Starting in September of 2016 and running weekly until June of 2017, the studio’s success has been apparent with the amount of people attending each week. This week was extremely busy, and there was rarely an empty seat to be had.

The topic of this week’s class was landscape, and instructor Nanci Iovino led a project on colographs, which is a mix of a collage and a print. As families began coming in, Iovino would set them up with the supplies they needed and let their creativity begin to flow. While Iovino taught how to do the project, the drop-in studio allows attendees to take control of their own project and create something truly unique.

Students cut out a landscape with paper, and glued it onto another sheet of paper. Once finished, they placed another sheet of paper over their landscape and use a chunky crayon to make a rubbing, or print, of their landscape. Crayons, glue sticks, all types of scissors (design and straight) and hole punchers were available to people to use to create their landscapes.

As children and parents worked on their colographs, Iovino was extremely encouraging as she surveyed them while they worked, and gave advice for people who seemed to be stuck. High schooler, Anaiah Cupe, aided Iovino as both helped children create their projects and showed them different techniques. Iovino even helped the younger children learn as they named colors together.

The Helen and Bill Geyer Studio was constantly busy, buzzing as families joined in to make art. As it is a “drop-in” studio, attendees are not restricted to a certain time frame and can come and go as they please, spending as much or as little time on a project as they want. The drop-in studio is not only for children as parents often made their own pictures, too. Many adults also attended without any children, and Iovino tailored the project to their abilities.

As people began finishing their colographs, they were all hung on the wall to display to the class the works of other people. The varying levels of experience in the room made for an interesting array of results in the landscapes created.

The smiles on the kids’ faces as they made their landscapes showed the impact that the ability to create something all their own has. Each colograph was entirely unique to the person creating it, as one attendee made a beach landscape with a dolphin and its dolphin friend, while another created a forest landscape. These two works alone showcased the variety of the projects done at the drop-in studio at MAM.

By starting with a light color to a dark one, people could slowly see their landscapes come to life as they colored over and made a print. One couple, after seeing their picture, said, ”Oh that’s surprising. It looks really nice. I like it! I wasn’t expecting something like that!”

The drop-in studio at MAM allows families to bond over a creative outlet and gives people an affordable activity to do. Activities are different every week and instructors are often changing too, allowing for children to be able to come every week and continue to learn new things and create different pieces of art.

“I like bringing the community and the museum together,” said instructor Iovino. “This is a good way to get children exposed to the museum and the art experience.”

The Montclair Art Museum holds the drop-in art studio in the Helen and Bill Geyer studio every Sunday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The projects are open to people of every age and skill level, and are taught by en experienced MAM instructor. To learn more about the studio, you can go to their website at montclairartmuseum.org/learn-and-create/family-programs/new-drop-studio.

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