Kids Creative – Interactive Sensory Room – Is it Art?

The Sensory Room at Kids Creative

Is it Art? Or …. am I being a mother, teacher and small business owner setting up the learning environment for the day.

Is it Art?

As an art student 10 years ago this was the question I would ask and be asked time and time again. Be it a painting, sculpture, installation, performance the list goes on. The answer – I don’t know. what makes one thing art and another thing not? I looked at some “art” and thought seriously? is THAT art?

If something had the ability to make me think, feel or act differently about something then it also had the potential to be art.

The way I finally organised it in my own head was this: If something had the ability to make me think, feel or act differently about something then it also had the potential to be art. Some art looks great, some does not, some wants to make you feel uncomfortable, some wants to get a point across. And some, draws you in, makes you want to touch, play, and be a part of it.

I started to play with the idea of that relationship between the viewer and the art work. To explore how someone could interact with it, My dissertation and my degree show were both heavily influenced by this.

Fast forward 10 years, as a trained art teacher and a mother that focus has shifted hugely onto how I can engage my new audience. Kids!

As a trained art teacher and a mother that focus has shifted hugely onto how I can engage my new audience. Kids!

I have just opened up my own business, Sensory Art Studios for Kids. A place for kids to come and be creative through child led play, sensory experiences and art. Somewhere between a pottery place and a soft play place, where the focus isn’t on the end result but on the experiences enjoyed.

I find myself questioning again. The same old question. Is it Art?

Is what I am doing now the same as what I did for my degree?

Am I creating an installation as an artist and then inviting the children to engage with it, play with it and maybe become a part of the artwork as it changes and grows over the period of the installation.

 Or …. am I being a mother, teacher and small business owner setting up the learning environment for the day.

Am I offering children something which is rarely allowed with art, even with so called interactive art. To interact, touch, engage and learn.

What makes it a piece of art rather than a learning environment, (or why isn’t every learning environment classified as a work of art?!)

  1. The main purpose is to invite the audience to change the way they are thinking, feeling and acting.
  2. I have taken time to make the room/installation visually attractive, using a certain level of skill and craft in certain areas.

So, what do you think? Is it Art?

Leave your comments to join in the conversation below.

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Visual Questioning Resources for Children with Autism

Who, Why, What, When, Where

Visual Questioning Resources

for Children with Autism & Related communication difficulties.

I have been working on these questioning resources to use in my classroom, all handmade 🙂

My aim is to have an interactive wall in my room which will encourage and guide conversations and evaluations in Art.

I will use the Who, Why, What, When, Where and How to prompt the children to ask a certain type of question and then the Did, Is, Can, Might, Would and Will descriptive cards to help to expand the questions. I aim to use these questioning resources with a range of children with Autism and related communication difficulties to help to direct their questions in a visual way.

I am using the SCERTS model as a basis for this to enable developmentally appropriate expectations on the conversations we are expecting from them. My hope is that this will then transfer into other subject areas so that children are getting the same support across the board enabling them to generalise and practice their skills.