In our Open Studio environment, the instructors work as mentors, helping students choose an area of concentration and develop a plan for their art. Students are not given cookie cutter assignments to complete.
The main benefit of the Open Studio is that students are treated and respected as artists with varying interests, and as such, will have a choice in subject matter, media, concept, and composition. They do not work to carry out the instructor's vision, but work to develop their own vision. As a result, instruction is highly personalized, and although there is whole group and small group instruction, there is plenty of one-on-one instruction to aid students in their unique lines of inquiry.
In the Open Studio there is more room for creativity and innovation since students not only learn to solve problems, but they learn to find and define their own problems. Since the freedom of choice can actually hinder or stall creativity, the instructors will work closely with students helping them to create the limitations under which they will create their work.
Every student receives a visual journal/sketchbook in order to document their experience in the program as well as to develop the ideas and the concepts that will drive their work. Some students may choose to work primarily in the journal with little work outside of the journal, and others may use the journal as an integral part of their artmaking process as they brainstorm, sketch, and experiment in it. No matter the student's concentration, all students will use the journal as a reflective tool to help them think about, develop, and improve their work.