Everything I know as an educator I learned from my students — especially the 10 to 15-year olds. Teaching critical thinking, artistry, and communications leads to awakenings. It amplifies existing abilities and creates new breakthroughs.

Introducing Open Space Education. We’re supported, in part, by generous grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In our classes, students cultivate connections between art, their daily lives, and the great outdoors. Senses are heightened. Skills are learned and sharpened. We prepare students for enhanced success in any endeavor or challenge ahead.

Open Space collaborates with teaching artists for classes which draw directly from their passions, strengths, and experiences as professional practitioners. Classes meet after school or on weekends, year round, and explore open spaces throughout the city of Richmond VA.

We’re happy to offer sliding scale prices for families, just ask! Please contact us at bking.openspace@gmail.com with inquiries or if you would like to make a donation. 

With gratitude and curiosity,

BLYTHE KING

Director | Open Space Education | bking.openspace@gmail.com

Welcome

Why Artistry?

Elliot W. Eisner argues that artistry — the cognitive processes so important in the arts — are critically important in all walks of life (Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, Volume 47, Issue 3: 2003). He recommends that artistry serve as an important remedy to homogenized and mechanized forms of education. When we examine education on the worldwide stage, it’s easy to see the focus on technical skills and production proficiency. Our classes cultivate the American tenets of adaptability and innovation. We value emotional intelligence as well as IQ. Classes explore inquiry, reflection, debate, and craftsmanship — culminating in an online exhibition. Class size is limited to 9 students for ample attention.

Why Outside?

Open Space recognizes the advantages of open air classes. Being outdoors makes us more observant and aware. We develop a deeper connection to the world around us. Students enjoy the freedom and flexibility to roam. They easily engage in active learning experiences. In addition to more hands-on opportunities, learning in the great outdoors ensures fresh air and the health benefits associated with increased access to nature.

The Mayo Clinic has prescribed safe outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus spreads readily through respiratory droplets released into the air. When we’re outdoors, the air is constantly moving and dispersing the virus. We’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets to become infected. Face masks and social distancing provide additional protection. Being outdoors offers other benefits, too. It provides an emotional boost and can help us feel less stressed, angry, or depressed. Sunlight delivers healthy vitamin D.