Entering Eckford Street Studio is akin to discovering Candyland, except instead of candy, here you will find every nook and cranny crammed with a rainbow of colorful art supplies. It’s like Ollivanders, except instead of a wand, here you will get handed a paintbrush!
The studio, located at 70 Eckford Street, isn’t just a magically quirky place for your children (or inner child), it is also a seriously-minded community organization instrumental to bringing innovative art education classes to the neighborhood. Founder Kristn Melkin has an extensive background in art education, including time spent as part of the Guggenheim’s Learning Through Art initiative. At Eckford, Kristin works with an experienced staff to organize innovative arts classes as well as coordinate a program that connects artists who teach with local schools. This petite yet incredibly ambitious studio space and community center feels ripe for growth.
“Make a beautiful mess” is the studio’s motto. A range of classes for tots and kids from the ages of six months to twelve years is currently available. Details and schedule can be found at EckfordStreetStudio.com. All classes are rooted in art history and leave the exploration open ended.
Christine Stroebel is a painter, printmaker, and one of Eckford’s teachers. One project incorporates elements of assemblage and collage. Another project from ArtLab Storytime uses all natural ingredients such as water, flour, salt and cream of tartar, and natural colorants such as blueberries, to create plaster.
These classes are accessible, inclusive, but most of all fun. Currently, their Tuesday figure drawing session is the only program available for adults, but starting soon the studio will begin offering a new adult class titled “From Looking to Making: Drawing Fundamentals”. Another upcoming class will focus on acrylic painting.
Although the emphasis at their physical space is currently on arts education, the studio has become involved in several projects that engage with the public on a larger scale. One of these new projects is a collaboration with emerging and established artists as a point of entry for the local community.
Currently working with the Studio is artist Martynka Wawrzyniak whose public art piece aims to “serve as a monument to the neighborhood’s multi-cultural community”. She invites every participant to gather a cup of soil from a location with a deep personal and sentimental connection. The collected soil will be combined and installed in McGolrick Park as a sculpture at the end of the project, with the studio serving as one of the collection points.
The organization is currently in the process of becoming a nonprofit, an important step forward to both bolster as well as expand many of their current and forthcoming programs. With their dedication to a great arts education starting at an early age, as well as their role in supporting the local arts community, Eckford Street Studio makes a quintessential contribution to the neighborhood.
Eckford Street Studio | 70 Eckford Street