Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eliot School: Room 13

At the door to Room 13 at Eliot School, Principal Peter Pannell told our tour group, "I don't know what we're going to find in here."

We found creativity in process, where the students were running their own show (or would be, as soon as school let out and they got back into the space). Room 13 is a unique, international arts program where the kids have to be entrepreneurial as well as creative because the program has to sustain itself. There are only two Room 13 chapters in the US, both in the LA area.

Local professional artists are welcome to mentor (hint hint). Or, if your talents don't swing in an artistic direction, you can help out with the wish list:
If I hadn't already been impressed with Eliot School, Room 13 would have done it. I love that combination of creative freedom and business acumen. I had an excellent arts education but I entered the adult world without any business training and I needed it, even back in the goodle days.

Many classes at Eliot combine disciplines and invite professionals from the community to participate. For example, we witnessed a fun program in the gymnasium led by pro dancers. One of the math teachers is developing a robotics class with the help of Caltech and JPL personnel; he was extremely enthusiastic and it was exciting to hear him talk about it. (His Caltech connection is filming a documentary about the program's development.)

Eliot School principal Peter Pannell answers parent questions in Room 13.

I could go on, but Room 13 is a good place to finish our tour of Eliot School. I enjoyed myself, and it made me wonder if other Pasadena and Altadena schools are just as interesting. They probably are. Many thanks to Principal Pannell for the tour, and to Susan Savitt Schwartz of PEN for inviting me.

15 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

What a wonderful programme ~ all that creativity needs to find its way out into the world and having the entrepreneurial/business training is so important to help that happen.

Dina said...

Your series on Eliot School gives a lot of hope and joy.

altadenahiker said...

Everyone's favorite room, I'm sure. Great program.

St├ęphane Kardos said...

Aaaaaaaaah! I like this room 13! reminds me of the joyful days of art school in France, drinking wine, wearing a beret and a stripy shirt in life drawing class...

TheChieftess said...

My all time favorite art teacher was Mr Cohantz at Wilson Jr. High School here in Glendale...he encouraged me and made me stretch my talents. Some time after I had been in college I learned that he had committed suicide...during class he told us that he had been on one of the ships that was bombed during Pearl Harbor...one of my regrets in life is that before he passed away, I never went back to Wilson to tell him what a wonderful teacher he was and how he touched my artistic soul...Thank you Mr. Cohantz

Petrea said...

Very moving, Chieftess. I'm sure we all had teachers that meant a lot to us--maybe we didn't know it at the time.

Stef, you can mentor without making it a full-time commitment. Artists from The Simpsons and other animators have stopped by for a day or two to share their talents. Check out the website and maybe you can contribute! They would love you!

This year's Room 13 group is doing portrait photography. They took photos of each other that just vibrate with personality. They're going to market their services to other schools for annual school portraits. I'd buy them if I were a parent. I'd much prefer a photo of my real kid over the combed hair, fake smiles and creepy blue backdrop of the typical school portrait.

Lynn said...

Absolutely! School photos are terrible, usually. They could do so much better! What a great room and wonderful that you are supporting it, Petrea.

St├ęphane Kardos said...

I'll check this out Petrea, sounds exciting!
Do you reckon I could show up in my stripy shirt and beret, carrying a baguette to make sure they know I'm a French Artist? :)))

Margaret said...

Love that top photo.

Petrea said...

I believe this whole Room 13 thing began in Scotland, Lynn. Your back yard, so to speak.

At least the beret, Stef, otherwise they'll never know you're French.

You and I aren't the only ones who like it, Margaret. It was after I took it that I found the Room 13 USA website, with a photo of a different angle on the same shelf of paints. I just couldn't resist all that color.

Katie said...

I would SO go back to school if I could spend all my time in Room 13! Great program, and like Dina, I really do feel hopeful for these kids who are into art, and who can also learn the business part of that world. Thank you so much for featuring this cool school and sharing all the photos and links.

Ms M said...

I love this artistic space! So great for the kids! and the rest of us :)
And I like your photos, which capture it all so well.

Bellis said...

Tell me more about the Caltech-aided documentary!

Petrea said...

Glad you've enjoyed it, guys.

Bellis, the Caltech student who's assisting the robotics program is filming with the intention of making a documentary, but I don't know if he or she has any official Caltech assistance. I'll email you what information I have so you can pursue it if you like.

AmyR said...

What a fantastic place to see a glimpse of.

I miss the school art room; I can almost smell the combo of paint, markers, clay, and crayon shavings...