Our Teaching Philosophy

AOB staff sees art as a fundamental tool to help participants realize their voice and vision for their future. The Teaching Philosophy at Arts on the Block aligns with Progressive Education methods of teaching and learning. Progressive methods focus on the whole child (person), learning through experiential opportunities, developing one’s ability to problem solve and think through participant-driven choice making. The creative process entails accepting moments of failure. We believe that new opportunities can be borne out of exploring these mistakes with constructive reflection, feedback, and revision from oneself, peers, and program facilitators. 


AOB’s youth-centered, Positive Youth Development approach acknowledges the strengths of our young creatives, supports their social-emotional, academic, professional, and aesthetic development, and provides them with opportunities to learn, lean into the challenges afforded by the creative process, and be prepared to lead peers, staff, clients, and community members. 


AOB offers safe, engaging, creative environments dependent on program participants’ contributions. Staff will use a range of teaching strategies that fall under a Progressive Education approach, such as inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, and project-based learning. Additionally, the broadly accepted 8 Studio Habits of Mind are presented, applied, and reviewed to the level of a mantra for one’s creative practice.


AOB staff embraces, includes, and explores with our young creatives aesthetics and artists from our global community while providing a solid foundation in visual art theory and content through Elements of Art and Principles of Design.

Art is an essential tool for gaining agency toward defining one’s world and being an active participant in a global society. The development of a strong aesthetic sensibility and experience with a rigorous creative, human-centered design process is essential for any 21st Century student, employee, and/or owner. AOB sees art as a common denominator, bringing together a wonderful mosaic of creatives to our community. We celebrate and embrace what we have in common and what makes us different. We strive to exercise racial equity in staffing and program recruitment in all of our practices so that we all may contribute our best to an ideal AOB community that exists both within and well beyond the walls of our studio. 

Created during the spring of 2021, this statement was drafted and refined by several AOB Program Team members. This statement might evolve from year to year as AOB seeks to expand and strengthen our practices and commitment to the organizational mission. Please contact Athena Corbin, Director of Programs, acorbin@artsontheblock.com with any questions or comments.