The Open Studio Constitution

The Open Studio Constitution

This text is written as Isreal’s democracy is in great danger, 2023.

The text is based on my decades of observations and experience as a studio manager. I have created many in education, art therapy, and as an artist.

Since the 70ies, when I began working, I believe one can do much in schools and communities to nurture democracy and humanity through such an environment. Democracy is organic to a community working in a studio.

Kiryat Tivon 1984: My weekly three-hour open studio for high school kids in a community center. Our Arab neighbors from the villages around participated as well. 

The open studio is a space, place, and time for genuine artistic processes in the presence of a group. It is a safe place that encourages permission to express oneself alongside a small community.

It is a unique structure that initiates curiosity, experiences, and collaboration.

The open studio is a space to exercise democracy; thus, it is fundamentally different from the rest of the learning hours in school, which are usually frontal and hierarchal.


the painting wall, the good enough studio, nona orbach


These are the principles of the Social Democratic Agreement of an open studio setting:

  1. The studio manager establishes an environment suitable to the specific groups she leads. Such a setting will encourage personal expression processes with materials.
  2. The setting inspires participants to consider others and to share space and equipment; the creators maintain the studio’s arrangements, tools, and materials. You do not damage any of them or the artworks of others. 
  3. Participants encounter various artworks of the group members from a respectful and curious position; Every individual has the right to express themselves as they are and grant the same permission to others.
  4. The studio manager sensitively accompanies individual and group processes, mediating cultural, social, and artistic content.

Thus, the open studio is a democratic environment where everyone can be themselves and simultaneously grant this to others. Under such circumstances, cooperation, dialogues, agreements, and caring develop. The sense of belonging and security deepens.

Moreover, an open studio setting can spread the democratic experience and permeate a whole school! It will be achieved by collaborating and mentoring an educator or two who want to offer more personal choices in their math and history classes.

Why is this important?

Curious children who are comfortable with personal choices, who think independently, ask questions, listen and respect others, and can create dialogues will be precious social and contributing human beings in society.

They are the ones who will be our humanistic politicians of the future.

the painting wall, the good enough studio, nona orbach

Sharon Musafi



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