Co-creating a Gallery Space to Enhance a Public Elementry School Arts Program

In the summer of 2021, I was selected as one of 3 fellows across the country for our commitment to community development, technical design skills, and creative problem solving to join Impact Wrkshp’s annual social impact-driven project. My team, along with an assemblage of skilled advisors, embarked on a mission to design a gallery space that would enhance the art program at Michael Conti Public School in Jersey City, NJ.

Using a co-design framework, we generated ideas with the help of students in the 5th and 6th grades, teachers, parents and school administrators through a series of virtual interview sessions and sharebacks. The team also developed a series of design principles to help guide the final gallery space. We conducted research on and sourced materials paying special attention to accessability and adaptability to meet the school’s requirements and budget parameters.  

Design Principles:
Inspire Community Connection
Provide Opportunities for Participation
Build for Play & Interaction
Use Locally Found Materials

The final design features a learning lab, a living archive for students to engage with their classmate’s artwork not on display, and a modular design that allows the space to adapt to the school’s needs. Accompanying the gallery is a Playbook, an interactive guide printed using a Risograph printer, filled with art prompts, learning activities and tools to guide students on how to care for the space.
Jersey City, NJ ︎

Industrial Designer
Design Research

Irina Schneid
Coco Allred
Katrina Macaro

Impact Wrkshp

PS5 Michael Conte Elementry School

Modular Gallery Blocks 
Printed Playbook
Printed Guidebook