We are a developmentally-based art program for children as young as eighteen months to adults. At our studios, everyone is an artist. We seek to build creativity as a life skill that will serve our students beyond the art studio. Our job is to bring the materials and methods that help students tap back into a primal maker self, a joyful artist who believes she or he knows how to make a thing of beauty.

A Paradigm Shift

The above paragraph is an excerpt from our teachers’ textbook, Scribbology, an in-depth examination of the philosophical underpinnings and origins of Scribble that serves a guide for teacher training and reflections on teaching practice. But what are these terms? And more importantly, as Scribble seeks to transform art education as most of us have experienced it, how can we redefine and reclaim these definitions of artists, beauty, good art, good art teaching?

What is a DEVELOPMENTALLY-BASED art program?

Teachers have long established that the sweet spot of teaching comes in meeting children within what cognitive psychologist have termed the "zone of proximal development." Or, as Goldilocks said it best: not too hard and not too easy. Our curriculum is designed with just enough challenge to keep our artists engaged while minding the parameters of their development. They’re successful but not bored, challenged but not frustrated. Moreover, they comprehend and feel ownership of their process, and in turn, their product. What does that look like in our studios? We don't ask toddlers to make representational work. Instead, we ask them to fully explore one material at a time and one project per day, a gradual of widening their attention span. We don't ask six year olds to draw in perspective. Instead, we ask them to explore the possibilities of line and shape using a multitude of materials so that they can understand line and shape. We take the long view of their artistic growth, recognize it on a continuum, and give our students building blocks for the next stage.

What is an ARTIST?

Perhaps our biggest hurdle as teachers, artists ourselves, and as a company, is that the word artist has come to mean a freewheeling beret-wearing guy (or girl) who paints accurate representations of fruit, landscapes, or people. Society applauds our children for mimicking the masters and for drawing pictures that are conventionally pretty, but at the cost of losing the true definition of an artist: a hardworking problem solver who seeks to realize an original idea. At Scribble, originality and hard work are the foundation of the creative spirit, and we know (and so do the researchers at Harvard's Project Zero who have studied artist behavior within school studios) that what makes an artist is cultivated habits of mind, and that these habits are teachable.


Is everyone an artist, right now, in this moment? No. But we believe that everyone is capable. Even you, grown-up, who maybe, like most of us, gave up on making art at nine or thirteen or twenty, who adamantly states: "I don't have a creative bone in my body,” or "I can't draw to save my life." We ask you to rethink what
creativity is: if you cook, you're creative; if you've juggled your own schedule with those of two children, you're creative; if you've sung in the shower, you're creative. Humans are the only animals who create objects, music, who dance only for the sake of pleasure. It's in our DNA. It's less likely that you are not an artist and more likely that you didn't have a good art teacher, one who didn’t reframe creativity as problem solving and perseverance and intentional coloring outside the lines.

What is BEAUTY?

Beauty in artwork is complexity, it's evidence of an artist’s time and attention and intention. It's not a sun in the corner or a rainbow coming up from the ground or a puffy blue cloud drawn in the sky. Why not? Because these symbols didn't require thinking outside the easy. Beauty is finding paper clips on the ground and building a sculpture with them, drawing a creature with a toaster as a head, drawing yourself with every tooth. Beauty, and good art, is about the effort you put into making your work interesting and different. It’s about your point of view.

“We’re creating masters, not copying them.”


The fundamentals for our classes at any age are as follows:


We emphasize the artistic process over product and encourage our young artists to develop their own perspective and approach because we believe that what they have to say is important. Our children are encouraged to create through experimentation.


We give students choices and encourage decision-making, risk taking, innovation, and agency. We pose questions throughout the process in order to develop curiosity, problem solving skills, and critical thinking. Projects are challenges with multiple solutions.


By making art, looking at art, talking about art, and exhibiting art, students form connections between what they make and how their work impacts the world around them, all the while developing their visual literacy, verbal language, and fine motor skills. We teach our students they are artists who posses the capability to shape the world around them, to change perspectives, to take action, and to understand that everything they do can have an impact.


Scribble students hone the skills it takes for an artist to take an idea from conception to fruition. They develop ownership over their work and artistic vision. They not only see the world through the eyes of an artist, they practice and engage in artistic habits of making, thinking, and reflecting.

Portraits created by Natasha Hesketh




A working Mini Scribbler studio is filled with toddlers exploring, experimenting and verbalizing their experiences. Our classes encourage:


Mini Scribblers are encouraged to use materials in multiple ways that help them to understand the possibilities and the limitations of those materials.


Toddlers understand and learn through touch. We encourage them to fully delve into each material. We check in with our Minis to ask “how does that feel?”, encouraging them to build a language for describing these novel experiences.


Toddlers have very short attention spans but also a strong desire to play with art materials. We harness this to develop their patience and focus (how long they will endure “the wait” for something new) and lengthen their attention spans (how long they’ll stick it out with what they have).


Toddlers are sponges for language and we take advantage of this at Scribble. We give them tons of vocabulary and encourage our artists to ask for materials when they want them.


Our curriculum is developmentally based and taps into innate toddler behaviors. Enjoy making art in a space built to celebrate what a toddler instinctively wants to do without creative boundaries. And where, of course, you can draw on the floors.





Pre-Scribblers are at the age where they naturally push boundaries that, in the art studio at least, are the exact ones we want them to push. They are seeking positive, unbridled, voracious experiences with materials. Pre- Scribblers just don’t care where paint “should” go; they’re busy trying to make it go all the places we’ve grown out of imagining it can. In the Pre-Scribbler studio, we are developing:


If you have smelled, dipped, and practically swum in paint, how can you not understand its possibilities?


We begin to talk about what we see in each other’s artwork, building foundational language for future discussion. We ask Pre-Scribblers to notice lines, colors, shapes, and and to identify the artist’s process through close observation of the finished artwork.


With no parents present, the Pre-Scribbler studio is the first opportunity for these artists to create their own ecosystem. Pre-Scribblers help set up materials, clean and care for the studio, and work on taking turns and respecting each other’s needs and wants.


All projects in Pre-Scribbler classes take at least two sessions and combine various materials. Pre-Scribblers are challenged to explore how materials work (or don’t work) together.




Scribblers are part of a thriving studio environment where they explore new materials, solve problems and engage with their peers in ways that expand their definitions of traditional artistic concepts and empower their own sense of self as practicing artists. In the Scribbler studio, we encourage:


While traditional education seeks to guide students towards one convergent answer, we encourage our artists to explore multiple answers to one question, often pertaining to a unique use of a new material or method.


At this age, process and product carry equal weight. We encourage our artists to critically consider their process through product, reflecting on how their choices impact the experience of the viewer.


Our Scribblers work alongside each other with the teacher as the facilitator. Our artists learn through doing and by discussing these actions with their peers. Each artist finds his/her voice within the studio group.


Scribblers identify as artists and work somewhat autonomously within the studio to express his/her needs or wants for their work.



The Scribble Exhibit

Forget everything you know or imagine about a “kids’ art exhibit.” The Scribble exhibit features professionally framed pieces of work curated and hung by our working artists of all ages in grand New York City venues. Pieces are sold by 7-10 year old dealers or through live auction by 7-10 year old auctioneers and all proceeds sponsor kids to take our classes at no or a reduced cost. Why? Selling their work is a part of the artistic process and an experience we feel is essential for all young artists. Through letting go of artwork, artists more freely embrace risk-taking. With the knowledge their work has value and even more, that its monetary value can help their peers who are less fortunate, Scribblers learn the power of their work within a larger context. 

Exhibition List

Versus American Academy of Arts and Letters 2017
Go Figure American Academy of Arts and Letters 2016
The Art of Play American Academy of Arts and Letters 2015
Right here and Then Dyckman Farmhouse 2015
Monstermorphosis Darling Coffee 2015
About Time American Academy of Arts and Letters 2014
Inwood Sculpture Crawl with NYC Parks Department 2014
Engage American Academy of Arts and Letters 2013
Broadway Collaborative Cityscape Broadway 2013
Methods Apt. 78 2013
The Arterie The Inwood Center 2012
Cave Painting Project Darling Coffee 2012
The Early Years Apt. 78 2012

I’ve been to a number of art shows and openings in my life, and honestly, I don’t know when I’ve been to one with such joyous energy and explosively creative works of art. You set up something truly special for the children and the entire community: an event that celebrates children’s artistry, shows what kids can do, and inspires pride among young artists (and recognition that they ARE indeed artists, as you say). Let me just say that for our family, the event was transformative and one that we’ll never forget. You saw our boy’s eyes shining with excitement—and pride, as he saw his and his classmates’ works of art on display!
— IW, Parent