To challenge dominant pedagogies and curricula found throughout higher and continuing education and develop a truly liberal arts space where freedom is explored through critical discourse and camaraderie, fully developing an equitable, open and democratic society for all.
Build radical community education focused on studio art practice and build ethical and sustainable models both internally in our workspaces and externally throughout our communities.
studioELL is a Brooklyn-based, hybrid learning space that offers courses and residencies — both in-person and online — devoted to studio art practice. Part critique and part studio visit, studioELL intentionally fuses elements of higher education and continuing education to reconsider the possibilities within learning and support found in community education.
Courses are open to artists at any level of their career, regardless of degree or level of education, with the understanding that we all have much to offer each other. studioELL is most interested in re-imagining what fine art experiences in higher education look like.
Most of studioELL’s courses are offered online in asynchronous environments to allow for busy schedules and other commitments. Synchronous components may also accompany courses at the discretion of each professor. Professors contribute to and amplify our network, providing a myriad of perspectives on studio practice and community engagement.
studioELL LLC is an artist-run social enterprise. Courses are fee based. Alumnx discounts are offered and a scholarship program helps fund artists who may not be able to afford full course fees. Private donations and sales from our FLATFILE program are the primary contributors to our scholarship program fund. In April 2021, studioELL became fiscally sponsored through Fractured Atlas in the hopes of expanding our grant research and funding opportunities and becoming more financially sustainable. Since our inception in August 2015, studioELL has hosted 125 enrolled artists, partnered with 10 professors and provided over 6000$ in scholarship funding. Our efforts to partner with other organizations have connected studioELL with over 150 additional artists. We continue to look for partnering community organizations and groups to provide further points of access and agency.
WHO WE ARE
We encourage critical thinking and civic action through art. We compel students, artists, academic institutions, galleries and museums to question how art is made, taught and how it can be disseminated for the benefit of all. We are a growing, evolving entity and look to each other and our communities to challenge our ideas. We blur the lines between fine art and the everyday inundation of cultural content omnipresent in the visual experiences around us.
We are artists and everyday citizens. We believe art belongs to all, not a few. We appreciate that to be part of a meaningful democracy is to be an informed and active participant in the processes that affect our day to day. We contribute to an active and lively cultural identity that is free from corporate sponsorship or funding restraints.
WHAT WE DO
studioELL radicalizes learning and builds support networks within the studio practice by challenging institutional ways of thinking, co-opting the languageing of these more traditional educational spaces, constructing new communal spaces for critique and development and creating systems of mutual support centered around art practice. Operating out of Brooklyn, NY, studioELL’s reach is national and international, with a focus on local solutions and community-building in the places enrolled artists and professors live and work. Though Brooklyn is the current physical brick and mortar base of activity, our professors and student-artists act as stewards, building and extending the reach of studioELL through programming and connections to other artistic communities. This organic expansion is multilayered and synchronistic in its evolution. Asynchronous studio classrooms allow for more freedom; our residency-style approach keeps artists focused on their practice as they engage in critical discourse while staying connected to their everyday life. studioELL creates a sustainable system both inside and outside the studio.
Artistic, creative and intellectual impact is continual as we support artists within their own unique practices and further develop ideas in a safe and nurturing environment. Communal impact grows as we connect people from different backgrounds, cities, states, countries, education levels, etc. Civic and social impact is essential. It is our goal to shift pedagogical ideologies within academic and institutional spaces, but also to bring these sensibilities to democratic spaces of understanding — like libraries and community centers — reaching a wider audience and elevating discussions around creative and cultural capital as a means of bringing people together and discussing difficult issues.
With the number of sustainable options at a minimum, the increased cost of higher education and the continued reduction of arts funding, it is now more important than ever for a community support structure like studioELL to help fill the void. For six years studioELL has traveled across three continents with the easy dexterity of a hybrid digital-physical platform and is positioned to evolve and reimagine lifelong learning in the fine arts.
studioELL was founded in the summer of 2015 in London, UK as part of galleryELL; a transient gallery created in 2008 in Brooklyn, New York, by artist, curator and professor, John Ros. galleryELL was created with the idea that though we understood the current art culture in New York, and though we existed within its framework, we also considered ourselves to be offering something new and exciting to the disenfranchised and marginalized artists of New York City. galleryELL ended its programming in 2016 and studioELL took the helm with a focus on education: challenging dominant pedagogies and establishing new models of education to create an infrastructure of community education focused on studio practice bolstered by an artist support network. In 2021, studioELL became studioELL LLC.
In architecture, an ell is an extension or addition to an existing building at a right angle; though part of the original structure, it is defined and distinct from it. An ell is also a measurement taken with the body; the former English unit of length for cloth (equal to approximately 45 inches, the breadth of one’s arms), without tools; it is self-contained and self-reliant. The self-reliance of the ell serves as a touchstone for all we do.
The health, economic and environmental crises continue to expose the worst systemic disparities in our society. We must fight against the systemic violence pervasive throughout our society and speak out against injustices, especially when our most marginalized communities are targeted.
ACKNOWLEDGING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
studioELL acknowledges the Munsee Lenape and Canarsie as the original custodians of the land on which we currently work. This acknowledgement extends to include lands where our professors and enrolled artists reside, and where our digital platform tools were developed, are headquartered and/or stored. We also respectfully acknowledge all Indigenous Peoples and pay our respects to the ancestors, elders, and all relatives and relations, past, present and emerging.