Studio Institute Expands to Memphis
Creative Start – Memphis places local artists in preschool classrooms.

Studio Institute is pleased to announce its recent expansion into Memphis and partnership with Shelby County Schools. Our pilot program, Creative Start – Memphis, places local artists in pre-kindergarten classrooms to collaborate with educators, build classroom art centers, and offer students quality visual arts experiences that are foundational in both literacy and child development.

“We are excited to be in Memphis to partner with the rich cultural and artistic community, and the strong body of cultural institutions and organizations working to improve educational opportunities for young people. We know art makes a difference and, based on Studio Institute’s track record and experience, we look forward to contributing to the school system and community as a whole,” says Tom Cahill, President of Studio Institute.

The program launched in late September with a series of professional development workshops for over 50 pre-kindergarten teachers and administrators from Shelby County Schools’ Head Start division. Workshop leaders and participants explored early childhood visual arts curricula, art center management strategies, and the fundamental connections among visual arts, literacy, and early childhood developmental domains.

The Institute has hired a team of six local artists to support these pre-kindergarten educators in their classrooms at Ridgeway Early Learning Center and American Way Head Start. Following several weeks of training, the teaching artists visit classrooms on a weekly basis to guide lessons with students and provide teachers with on-site mentoring.

Memphis native Amy Foote leads the teaching artist team, which includes painter Carl Scott, painter Terry Lynn, mixed-media artist Peyton LaBauve, painter Anthony Lee, and sculptor Tracy Treadwell. Amy has degrees in Studio Art and Education from St. Louis University and an MS in Art Education from University of Tennessee. Amy has led art education programs in schools and museums in Memphis, Denver, and North Carolina for the past 15 years.

To grow awareness of Studio Institute’s program and further engage local families, the teaching artist team will host a free art and literacy workshop for children and families at Memphis’ Benjamin Hooks Library on December 15. At this workshop, participants will explore illustrated books and create artwork based on the readings.

Studio Institute is excited to make new partnerships in the Memphis community and to build on our history of making quality, accessible arts education programs available to all. The Institute’s Memphis office is located at Epicenter, a co-working and entrepreneurship center in Cooper-Young.

Upcoming Community Event: Creative Start – Memphis, Family Art Workshop
Saturday, December 15, 11 am – 1 pm
Benjamin Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar, Memphis
Free admission; ages 4-7
Contact: Amy Foote,