Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Studio H: Designing & Building Skills For Rural Youth

Studio H students, at the grand opening of the Windsor Farms Market

Today we feature an "In Brief" report on an inspiring project that we will discuss in far greater depth at the start of 2012: Studio H.

When Contributing Editor Rachel Reynolds Luster passed along news of Studio H, she mentioned something to the effect of "this is like The Rural Studio for high school students" - which is a helpful point of comparison for folks familiar with that group's work in Alabama. The spirit of Samuel Mockbee can be found here, as can the unique vision of Studio H's directors: Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller. Both are extraordinarily accomplished architects, designers, and writers who, through their Project H Design organization, have made a commitment to bring their expertise out of the university grounds and into the lives of teenagers in Bertie County, North Carolina. 

This is such a rich and vibrant project that only a much more in-depth article can do justice to the work of these students and visionaries, but, for now, we encourage folks to visit Studio H, meander through their excellent blog, and learn more about their projects.

In addition to this, we were very excited to learn that a documentary film project is in the works on Studio H, led by the creative team of Christine O'Malley and Patrick Creadon and writer Neal Baer. They are currently seeking funders through Kickstarter to bring the story of Studio H to viewers across the country. Please find their campaign introduction below:

Here is a selection from the Studio H mission statement:
Studio H is a high school design/build curriculum for rural community benefit. The one-year program is offered to Junior-year students of the Bertie County school district in North Carolina, providing college credit, a summer job, and a hands-on opportunity to build real-world projects for the community (in this, our first year, we’ll build chicken coops and a farmer’s market in downtown Windsor!). By learning through a design sensibility and “dirt-under-your-fingernails” construction skills, we’re developing creativity, critical thinking, citizenship, and capital to give students the skills they need to succeed, while building the assets the community needs to survive. Given the opportunity to engage within a public education system, we believe the next generation will be the greatest asset and untapped resource in rural communities’ futures.

Related Articles:
Rural Studio and the 20K House
Striking the Epicenter in Rural America
Filming the Land Arts of the American West
M12: A New Vision for the High Plains
Richard Saxton's Vernacular Landscapes