Who we are and what we do

I'm all for art that gets entangled with everyday life whilst also leaping outside of everyday life. 

I'm all for the kind of art kids lick when the've taken the paper wrapper off.

Claes Oldenburg


The Palazzo delle Esposizioni's Art Workshop was established in 2000 to tie in with an exhibition entitled Time!  A Journey Through the Concept and the Depiction of Time and its primary aim ever since then has been to attract different audiences, especially younger audiences, to the art world by suggesting new ways of observing and interpreting reality through the various different languages of contemporary art.

If it is true, as Bruno Munari maintains, that the quality of what we see also determines the quality of our lives, then art is an element that must be a part of daily reality as an essential emotion, resource and discovery in building Education and training programmes. Educating to art for us means educating people to look, offering everybody a chance to develop their own sensitivity and independent critical skills in their interpretation of the world around them. To do this, we have developed a multi-faceted approach to the work of art designed to embrace a full range of disciplines and to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities.

Thus in the course of our activities inside the exhibition, the exhibition space becomes an Education space where we take the exhibit on display as our starting point, while the workshop is where we produce, work on and develop our skills. Our activities consist of two separate phases.  The animated tour of the exhibition, in simple, direct language and with active involvement on the children's part, presents a selection of works to allow participants to explore the artists' poetic universe and to familiarise with issues, materials and processes.  The tour is followed by an activity in the workshop designed to stimulate participants' creativity and to develop their ability to reprocess content. This phase is preceded by an immersive and participatory preparatory moment in the Workshop Cube to identify the theme, the idea behind the project and consequently the supports and materials that are always an integral part of the layout.

On weekdays the programme is designed for kindergarten and primary school, while at the weekend it is dedicated to families with children aged 3 to 11. But that is not all!  We also organise encounters for adult audiences including Spot!, a guided interpretation of a work of art with curators and art historians; and we hold training courses and refresher courses for teachers and professional people, Points of View, which is an accessibility scheme for overcoming the many barriers standing in the way of art, and reading workshops for tots aged 1 to 3 as part of our cycle entitled "It's Never Too Early!"

Our methodology is based on the book as a priority tool for mediation and education. The Art Bookshop, a library specialising in international art books for children, is where we house our precious collection of often rare artists' books and illustrated albums that provide us with ideas and suggestions for planning our activities and pathways: a special library for "learning to see", a place for meeting with the artists and exploring topics in art history; or, to paraphrase Kvĕta Pacovská, the book as "the first art gallery a child ever visits". 

Exchange and cooperation with other Italian and European museums and institutions are one of our work's strongpoints. Our most significant projects to date include: Didart (2003 - 2009) which was set up with the European Union's support for the purpose of building a multilingual and transnational network for education to contemporary art; FI'ART - Festival International d'ART en Famille (2008) organised by the Centre Pompidou in Paris; and a project entitled Exercising Your Gaze (2006 - 2008), promoted by the Ministry of Education, University and Research in the context of its School Workplace Alternation scheme with students from the Liceo Artistico Ripetta in Rome. The Education Services won the Il Grillo High Quality Award for Infancy (4th edition) in 2008.

The Education Services have been taking part in the kids' section of the small and medium publishers' fair Più libri più liberi since 2012 in conjunction with the Biblioteche di Roma, and that year also witnessed the start of a lasting collaborative effort with  IBBY Italia and IBBY International and of an international project entitled Silent Books. Destination Lampedusa, with an exhibition of the Art Bookshelf's best silent books from all over the world and the construction of a library for girls and boys on the island of Lampedusa.  

Since 2015 we have been developing the Kreyon Project, a unique scientific popularisation event spawned by the interest of a group of Italian physicists in creativity and innovation and funded by the John Templeton Foundation. In 2014 we held an exhibition entitled Our '70s. Children's Books in Italy produced in conjunction with the Biblioteche di Roma with original work by Bruno MunariEmanuele LuzzatiToti Scialoja, Grazia Nidasio and Altan (catalogue by Corraini Edizioni). 

Since 2016 a partnership with publishing house Fatatrac has allowed us to organise and produce a cycle of exhibition-cum-workshops with the illustrators' original plates for the series devoted to great artists and great exhibitions by the MoMA-Museum of Modern Art in New York, including Matisse's Garden, In Degas' Day and Magritte's Apple. In 2017 we devised One-Way Systems,an exhibition of books and works of art designed to educate and to reawaken the senses with a rich display of tactile, textural and operational plates to involve every kind of audience, in conjunction with a charity called the National Federation of Institutions for the Blind. The artists whose work was on show included Maria Lai, Bruno Munari, Marcella Basso and Mauro Bellei. In 2019 our work on accessibility to aesthetic experience continued with Nature in Every Sense, an inclusive, multi-sensoral exhibition-cum-workshop on science, art and the landscape in conjunction with Topipittori, in which the translation of the texts into WLS symbols and Braille by Dr. Enza Crivelli (uovonero edizioni) and the National Federation of Institutions for the Blind stimulated an encounter among possible interpretations and further expanded accessibility. 2018 saw the start of New Roman Citizens, an inclusion scheme and a cycle of interactive exhibition tours for students enrolled in schools of Italian for foreigners, planned in conjunction with the Scuolemigranti network and the Comunità di Sant’Egidio in collaboration with the Contemporary Art History Department from Rome's La Sapienza University.

In 2018 and 2019 the Education Services curated a retrospective entitled Japan in Colour promoted by the Japanese Embassy in Italy and JBBY - Japanese Board on Books for Young People hosting the exhibitions Mukashi mukashi and Nihon no Ehon devoted to traditional fairy tales and to Japanese publications for children.
In 2019 we presented an exhibition-cum-workshop on the human body from the standpoints of scientifc knowledge, emotion and poetry devoted to the Crazy Dictionary of the Body by French artist Katy Couprie whose layout was designed to be both immersive and participatory. The exhibition was accompanied, almost as a kind of catalogue, by the Italian edition of the book produced by Fatatrac and the Art Workshop.
Our cooperation with the Biblioteche di Roma continues from year to year with projects, schemes, encounters and workshops both inside the Palazzo delle Esposizioni itself, for example with the exhibition entitled From Munari to Rodari, and with activities in the city's libraries, focusing in particular on those in the suburbs.

During the health crisis and social distancing, with our spaces closed to the public, the Art Workshop is opening its virtual doors, using its website and social media to invite the young and the less young alike to stay in touch, to spend quality time "together" with pathways, proposals for activities to do at home, practical files for schools learning to cope with remote teaching, animated readings and a wide range of digital content including video-guides of the exhibitions in LIS - Italian Sign Language produced in conjunction with the CR ENS Lazio, audio-guides for the blind produced in conjunction with UICI sez. Roma, Dance Well inclusive performances staged in collaboration with ParkinZone onlus and Parkinson Parthenope which take place behind closed doors but which are broadcast live for all audiences on a digital platform, and a virtual exhibition entitled Beyond sight / Oltre la vista /「視る」を超えて comprising tactile plates devised to provide access to some of the works of art in the 2020 Illustrators' Exhibition inside the  Bologna Children’s Book Fair. This international experimental project can be accessed on line only due to the recent health situation, but from July 2020 to January 2021 it will be open in Japan where we hope it will be possible for numerous visitors both to see it and touch it..

Our working group whose members, Giulia Franchi, Blume Gra, Giovanna Lancia, Francesca Romana Mastroianni, Laura Scarlata, Michela Tonelli and Antonella Veracchi, are art historians, philosophers and museum educators constantly avails itself of the cooperation of Italian and foreign artists, professionals, scholars and experts.



Botto e Bruno - Chiara Carrer - Liu Xiao Dong - Lola Duval - Vittoria Facchini - Giosetta Fioroni - Steven Heller - Katsumi Komagata - Frederique Mathieu - Umberto Mischi - Nathalie Junod Ponsard - Vladimir Radunsky - Chiara Rapaccini - Alessandro Sanna - Rosemary Sassoon - Guido Scarabottolo - Vanna Vinci - Johannes Volkmann - Dorothee Wettstein - Dario Zeruto - Centre Pompidou Parigi - Europos Parkas Vilnius - Foundation - Center for Contemporary Arts Bratislava - Humlebæk Copenhagen - Louisiana Museum of Modern Art - Ludwig Museum Köln Kiasma - MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna Bologna - MART, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Trento e Rovereto - Musei Civici di Reggio Emilia - Museo Tattile Statale Omero - Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki - Neue Nationalgalerie e Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin - Zeeuws Museum Middelburg -Aiap - Biblioteche di Roma - Cooperativa Giannino Stoppani Bologna - Eccom - Federazione Nazionale delle Istituzioni Pro Ciechi Onlus - Fiera della piccola e media editoria. Più libri più liberi - Fiera del Libro per ragazzi Bologna - Ibby International - La Quadriennale Roma - Museum Associazione di Volontariato nei Musei - Accademia di Belle Arti Bologna - Facultat de Belles Arts Barcellona - Liceo Artistico Ripetta Roma - MIUR Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca - Sapienza Università di Roma - Universitat de Lleida - Universitat de Barcelona - Edizioni Corraini - Donzelli - Fatatrac - Orecchio acerbo - Sinnos - Topipittori