The Studio

Photo: Robert Glas
Photo: Robert Glas

What is it?

The time has long passed that Centraal Museum is that “temple” of culture, visitors admiring pieces on display in total awe and at a safe distance – hands clasped behind the back.

Taking on a contemporary approach to reach out and inspire its public, this is a modern organization that appeals to a wide audience. Many expositions will understandably still operate under the ‘Do not touch’ motto, but the museum wants also to challenge visitors to a more hands-on experience. Hence the idea for The Studio was born.           

The Studio is a temporary art studio linked to a specific exposition, which invites visitors to create something themselves, in whatever way they wish, but always relevant to that exposition. This form of public participation has two goals. It is a nice way for the museum to explore new areas and open its doors even further, but also a way for visitors to ‘see through their hands’. The idea being that the experience of drawing, building, or designing something yourself places the work on display in a new perspective. In other words: by stepping in the footsteps of the professional artist, the amateur acquires a better understanding of the history and development of the art, but also a greater appreciation of its workmanship.     

The aim in the upcoming years is for The Studio to become permanently added to the Centraal Museum programme. The concept has now been tried and tested three times, and with great success. The workshops for sewing (‘Fashion for Thought’, Alexander van Slobbe, 2010), woodwork (‘Rietveld’s Universe’, 2010) and surreal drawing techniques (‘Surreal Worlds’, 2014) have all proven very popular. 


The age-old distinction between specialist (expert, artist) and amateur (layman, spectator) has become less and less clear-cut through influences such as the internet and social media. Specific expert knowledge and skills are no longer exclusively available to professionals. This means that the relationship between museums and their public has also changed significantly. The traditional one-way communication between curator and the audience is a thing of the past. This has been replaced by a dynamic exchange of experiences and expertise which allows visitors to just as easily take on the role of artist or museum staff member.      

In this new constellation The Studio serves as an instrument for deeper understanding. For visitors the art studio also provides a great way to meet other visitors, and for the museum it is the perfect opportunity to increase engagement, activity and current interest.

Photo: Maaike Koemans
Photo: Maaike Koemans


Thanks to the contribution made by the Mondriaan Stichting, the Centraal Museum will be able to further explore and develop the idea of The Studio in the next following years.


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