Just when we’d signed up our theoretical future offspring for A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou‘s Paris preschool—think mini Alvar Aalto chairs and custom graphics by M/M (Paris)—comes news of the New York City “Creativity Center” started by the founders of the Blue Man Group: Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton, and Chris Wink. In September, the cobalt-hued trio, who we happen to know have excellent taste in architects, welcomed the first students (kindergarten age or younger) to the Blue School on the Lower East Side. Its mission: “to cultivate creative, joyful, and compassionate inquirers who use courageous and innovative thinking to build a harmonious and sustainable world.” The plan is to secure a school charter, add first grade next year, and ultimately expand the elementary program through the fifth grade.
“When my partners and I created Blue Man Group 19 years ago, we had no idea that our journey would lead us to start a formal educational program,” writes Blue Man Group CEO Goldman in a letter on the school’s website. But they (and their spouses) are now determined “to create the kind of educational program we wish we’d had for ourselves and dreamed we’d have for our children; a place where people feel like there is genuinely no better place to learn and to grow.” So what’s it like? Two words: glow time. Read on.
Time‘s Belinda Luscombe recently got a look inside the BLue School and reports in the magazine’s November 24 issue that “the school is not actually blue, although evidence of its genesis is everywhere”:
As in the show, there are long tubes that snake around the corridors, through which children can talk to one another. Pupils are encouraged to mess with shaving cream. There’s a spectacular water table, with balls and hoses and a Medusa’s head of tubes. Every school day includes half an hour of “glow time,” in which the shades are pulled, the black lights go on, and heretofore inconspicuous paintings and sculptures come to life. And there’s the Wonder Room.
The Wonder Room has a disco-like light-up floor, into which games are programmed, as well as a climbing wall and padding for the hurt-free throwing about of one’s person. Children are allowed to choose which activities they want to pursue, and initially, says kindergarten teacher Nancy Simko, they all scramble for the Wonder Room. But with weekly visits from the yoga specialist, the therapeutic-ball specialist and the puppeteer, the kids are soon tempted away.
Glow time, therapeutic ball specialists, and shaving cream free-for-alls? Sounds like just another day here at UnBeige HQ; if only parents weren’t so close-minded about allowing their five-year-olds to take on internships.