Show Us Your Art Room 2010: Space Organizing

It’s another school year and we know most of our readers have been busy preparing their art classrooms to inspire and organize their students. Did you create a genius new system for storing sketchbooks? Or is your storage room an original work of art that maximizes every inch of space available? Then we want to see it.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the organizational solutions used by other art educators for supplies, artwork and more? Well this is your chance to share your art space solutions… and see others.

By September 25, send a photo of your art classroom organization to We’ll compile all the art classroom photos into one showcase post and in our Flickr photo stream. Take a look at last years “Art Room Showcase 2009″.  We’ll also feature three lucky photos on our home page as the new “cover art” for The Teaching Palette.

It doesn’t matter what level you teach, we want to see how you organize your space. No art classroom space is too small or too large to share. In the end, we hope to provide an abundance of solutions in an online gallery to help art teachers around the globe get inspired to organize their own spaces. Start opening those drawers, cabinets and storage closets and snap some photos!

How to send your organizational tip:
Snap a photo and send it as an attachment to with the subject line Art Room Organization. Include your name, school, town, state and brief description of the photo.

UPDATE 9/27/10: Check out the fantastic submissions by our Teaching Palette Readers!

Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee

The founders and primary authors of this blog are Hillary Andrlik and Theresa McGee, who both teach elementary art in the Chicagoland area. Hillary has been teaching art since 2002, received her art education degree from Illinois State University and masters from National Louis University. Theresa has been teaching since 1997 and received her bachelors degree from Northern Illinois University and masters from Benedictine University. In 2008, Theresa became a National Board Certified Teacher. Both Hillary and Theresa have earned the honor of being Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year. Together, Hillary and Theresa have presented at Illinois Art Education Association Conference on topics ranging from classroom management to technology and each have presented on numerous other occasions for other organizations.


  • August 25, 2010


    I would LOVE to see how other teachers organize their student work. I have several large corrugated cardboard folders, one for each class, for storage of work in progress. I’d love to have each student, though, create a portfolio for storage of all finished work throughout the year. If you have a great idea for creating and storing the portfolios, please let me know…or let me see! :) Thanks!

    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

  • August 26, 2010

    Cheryl Hancock

    Brad, I have used large plastic lidded tubs for each class. They are about 50 litre tubs. As most of the students artwork is around A3 in side the tub is big enough to cater for this size. they cost around $15-20 each. I have had these for about 8 years and they are still doing the job. They stack two on top of each other under my benches and also have wheels- so greta for moving and for the cleaners to move . I also use large magazine boxes designed for libraries for storing the students art diaries /sketch books. It sure helps. Cheryl Hancock Perth Australia.

  • August 26, 2010

    Hannah Salia


    I have student portfolios made of 2 pieces of large (24×36 I think) railboard taped together with masking tape on 3 sides. Student name is in the right hand corner. This is their permanent portfolio and holds work that they create throughout the year. At the end of our school year, we have an Artwalk/show and parent volunteers take down the art, sorting it into the porfolios (I don’t have time to sort during the year). The portfolios go home 2 weeks before school ends, with instructions to return it back to school before the final week of school (empty of course). I save the porfolios in my flat file, but they could easily be stored flat in any shelf wide enough. This way we don’t have to make them every year. I have to make enough each year for the Kindergarten students but that’s it. Works great!

  • August 27, 2010

    Liz Schuler, Wisconsin

    Hi Brad – I teach K-8th grade. I rely on 22×28 tagboard/railroad board to create a portfolio for each class K-4th grade. Folded in half and taped with clear packaging tape, they last all year. Each class also has a shallow bin to store selected items they need from class to class, so I don’t have to put things away in the storeroom after every class! 5th -8th grade make their own portfolios with tagboard, also folded in half. I have them decorate it with various drawing and painting media and it becomes their first graded assignment for the year. Each class gets a shelf to store them on, as I am lucky to have the space. You could also stand them up together with bookends on a counter.

  • August 27, 2010


    But where and how do you store the railroad-board portfolios? I have always ended up with a BIG mess because kids can’t easily find theirs, even if I separate by class.

  • September 4, 2010

    Joy Schultz

    I teach highschool and I take digital photographs and place them on the school website and artsonia. I keep only the pieces for competitions and our year end showcase. I have several purchased paper portfolio’s and I label them for each show or event they will be needed for. My AP students keep a portfolio they either purchase or build from cardboard boxes. I have a portfolio rack to place them into it in the studio. The daily works in progress is stored as a class on a flat cabinet with shelves for each course. I display the work in the building as soon at is completed and keep rotating the work. I do send work home in stages and I post a note to my parents on the portal to come collect the work if the students have sports after school. Art work doesn’t usually survive the locker room. Parents have been very good about collecting the art work. Our MS art teacher requires the students to purchase two poster boards and decorates them with their names and staples them on three sides. All finished work is placed in the portfolio at the end of each project. The work is returned at the end of the quarter and the portfolio’s return for more work. She also photographs the art work and keeps some for showcases and art competitions on a flat shelf drawer in the studio.

  • September 13, 2010

    Tara Conover

    I have found a great way to organize and store student critiques so that the students can critique their own work, other students work, and I can see it all in one document. I created a google form with basic critique questions and then shared the url with my students. The feedback will all be sent back to me in a spreadsheet for easy viewing and I won’t ever loose it on my desk!

  • October 6, 2010

    Liz Schuler, Wisconsin

    re: railroad board portfolios
    Each class has their own cubby space, big enough to store the bin and folder. And I color-code all lower grade items – red for 5K, orange for 1st grade, etc. so if folders end up mixed up, they are easy to spot. I think “organized” and “art teacher” are two things that are hard to be at the same time, and it is so hard to be both! Clutter! Ahhh!

  • July 17, 2011


    I take apart wallpaper sample books that are free for the pick up at decorating and paint stores, taping two pages together – “pretty side” out along one long side and one short side. If the sample pages are smaller than ideal I use a third page folded in half for the bottom of the portfolio. The samples are have a light vinyl covering so they don’t absorb water and the different patterns make identification easy for students. Two inch masking tape works well and is easy to write on with Sharpie – color coding each class.

  • July 17, 2011


    Heavy cardboard produce boxes,(the ones that are about 16″ x 24″ 5″ deep), from the market or Costco type store are great for holding class work. Good size, sturdy, stackable and FREE! Some of mine are three years old.

  • July 26, 2011


    HEY! Talk to the bread guy or gal. They have these great stackable crates they use to deliver bread to schools and stores. I use these stacked on a small table and our portfolios fit pretty well. I just label each, one per class.

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