(Started writing this as a comment, but then kept on going and going so figured I'd post it over here).
Clarence has a great post up about the idea of viewing and using the classroom as a studio:
In these times where we want kids to be self - directed / self - driven learners who develop a creative sense of scholarship, the classroom as studio has great potential. Studios are busy places where activity hums. Studios are places of study, of thought, of creation and creativity. Studios are places where teams of people act together to create something of high - quality. Studios throughout history have been homes for artists, creators, scientists, architects and engineers. Studios are comfortable places with flexible furniture arrangements where people work though projects. Projects are brainstormed, created, evaluated, torn apart, and re - created in ways that are better.I can't remember if I read this in one of her books or heard it one of the times I heard her speak, but Deborah Meier has advocated a similar idea, and I believe might have implimented it to some degree at the school she started in Boston.
I've been thinking for a while now that if (when?) I start a school, I would like to have some space in the school avaliable to artists, which would be rented to them below market cost in exchange for always being willing to have students observe their work. One of my biggest critiques of schools is the emphasis on completing tasks within a certain amount of time. While there are time constraints in many "real world" situations, there are also many other situations where projects develop over the course of hours, weeks, or years. Artists do not work on a bell schedule, and the best pieces of artistic work cannot be given a due date. And while it is almost impossible to imagine a school without any time constraints, I imagine the presence of artists would give a wonderful example of another way of working (and would also hopefully lead to student/artist collaborations, such as those available from groups such as Young Audiences).