The Art Room: A Beautiful Mess

beautiful mess

Being an art teacher is tough. There are unpredictable schedules, overcrowded classes, PD that doesn’t apply to you, and that one persistent recess duty that just keeps coming back year after year. On the flip side, there are enthusiastic students, packed art shows, and the feeling that you are actually changing lives on a daily basis.

One situation that depicts this duality is the beautiful mess. Maybe that sweet little kindergartner tripped and her painting fell face down on your new carpet. Perhaps those charming 9th graders forgot to wash their brushes and left them all over the sink (again). Whenever something unexpected happens or there is a mess to clean up, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, if you step back and look objectively, you may be surprised to see a masterpiece in front of you.

Here is a collection of some of our favorite beautiful art room messes via our amazing Facebook Fans from last spring. To see all of the submissions click here!




paint trays







I think Facebook fan Danielle said it best when she saw the original post: “I needed to see this today. I was looking around thinking what a mess! But it is beautiful, too!”

Thanks to all of our fans that chimed in. Post a photo of your “best mess” in the comments below! And, be sure to follow AOE on Facebook for even more news and stories curated just for art teachers!

What is the biggest mess you’ve ever had in the art room? 

Are there any art room cleaning tasks you actually enjoy?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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