5 Ways an Art Room is Like an Airport

Recently I spent an entire day traveling from one airport after another. My day started at 4:30 a.m. in a small, calm and quiet airport and ended at 10:30 p.m. in a large, loud and crowded airport. As I was patiently waiting on our plane to board, it donned on me: an art room is like an airport!


5 Ways an Art Room is Like an Airport

1. Airports function on schedules, like schools. Travelers are expected to arrive at a certain time for your flight. Students are expected to arrive on time to class. (We all know this doesn’t always happen!) Sometimes there is a delay with a flight. Sometimes art teachers lose track of time and let students out late.

2. Airports can look different depending on the size of airport, the time of the day and the number of departures or arrivals there are in a day. Your classes are going to look different depending on the number of students, age of your students, the lesson and supplies your students are using. Some days you might feel like your classroom is calm, quiet and like a small airport. Other days your classroom might resemble O’Hare on the weekend.

3. Airports are covered from head to toe in visuals and signs. Many airports have original artwork on temporary or permanent display. Here is a bench from O’Hare.


There are signs that direct you to the parking lot, ticketing counter, security, bathrooms, your gate, the baggage claim, and many other places. Airports need signs to help travelers know what and where to go. Art studios need signs to help students know what to do and where to go. Visuals help everyone understand routine, structure and the correct procedures. As art teachers, we can help by adding visuals and signs in our art rooms.

.4. There are numerous “teachers” throughout the airport who instruct you in each area of the airport. If you don’t follow directions, there can be consequences for your actions. Similar to when your students forget to follow directions. (I’m sure the consequences in the art room are much less severe than in an airport!)

.5. When you sit and “people watch” at an airport you see a variety of different people. Some look very confused and lost, some are walking very calmly throughout the airport, some are leisurely eating a meal, and some are frantically sprinting to their destination. Sometimes our students can resemble the people in an airport. When a student is lost or confused their peers or the art teacher helps direct them. Some students calmly and carefully work on their art projects. Some students’ frantically sprint through their projects.

Yet somehow, like the people in an airport, our students work together to eventually make their “flight.”

How is your art room like an airport?

PS- This is a photo from the walking escalade at O’Hare. It reminds me of paint samples from a paint store, but they light up! How cool is this?


Cassidy Reinken

This article was written by former AOE writer and life-long learner, Cassidy Reinken.


  • Sarah

    I’m am laughing out loud right now. I’ve been traveling a lot already this Summer, and this post really hits home. I’m about as sick of Airports right now, as I was sick of my Art Room on the last day of school (shhh, don’t tell the kiddos, I miss them already)

    • I think many other art teachers were in your shoes as well- ready for summer vacation!  I was very glad to be home and out of airports.

  • This is so funny. At the end of each class, I always feel like a flight attendant. Tray tables in the upright position? Everyone hand in their projects? Cleaned up their tables? Washed their hands? Quietly waiting in their seats to line up?  

    • Too funny Amanda!  Art teachers can be compared to flight attendants as well! 

  • Lauren Wenk

    If you flying to Chicago..hope you had a good trip here! But yes that part of the air port is real cool!

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