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Approximately 70 children per week participated in the Museum's third annual pop-up art exhibit at Mitchel Houses this summer. ARTSPOT was designed to introduce students to their environment and strengthen their relationship to nature through art. With guidance from Museum teaching artists and educators, and the involvement of their parents, grandparents, and community volunteers, children learned about the Native Americans that once inhabited the Bronx near Pelham Bay and Orchard Beach through the Museum's new Waters On the Go! suitcase exhibit. Inspired by the Siwanoy tribe and the flora and fauna they thrived on, children built a colorful, public, imaginative garden with murals, music, pottery, collage, sculpture and water play over a five-week period. It was situated right in the middle of the Mitchel Houses grounds. The program culminated in an Ending Celebration for parents and community members on Saturday, September 3rd.
Forty-four children displayed their summer work in an on-site art showcase for families, friends, neighbors, and community members as part of the ending celebration. Ending celebration activities included building a teepee and discussing the natural resources Native Americans would have used to build shelter. After painting the teepee students sat inside and read a storybook about the Lenape tribe. Additionally, children began drumming and marching around the teepee to imagine the life of ative Americans. Supporting activities included animal pinch pots, dream catchers, nature crowns, Orchard Beach song-writing, mural painting, drumming, and water sports.
To celebrate the end of the program, sixty photos of residents from the ARTSPOT program were hung around the community, and families were encouraged to take photos home. Remaining photos will be hung within the Mitchel management building for the community to enjoy. The Museum was honored to have received a plaque from the Tenants Association office expressing their deep support and appreciation for our program and staff. The appreciation plaque dedicated to the Bronx Children's Museum confirmed that the ARTSPOT program has created a niche within the Mitchel community.
ARTSPOT 2016 is the Museum's third outdoor Saturday summer program specifically envisioned for children living in NYCHA Mitchel Houses. The program had the support of Mitchel Houses Tenants' Association and funding from New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
"Summer can be a challenging time for caregivers and their very young children who may not have easy access to arts enrichment in their neighborhoods. Programs like ARTSPOT fill a clear educational and cultural void especially in low-income neighborhoods like Mott Haven and public housing communities like Mitchel Houses. My office is proud to have funded Bronx Children's Museum's 4- week pop-up festival experience -ARTSPOT- for a third consecutive year with the support of NYCHA and the Mitchel Houses Tenants' Association," said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
"I like the clay because its a challenge but its fun! I can use it to hold my pens or small toys. I have made 8 pots and have tried [making] every animal." - Daniel, age 8.
"This is fun! I just want to keep doing everything again. My favorite was making animal crowns because I got to make a butterfly hat and I love butterflies." - Avele, age 8.
"The Bronx Children's Museum is so awesome! My babies love being a part of the fun you bring to us!" - L.D., Mitchel resident and parent.
"This is great, I mean really its fantastic for all of the kids. The way we live now with all the violence and hate its important to have these activities. Having kids do this teaches them a lot about life and patience. Its not all about violence; it teaches them that hard work is rewarding. A paint job outside can be a lot of fun. The music is great. I was jamming myself and dancing and everyone is outside. The staff is so cheerful and patient and its makes the space so great."
- Marilyn, Mitchel resident and parent.
"I would like to express my unconditional love and support for the individuals that have made this program possible at Mitchel. The services you have provided are so important to me and the families that reside in Mitchel. I love all of the photos and they speak for themselves. They are very telling of how impactful the program has been." - Ms.Duke, Member of Mitchel Houses Tenants Association.