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Dream Big 2010


Film by David Schwittek

August 14, 2010

Bronx Children’s Museum Serenades Justice Sotomayor At Lehman College With ‘Dream Big’ Concert and Art Exhibition

The Bronx Children’s Museum board is dreaming big about launching a first-of-its-kind facility in the borough by 2013. In the meantime, it has orchestrated a “Dream Big Initiative” that has given Bronx youngsters the opportunity to spend a month working with museum staff on art activities related to the life and journey of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The six-to ten-year-olds from The Point and Bronxworks (Bronx community organizations) will also artistically document their own stories.


On Saturday, August 14, the children shared their creations (which employed a variety of media, including photography, painting, printmaking, collage, and puppetry) with Associate Justice Sotomayor when she participated in museum workshops on the campus of Lehman College, which co-sponsored the event along with BCM and The Point. Justice Sotomayor assured the children that no dream was too big if they worked hard and stayed focused. 


After remarks by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congressman Jose E. Serrano and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., the Justice and the children were treated to an afternoon of music led by renowned jazz composer and musician Arturo O’Farrill.  In honor of Justice Sotomayor, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra performed “A Wise Latina” which was commissioned by Symphony Space and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. 


Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria on Sesame Street, was mistress of ceremonies for the day’s activities, which included sing-a longs in both Spanish and English. Ms. Manzano added. “Today is about Dreaming Big and celebrating the accomplishments of another Sonia from the Bronx, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Today is also about the importance of early childhood education,” said Ms. Manzano. “I know, from being on Sesame Street for so many years, that children are born with the desire to learn and explore. It is our job as adults to keep their enthusiasm for learning alive.  A children’s museum does exactly that. I wish the Bronx Children’s Museum had been in existence when I was growing up in the Bronx. I look forward to joining Justice Sotomayor at the ground breaking ceremony,” she added. 


“As one of the City’s newest museums, the Bronx Children’s Museum will provide a great opportunity for families and children to engage in creative and energetic learning,” said Mayor Mike Bloomberg. “The Dream Big initiative is a new step towards a permanent home for the Bronx Children’s Museum that will serve and enrich the community for years to come. Today, we also celebrate the achievements of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a daughter of the Bronx who also dreamed big and whose success is a great example for the children of the Bronx and New York City.”


His sentiment was echoed by Congressman Serrano. “Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the best of the Bronx, and we are proud to welcome her in this ‘homecoming event,’” he said, “She is perhaps the best example of where hard work and determination can get you. When she was a kid, she looked out those same project windows as I did and kids today do, and through her incredible tenacity and perseverance, she now looks out the window of her Supreme Court office.”


Borough President Diaz praised the museum’s efforts from the theater’s stage, “Today, we acknowledge two dreams, one realized and the other well on its way. Last August, history was made when the Bronx’s very own Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. On that day children from all over the Bronx and beyond were shown that they too could rise from any challenge to reach the highest pinnacles of success. That is why we must work to give Bronx children what the children of the other boroughs currently enjoy, a museum where they can begin their life-long journey of the pursuit of knowledge. My office has allocated $3 million to this wonderful project, and I call upon all of my colleagues in government—both on the local and federal level— to join me and support the creation of this museum for our Bronx children and make this dream a reality for them.”


“Dream Big is a guiding principle of the Bronx Children’s Museum,” said board president Hope Harley, “Every child should have big dreams and know that their dreams can come true.  The goal of the museum is to nurture and inspire the love of learning and to give children and their families the opportunity to discover new things about themselves and the world around them.” 


Founding Executive Director Carla Precht added, “Our Museum will continue to provide programs in the community under the umbrella of “Dreaming Big” for at least 3 more years while our home is being built.”  



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