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GreenArts Afterschool Program
From January to May 2014, thirty children in the P.S. 55 second and third grades learned about healthy living two afternoons a week through an exploration of the arts and sciences. Specifically, the Bronx Children’s Museum was asked by the Principal of P.S. 55 to form a collaboration with Steve Ritz from Green Bronx Machine. Mr. Ritz installed a hydroponic system at P.S. 55 in a room called the "Greenroom." The "Greenroom" was supervised by the P.S. 55 Science Cluster teacher and visited by all P.S. 55 students on an ongoing basis. GreenArts students created artwork that was used to decorate the Greenroom. GreenArts students visited the room on a weekly basis to observe the vegetables and fruits growing and to care for the hydroponic system.
As one of their first projects, GreenArts students learned about the importance of eating healthy and exercising. Then they drew self-portraits as healthy super heroes, make their own juice from fruits and vegetables, and created slogans about healthy living to place in school hallways as part of a public health awareness campaign. As another one of their projects, students created an art installation called Greengarden out of found objects with Museum teacher and Bronx artist, Natalie Collette Wood. It was on display from March 5th through March 9th, 2014, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. They also marched in the May Bronx Day Parade with their banners about healthy living.
The children wrote letters to local food bodegas, groceries, and restaurants asking them to sell more healthy foods; they also wrote letters to local elected officials about the need for more fresh and healthy food in their neighborhood. They decorated and painted planters in their school’s vegetable garden, sponsored by Healthfirst. They planted vegetables in planters as well.