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Little Friends of the Museum - 2018-2019

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What: Arts-based afterschool program

Who: 22 2nd grade students

When: October 2018- May 2019

Where: P.S. 274 at Roberto Clemente State Park

Current Funders: New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council through a CASA grant from NYC Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

Goals: Children in the LFM program:

  • Develop and deepen their own fine arts skills, visual thinking and understanding of artistic expression through instruction and hand-on projects.

  • Learn about the process used to conceive of and fabricate artistic installations.

  • Be exposed to the professional art world by building relationships with arts educators and artists.

  • Share their child-expert input with artists/teams who are prototyping installations, allowing artists to benefit from a child’s perspective and children to develop voice and self-confidence.

  • Practice critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, and visual literacy.

  • Gain a basic understanding of the natural flora and fauna found in the Bronx near the Harlem River, and where our water comes from.

  • Develop empathy and a sense of responsibility for the natural environment and historic landmarks within the Bronx.

  • Learn how they can live a healthy life by becoming more active and exploring the natural resources.

  • Be inspired by the teaching artists to follow their passions, work hard and focus on accomplishing their dreams.

Program Description:  

The Bronx Children’s Museum, in collaboration with SCAN and Roberto Clemente State Park, worked with 22 second grade children as part of the “Little Friends of the Museum” After School program. Teaching artists Javaka Steptoe, Natalie Wood, and Marina Williams guided children in a continuation of our “Arts Builds Community” initiative by working with the children to create installations that will be displayed in our new BxCM facility in 2022.  All teaching artists attended a Bronx Children’s Museum training that incorporated the New York State Learning Standards. 

The program began in October 2018 with a visit to Riverbank State Park to explore the “Totally Kid Carousel” created by Milo Mittola and a local elementary school in 1997. Students in the LFM program saw how the drawings of other children were transformed into three dimensional, life-sized, interactive carousel characters. The children also took a field trip to the Whitney Museum of American Art to view the Andy Warhol exhibit entitled “From A to B and Back Again,” where they received a guided tour and then participated in a printmaking art activity from museum teaching artists. The next experience the children engaged in was a visit to the Children’s Museum of the Arts to view the  exhibit “A Way With Words: The Power and Art of the Book.” The final field trip was to Marvel Architects in April of 2019 to create sculptures that explored how architecture engages with public spaces. Students received a tour of the architects studio and then worked side by side with architects to create their own treehouse architectural models. All of these experiences acted as a springboard for students to first develop ideas in their sketchbooks before creating collaborative projects exploring the mediums of drawing, painting, collage, photography, and sculpture. The first project was a collaborative collage inspired by Romare Bearden. Through research of Bearden’s work students created six large scale 60” x 40” collaborative collages depicting nature, the environment, and their community.  The next project was inspired by the work of the Nigerian sculptor El Anatsui who uses found objects to create sculptures. Students worked with recycled materials from Roberto Clemente State Park such a netting, sports jerseys, and other athletic equipment to create a collaborative quilt inspired by Anatsui’s work. The final art exhibition occurred on May 30, 2019. Children shared their artwork with peers and caregivers and engaged in dancing and festive food to celebrate the work the children created.



“The Bronx Children’s Museum is a wonderful program that provides a great service to the children in the SCAN program at P.S. 274 in the Bronx. Marina Claire, Mona Dreher, Natalie Wood and Javaka Steptoe are dedicated art instructors that keep the children engaged and experience the magic that art can bring. The program has introduced the children to the beautiful environmental aspects of the Harlem River through walks in our park and the Mobile museum bus. Overall the BCM art program has been a great addition to the programing here at Roberto Clemente State Park.” — Joseph Reid, Recreation Manager, Roberto Clemente State Park


“I learned that artists can design buildings and build things like a house or a park, and tree houses!” — Jeremiah, age 7

“My favorite piece we made this year is the sculptures on the wall. If I gave this one a title I would call it ‘Spring Un-sprung.’” — Zanihyla S.

“Looking at the artwork, the creativity of everything — I’ve never seen things put together like this with only recycled materials.” — Elizabeth’s Father

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