Rivers On the Go!
UNITY PROGRAM - 2020
What: A STEAM- and history-based in-school program
Who: 90 children in Kindergarten-3rd grade
When: Twice weekly classroom visits from January-March
Where: P.S. 47 & P.S. 49
Funders: This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, through CII grants from City Council Member Diana Ayala & City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr.
Goals: Students will:
Take pride in their own cultural roots through poetry and art
Examine similarities between their own culture and the culture of Native Americans who used to live in the Bronx
Gain skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, literacy, and public speaking
Understand the connection between people, art, and their environment
Understand that nature and water connect all cultures
PS 49: “Rivers On The Go! Unity” program worked with 45 children in kindergarten, first, and second grades, most of whom are bi-lingual English Language Learners in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. Students received 5 fine art sessions with teaching artist Christopher Gomez integrating drawing, painting, collage and sculpture to create mixed media artworks that reflected their connection to their culture, art, and the environment.
Students in the “Rivers On the Go! Unity” program began by studying the history of the Bronx River, Native Americans, and by sharing stories of their own culture with their classmates. Students were taught about native american traditions regarding symbols and musical instruments. Inspired by their research, students then created original instruments inspired by native american drums and rattlers. Students designed and created their own instruments experimenting with sculpture and sound out of found materials including pvc pipe, gesso, duct tape, reinforced glass and wooden dowels. After studying symbols and patterns of the Native Americans of the Bronx, the instruments were painted and decorated with acrylic paint in order to reflect the students’ personal cultures and stories.
PS 47: “Rivers On The Go! Unity” program worked with 45 students in two first grade English Language Learner classes in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx. The program completed 16 fine art sessions with teaching artists Christopher Gomez.
Students began by studying the Bronx River, Native Americans, and sharing their own culture with classmates. The students continued their studies by learning about the clothing and ceremonial garb worn by Native Americans in the Bronx and other locations. Students created original tools for printmaking and created block prints on textiles. Students began by designing their pattern and then learning how to apply ink and create patterned textiles. The textiles and printing were inspired by animals native to the Bronx and by the people who lived in and around the Bronx River.
Both programs at PS 47 and PS 49 included a visit from storyteller and poet Bobby Gonzalez, who shared the history of the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, the Taino, through interactive storytelling.
"I want to finish and make a shirt that has a lot of animals on it, and make it red. That’s my favorite color and its going to have a lot." -Ahmari
"The students don’t really get the chance to create art and paint during normal classes, so they love it when you (the Bronx Children’s Museum) come to visit." -Ms. Lutchman
"These classes are great because the students don’t get to learn about native people. Many of them don’t have opportunities to learn about this kind of history and the cultures that we’re exploring." -Ms. Vega
"The teaching artists with the Bronx Children’s Museum always create unique and interesting experiences for the children here. These art classes give the students a place to create and explore in an artistic way and, at the same time, teaches them about their own neighborhood, history, and culture. Learning from actual artists inspires the students to try new things and allows them to look at themselves as artists, too. " – Suheil Pimentel, Assistant Principal, John Randolph School P.S. 47
"We have a variety of programs offered here at P.S. 49, but the children were always excited on the days they get to visit with the Bronx Children's Museum teaching artists. It allowed them to express themselves and learn more about the culture here in the Bronx. They also get to try new things that they wouldn’t have the chance to at school. I wish we didn't have such an abrupt ending in March and children could have shared their projects with their peers." -Ms. Vega, Art Teacher, P.S. 49 The Willis Avenue School