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Rivers On the Go!
UNITY PROGRAM - 2019
What: A STEAM- and history-based in-school program
Who: Kindergarten-3rd grade classes
When: Twice weekly classroom visits from January-June
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
Rivers On the Go! Unity at P.S. 49:
The Bronx Children’s Museum “Rivers On The Go! Unity” program worked with 54 children in kindergarten, first, and second grades at P.S. 49. Students received sixteen fine art sessions with teaching artists Anthony “Intikana” Martinez and Natalie Collette Wood integrating drawing, painting, collage, and photography 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 also studied the subject of portraiture through the works of Frida Kahlo, Kehinde Wiley, and Amy Sherald to use as inspiration for their own self portraits. The project started with all students participating in a self-portrait photography session with students bringing cultural garments and objects from home that represented their connection to their family, environment, and culture. The photos were then printed and students collaged them into 24” x 36” mixed media paintings that included tempera paint, oil pastels, colored pencils, and felt tip markers. The final works of art reflected each student’s personal relationship to nature, their community, and their culture. Students developed fine art skills in addition to improving their English language skills and gained confidence in public speaking though reflections and presentations at the end of each class. Students also enjoyed a visit from the Bronx Children’s Museum mobile museum “Waters on the Go!” which highlights the local flora and fauna located along the Bronx River and Orchard Beach as well as the relationship between Bronx Native Americans and the environment. As a follow up to this visit, students took a field trip to Orchard Beach to explore the natural flora and fauna and the connection between their local community and nature.The program included a special end of year performance on June 3, 2019 where children engaged in an interactive dance activity with their teachers and caregivers, set to live music by BombaYo led by Jose Ortiz, an artist who explores the importance of drumming in Puerto Rico and Carribean cultures. At this celebration all student artwork was displayed and children shared stories with their caregivers and peers while enjoying a morning feast.
“From January to June I have had the opportunity to work alongside visual art instructors from the Children’s Bronx Museum. Throughout the months we have experimented with different medias, imagination and build a connection between the identity and symbolism. I found that each week they would create different perspectives on how to connect with identity and the symbols that we find all around us. Some symbols might be inspired by nature, culture or media around them.
The teachers focused on the student’s different sensory and used their prior knowledge to build on their schema to create their work. I feel that because they are allocated a certain amount of time they are able to focus on their topic for more than two or three sessions. The students have created work, visited, and performed work all inspired by the notion of identity. They have accommodated to the various learners that are in the classroom. The group of students whom they work with are considered to be part of the bilingual program- even though they are all bilingual students, they are all different types of learners. I think that the program is a positive opportunity for the students to utilize identity as their inspiration for their own personal artwork and also open up their curiosity of the world around them.”
– Jessica Vega, Art Teacher, P.S. 49
“I really enjoyed the drumming, it was great to see our culture of Puerto Rico represented in the school.” - L. Munez, parent
“My favorite part was learning about patterns and nature.” – Joseph P.
Rivers On the Go! Unity at P.S. 47
The Bronx Children’s Museum “Rivers On The Go! Unity” program worked with 44 students in two first grade English Language Learner classes at P. S. 47. The program included thirty-five fine art sessions with teaching artists Marina Williams, Estefania Chavez, and Anthony “Intikana” Martinez.
Students began studying the Bronx River, Native Americans, and sharing their own culture with classmates. This provided the starting point for students to study Native American folktales that inspired them to create their own spirit animals that reflected their connection to their community, culture, and environment. Students began by collecting and researching images of animals in their sketchbooks and then used that research as inspiration to create sketches of their original spirit animals. The sketches were then transformed into 18” x 24” mixed media drawings that included tempera paint, oil pastels, colored pencils, and felt tip markers. These drawings were then transformed into puppets that were used to create short films used in skits the children created. The film was inspired by images of natural environments from around the world. Students developed fine art skills in addition to improving their English language skills and gained confidence in public speaking. Students also enjoyed a visit from the Bronx Children’s Museum mobile museum exhibit “Waters on the Go!” which highlights the local flora and fauna located along the Bronx River and Orchard Beach. As a follow up to this visit, all students took a field trip to Orchard beach to explore the natural environment in their community. Storyteller and poet Bobby Gonzalez also visited the students and shared the history of the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, the Taino, through interactive storytelling. The film, including the artwork, was viewed by students and caregivers with an ending celebration on Thursday, May 23, that included cultural music, dancing, and food.
"I would like to share the importance of the Bronx Children’s Museums partnership at PS 47. The students in two of our first grade classes have had such a great learning opportunity from the program ‘Rivers on the Go!’. The students have shown such enthusiasm during the program sessions. The teaching artists are always welcomed with smiling faces. An increase in student attendance was evident during the days the program took place. Parents have expressed how much they like the program for their children. Parent have even requested a learning session for themselves. We all thoroughly enjoy the culminating event at the end of the program. We would be lucky to have our students exposed to this program next year. It is our hope that students during the 2019/2020 school year have the opportunity to learn about ‘Rivers on the Go!’ from the Bronx Children’s Museum.” - Marie Colamartino, Assistant Principal at P.S. 47
“I never thought my students would learn so much so quickly! The Bronx Children’s Museum classes are infused with positive energy. The number of instructors contributes to a safe, intimate setting with so much personalized instruction. I love, love, love the energy that Ms. Mona, Ms. Chavez, and Ms. Marina bring to every lesson. I would recommend this art program to anyone, at any school.” — Ms. Smith, class 1-3
“I likes making our stories about our spirit animals. They were so much fun to paint!” - Justin P.
“Thank you for the program, it has helped my child and they need more of these programs in schools. I love her spirit animal! This is all amazing. She loves loves loves this program. She comes home excited every day and always talking about the program. Thank you guys so much for everything!” - Mother of Melanie