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Ending Celebration for Little Friends of the Museum

Photos by Jamal Richards

Bronx, New York: Children from the Bronx Children's Museum's Little Friends of the Museum program celebrated their artistic accomplishments on Thursday in an Ending Celebration at Roberto Clemente State Park attended by caregivers, teachers, and special guests. Twenty-five second grade children from P.S. 274 have been engaged in twice weekly arts experiences with Museum Director of Arts & Programming and Teaching Artist Natalie Wood and Teaching Artist Katherine Perez since October. Classes were held at nearby Roberto Clemente State Park, where the young artists were able to use the park and the Harlem River as inspiration for multiple individual pieces of artwork. Specifically, children researched, designed, and fabricated prototypes for three areas of the Bronx Children's Museum, which is scheduled to open to the public in early 2020.

This is the third year of collaboration between the Bronx Children's Museum, Roberto Clemente State Park, and SCAN at P.S. 274. "BxCM's after-school art program at the park has added a tremendous resource to the park, but even more importantly, greatly enriched the lives of these school children," said Leslie Wright, Regional Director for New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. "Thanks to BxCM's very thoughtful program design and talented teaching artists, the students have been given a very nurturing opportunity to develop their artistic expression through exploring the nature around them. For the park, hosting this group of inspired young artists is everyone's favorite time of the week! NYS Parks is proud to co-sponsor the program through our Connect Kids program, along with the generous support of NYC Council Member Vanessa Gibson."

A child creates a nature-inspired hanging sculpture

First, children began by creating models of the hanging sculpture which will greet visitors in the entryway of the new site. As research, children visited the Children's Museum of the Arts and spoke with artist Yung Oh Le Page about his cardboard sculptures. Different interpretations of nature were represented in the 3D sculptures which showcased the beauty of the natural landscape of the Bronx.

Child-created treehouses

Photo by Jamal Richards

The second undertaking was to create models for the large-scale, climbable tree house which will be featured in the Natural Science area of the new site. Children were challenged to use their engineering skills and visited the Brooklyn Children's Museum to practice building using Imagination Blocks. Back in the classroom, children used cardboard, tape, and natural materials like moss, sticks, and rocks to create fanciful versions of the treehouse, which were displayed at the Museum's second annual Gala earlier this month.

Finally, children have been researching the history of casitas in the Bronx and creating their own versions using mixed media. The casita will be a focal point of the Museum's Arts & Community section and will feature a large front porch that functions as both a meeting space and a performance stage. The Museum will offer these prototypes to selected commissioned artists from the Bronx, who will use them, in conjunction with feedback from the children, as inspiration for their own models. In the fall, the prototypes will be judged and a final artist will be selected to design and fabricate the actual installations alongside the Museum's exhibit designers at Argyle Design, Inc.

The Little Friends of the Museum program was funded in part by New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, with support from SCAN at P.S. 274. The program is also funded, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council through a CASA grant by NYC Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

For more information about the Museum, please contact Nicole Wallace, STEAM Program Manager.

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