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What is Art?

What: An artist-in-residency program

Who: Pre-K to 3rd grade classes

When: Throughout the school year

Where: Bronx schools

Current Funders: Educational Foundation of America, HW Wilson Foundation, Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


  • To expose children to the world of professional art through relationships with early childhood educators, local artists and art institutions

  • To develop children’s fine art skills

  • To enhance children’s self-confidence and sense of pride through seeing their artwork displayed alongside professional artists


Program Description: What is Art? is a Bronx Children’s Museum artist-in-residency program which brings local Bronx artists together with early childhood centers. The goal of this program is to educate teachers and caregivers, as well as their children, about the importance of art in our lives and how easy it is to find and experience art. What is Art? exposes children and their caregivers to art and professional artists in a welcoming, intimate, and dynamic setting. Children work with local artists over several months to create and then display both individual and collaborative artwork at local Bronx art institutions such as BronxArtsSpace, the Andrew Freedman Home, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.


For most of the children, this program offered them their first-ever visit to a museum. What is Art? also includes professional development training for teachers, as well as materials, books and posters, along with a multi-session art curriculum.


Why is it important to take young children to experience art?

Visits to art shows, museums, botanical gardens, wildlife centers and other cultural institutions provide young children with the kind of early learning experiences that are fundamental to school success. Family or class visits also offer the opportunity to explore, learn, or create. These interactions foster a young person’s creativity, verbal literacy, vocabulary development and critical thinking skills.


In a recent study by Brian Kisida and Jay Greene in Arkansas, it has been concluded that visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition.


Expanding access to art, whether through programs in schools or through visits to area museums and galleries, should be a central part of any school’s curriculum.


This is one of the reasons why the Bronx Children's Museum conceived of its program called What is Art?


Click here to read the NYTimes Article: Art Makes You Smart! 


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