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What is Art? 2014

What: An artist-in-residency program

Who: 310 children

When: Spring and Fall 2014

Where: P.S. 55, Mid-Bronx Headstart, P.S. 49, BronxWorks

Funders: New York State Council on the Arts


Program Description: In 2014, we were very excited to conduct four WIA programs.


1. Students at P.S. 55 worked collaboratively in March 2014 with Museum Program Director and Teaching Artist, Natalie Wood, creating a site-specific art installation out of found and recycled objects. The installation was featured at the Bronx Arts Alliance art show No Boundaries at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Students enthusiastically celebrated their beautiful piece at the opening. 




“Arts Education is crucial to Whole Child Development. Growing up I was exposed to the visual arts and one of my pieces made it the El Barrio Museum. The arts provided me many opportunities. One of my first jobs was as a graphic designer. We need more funding to ensure every school has an arts and/or music program.”

― Luis Torres, Principal at P.S. 55



2. The Museum introduced 16 Mid-Bronx teachers and 250 students to prolific Bronx painter Daniel Hauben who had a solo show at the Andrew Freedman Home art gallery from March 11 to April 24, also as part of the Armory Show. The Head Start site is housed at the Andrew Freedman Home on the basement floor. This time, Museum Program Director and Teaching Artist Natalie Wood provided professional development training, materials, books, and posters of Mr. Hauben’s work along with a six session art curriculum to teachers to use in engaging their students in an art project inspired by Mr. Hauben's work.


By first visiting Mr. Hauben and seeing his work in the gallery on the first floor, students were enthusiastic about making their own water color and mixed media creations about their neighborhood and displaying their masterpieces at their own show which was attended by a great many of parents. Mr. Hauben attended the art show as well and had his photo taken with each of the 16 classes of children. 


According to parents and teachers we spoke to from the Mid-Bronx program, none had actually visited the main floor gallery before and only a few had participated in weekend art activities run by artists who have studios in the immense newly restored majestic home. Now, it is our hope that teachers and parents understand what a fantastic source of inspiration their own building is to share with their children in years to come. 




3. In October 2014, the Bronx Children’s Museum collaborated with BronxArtSpace (BAS), a Bronx neighborhood gallery, to work with children to create artwork inspired by the work of artist Moses Ros-Suárez in the BAS show Narratives of Self-Exile. During this time, Bronx Children’s Museum Teaching Artist Lizzy Alejandro worked with Museum Program Director Natalie Wood to provide six experiences to a second grade class at P.S. 49, including: a tour of Narratives of Self-Exile; four printmaking studio art classes at P.S. 49; and an art exhibition with a reception at BronxArtSpace featuring the work of the children.



“This is an amazing program for children. Being taught by real artists and then having your work shown in a gallery is a once in a lifetime experience. With so much emphasis on academics, students rarely get the opportunity to express themselves through art.  The artists were great. My students loved it and so did I.”

-Nica Bryant, Classroom Teacher P.S. 49


“As a parent, I feel so happy that my child was part of this amazing program. I believe that this is a positive way to help kids express themselves through art, bringing out their creativity and using their minds to create wonderful stuff.”  -Glenny Escoto, parent of student Jayden Escoto



4. This What is Art? program, which began in November 2014, included 30 students between the ages of seven and nine years old at a BronxWorks after school program where children created a large scale public mural on canvas with Bronx-born and renowned mosaic and public muralist artist Manny Vega.


The mural making program lasted 16 sessions beginning in November with students meeting first with Mr. Vega and Bronx Children’s Museum teaching artists three days a week. The mural is 17 x 17 feet and will eventually be hung from the front of the BronxWorks building facing the Grand Concourse. The mural program kicked off with a visit from the Bronx Children’s Museum bus. The visit was used as an inspirational tool to have children explore water, where it comes from and how it connects all cultures. The mural is being used as a prototype for a large scale mosaic in the future.


This project was made possible with funding from the NY State Council of the Arts.




“I am aware that art is very specific to an individual and that it can be a means to touch a person’s life in a way that nothing else can. I believe the children participating in this mural project have been touched in a great way by this experience. The mural is a reflection of the children’s cultural identity, and human experiences. My hope is that the mural will impact this community and affect their perceptions concerning their community in some way.” –Kimberly Haynes, Program Coordinator BronxWorks


“The instructors were very helpful and the students enjoyed having them around. They became more knowledgeable about how water connected them to their own communities. They gained an understanding of how they use water in everyday life and of the many sources of water in the Bronx. They learned that water is all around them. In the end, the mural came out great; they didn’t want the experience to be over. This is a project that the students would never forget.” –Sherree Brundage, BronxWorks Teacher

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