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Artworks by New York City School Students on View at Guggenheim Museum

NEW YORK, NY.- A Year with Children 2009: Selected Works from Learning Through Art, an exhibition organized by the Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim Museum, will be on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from May 13 through August 9, 2009. The exhibition showcases artworks by second- through sixth-grade students from 16 public schools throughout New York City. These schools have participated in Learning Through Art (LTA), a 39-year-old pioneering arts education program of the Guggenheim Museum, during the 2008–09 school year. Approximately 200 colorful and imaginative works will be on display, including prints, paintings, sculptures, mobiles, and more.

Program Overview
A Year with Children is an annual exhibition that presents art by students participating in Learning Through Art (LTA). LTA places professional teaching artists into New York City public elementary schools, where they collaborate with classroom teachers to develop art projects that allow students to learn art skills and techniques and explore ideas and themes related to the school curriculum. The program encourages curiosity, critical thinking, and ongoing collaborative investigation. Additionally, LTA immerses students in the artistic process, encouraging them to view themselves as artists. Each student is given a sketchbook and an artist’s apron, and throughout the program teaching artists expose students to practices and explorations similar to those with which they themselves engage. Students’ investigations are also inspired by the exhibitions they visit at the Guggenheim during the school year. When viewing art, students participate in inquiry-based discussions encouraging careful observation and interpretation.

Learning Through Art was founded in 1970 by Natalie K. Lieberman in response to the elimination of art and music programs in New York City public schools. Over the past 39 years, Learning Through Art has served more than 145,000 children and their families, primarily in New York City public schools.

2008–09 School Year
Approximately 1,500 second- through sixth-grade students at 16 public schools participated in 10- or 20-week projects led by 13 Learning Through Art teaching artists, reaching 62 classes in the 2008–09 school year. The participating schools are: in Manhattan, P.S. 28 (Washington Heights), P.S. 42 (Chinatown), P.S. 115 (Washington Heights), P.S. 152 (Inwood), P.S. 153 (Hamilton Heights), P.S. 154 (Harlem), P.S. 184 (Chinatown), P.S. 200 (Hamilton Heights); in the Bronx, P.S. 86 (Kingsbridge); in Staten Island, P.S. 48 (Grasmere); in Queens, P.S. 88 (Ridgewood), P.S. 144 (Forest Hills), P.S. 148 (East Elmhurst); and, in Brooklyn, P.S. 8 (Brooklyn Heights), P.S. 9 (Prospect Heights), P.S. 58 (Cobble Hill).

Exhibition Overview
In the LTA program, students examined topics including community, identity, storytelling, peace, and the environment. While engaged with these themes, students explored a variety of materials, and their works on view will include drawings, prints, photographs, clay and found object sculptures, acrylic and watercolor paintings, assemblage pieces, and collages.

A Year With Children 2009: Selected Works from Learning Through Art is organized into four sections, highlighting four ways in which the LTA program creates a unique and transformative experience within the school day. Materials demonstrates how students experiment with various media as a means of expression. Choice reveals the meaningful decisions students make about what to create and how to create it. Knowledge shows how young artists use what they have learned in school to inform and inspire their work. The artworks installed in Collaboration emphasize the power of working together and display how varied points of view impact the creative process.

A Year with Children 2009 is organized by Rebecca Shulman Herz, Senior Education Manager, Learning Through Art, along with Marie Reilly, Associate Manager, and the LTA staff. According to Herz, “the exhibition illuminates the process by which LTA strives to transform classrooms into studios and students into artists.”

According to a participating fifth-grade teacher from P.S. 200 in Manhattan, “This art-based program supports other content areas by opening the students’ eyes and allowing them to think outside of the box. In social studies, they were able to delve into all of the cultures that they were learning about, and to think about what defines and unites those cultures. In math, they related the shapes and the lines from their self-portraits to the angles and figures they were measuring in class.”

Select highlights:
P.S. 48, Staten Island, 4th grade
Teaching Artist: Mark Dzula

Fourth-grade students at P.S. 48 explored how stories can inspire abstract art while creating these painted-paper collages. Each piece began with a legend students read as part of their study of the Native Americans. Student artists then learned painting and collage techniques and experimented with ways to depict the characters, setting, and events from stories using only lines, colors, and abstract shapes. The final pieces tell these traditional tales in creative new ways.

P.S. 153, Manhattan, 5th grade
Teaching Artist: Ascha Kells Drake

Through neighborhood walks and classroom discussion, fifth-grade students at P.S. 153 investigated their Washington Heights community and the ways it has changed over time. While learning about the ways in which artists, architects, and city planners change their environments, they created collograph prints of the structures that they observed around them, as well as those that they would like to see in their neighborhood someday.

P.S. 86, The Bronx, 6th grade
Teaching Artist: Jeff Hopkins

As an exploration of how abstract art can relate to self-portraiture, student artists at P.S. 86 in the Bronx considered the ways in which artists represent a subject's character traits and physical attributes. In these examples, students first used watercolors to create a portrait that they felt conveyed a particular emotion, and then cut, tore, and collaged the painting to form a new composition.

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