NYC STUDENTS SPEAK OUT ON MAJOR SOCIAL ISSUES IN LARGEST STUDENT EXHIBITION IN NYC PARKS HISTORY
NEW YORK, NY—Students in 10 New York City public middle schools from all five boroughs will present their public art pieces—school lunchroom tables transformed into colorful works of art that address major social issues in their communities and the world (including bullying, gay rights, environmental awareness, gang violence, etc.)—and display them in the largest student art exhibition in the history of NYC parks, created by Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation.
Tuesday, May 22 at 11:30am
Union Square Park
(south plaza along 14th Street)
At Union Square Park, students will present their work and will be honored by NYC School Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey and others. Guest Artist Christo will be in attendance.
The citywide kick-off event will showcase the exhibition “A View from the Lunchroom: Students Bringing Issues to the Table,” and the 10 large-scale artworks will then be installed in 10 community parks citywide (two in each boroughs) and will be on display from June through August. Developed by LeAp’s Public Art Program, this fifth-annual citywide exhibition empowers young people to have a voice in their communities to speak out on issues of relevance to them (such as gangs, violence, homelessness, drug abuse, healthcare, and cultural diversity, among others) and become catalysts for social change through their art. Lunchroom tables are used as a canvas for this project as a symbol of student ideas and conversations.
“LeAp’s Public Art Program gives our students a citywide platform to showcase their artistic talents and generate awareness for important issues facing their communities,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott. “We are thrilled to have LeAp as a partner in our efforts to enhance arts education in the schools.”
“Once again New York City’s schoolchildren will become the city’s youngest public artists this summer, thanks to the efforts of LeAp,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “There is no better place to kick off this annual, socially-minded exhibit than in Union Square Park, where New Yorkers have been broadcasting their ideas for over a century. The students’ thought-provoking artwork is sure to enliven the City’s parks and raise awareness on the issues that are most important to them.”
LeAp teaching artists worked with students in 10 schools to explore community issues, study the history and practice of public art, and ultimately create beautiful works of art on the surfaces of the lunchroom tables for public display. In addition, internationally-renowned Guest Artists Christo, Mark di Suvero, Audrey Flack, Nari Ward, Mel Kendrick, Daze, Sanford Biggers, George Boorujy, Mary Mattingly and Emma Amos, met with students to discuss their work and the power and impact of public art.
Students citywide created beautiful, colorful and meaningful works of art that addressed a wide range of community issues. For example, Manhattan students at Salk School of Science addressed the civil rights issues including gay rights. Bronx students at New Venture Academy 219X and Queens students of Robert E. Peary 75Q tackled the issue of bullying and intolerance while Staten Island students at Robert Randall School 373 addressed the issue of emotional literacy. Brooklyn students at 53K focused on the role technology in helping to foster better communication and peace in the world and students from Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented 239K addressed pollution and the environment.
SCHOOLS AND PARKS
Robert F. Kennedy School 169M located in Central Park
Salk School of Science 255M located in Augustus Saint-Gaudens Playground
Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented 239K located in Kaiser Park
53K located in Detective Joseph Mayrose Park
Robert E. Peary School 75Q located in Forest Park
Walter Reed School 9Q located in Juniper Valley Park
Acción Academy 341X located in Crotona Park
New Venture Academy 219X located in Claremont Park
Robert Randall School 373R located in Snug Harbor
PS/IS 25R located in Silver Lake Park
LeAp’s Public Art Program was made possible by the generous support of NYC Parks & Recreation, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Fridolin Charitable Trust, HSBC Bank USA, NA, Hot Topic Foundation, Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Kinder Morgan Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation, Astoria Federal Savings, Lewis-Feigenbaum Charitable Trust, Auer’s Moving & Rigging Co., Inc., The Compleat Sculptor, Environmental Technology Inc., Mariano Brothers Specialty Moving, Whole Foods Market, Zabar’s, KADKO and CAMBRO. A very special thanks to NYC Department of Education and its Department of Facilities.
Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) is a nonprofit, arts education organization committed to improving the quality of public education through a unique, hands-on, arts-based approach to teaching the core curriculum. Since 1977, LeAp has provided more than two million New York City students in kindergarten through 12th grade with music, dance, theater, digital media, and visual arts programs that directly teach the academic curriculum. LeAp offers in-school residencies, afterschool activities, teacher trainings, parent workshops, and assembly programs to schools citywide, conducts programs in hospitals, shelters, and cultural institutions and develops educational materials. LeAp is an innovative leader in the field of arts education, and has received major awards, grants, and endorsements from the United States Department of Education, New York City Department of Education, Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), The After School Corporation (TASC), and the offices of the mayor and governor.