P.S.: Summer feast for the eyes is at the Met

Erie Brewster, Edward  Murrow High School, Brooklyn, teacher Spy Kontarinis

Erie Brewster, Edward Murrow High School, Brooklyn, teacher Spy Kontarinis

At at time when school art classes and programs are being squashed again and again due to inadequate budgets — alas, there is a place that uses its prestigious standing in the world of art to empower new artists and showcase student talent. That place would be the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where you can now find 78 pieces of powerful student art in the exhibit P.S. Art 2014 on view through August 14.

The five boroughs of New York City are teeming with students, and 78 of them were chosen for an exhibit that teems with color and vibrancy, quirkiness, reflection and insight. P.S. Art 2014 is a collaboration of the Met, the New York City Department of Education and the Fund for Public Education. There were 890 submissions in paint, sculpture, photography, mixed media, collage and video. The winners‘ art and comments from each student and teacher are displayed online. Each winner receives a free summer pass to the Met, and was honored at an opening reception with fellow award winners and families.

Dharmesh Seenanan, P.S. 161, Queens teacher Debbie Rich

Dharmesh Seenanan, P.S. 161, Queens teacher Debbie Rich

Art teacher Debbie Rich, a member of the United Federation of Teachers, worked with 9-year-old student Dharmesh Seenanan on his eye-catching painting “The Red Rooster,” done in tempera paint and oil pastels. Seenanan is one of the  nearly 700 students she teaches art to at P.S. 161 in Queens.

Involving students with a museum such as the Met “gives us an opportunity to teach children through viewing and discussing the art,” Rich said. “We use higher-level questioning techniques.”

Kristen Morris, PS 35, Queens, teacher Silvia Huggler

Kristen Morris, PS 35, Queens, teacher Silvia Huggler

Kindergarten teacher Silvia Huggler , also a UFT member, said she aligned her art unit with the social studies curriculum. Her student, five-year-old Kristen Morris from P.S. 35, submitted a winning piece, “My Family.”

“While students discussed the variety of family structures in their classroom, in the art room students examined various works that depict families, such as Mother with Child by Käthe Kollwitz, Families by John Ward and a variety of family portraits by Fernando Botero,” Huggler explained in her submission.

Michael Castro, P.S. 352, Bronx, teacher Mary McGaw

Michael Castro, P.S. 352, Bronx, teacher Mary McGaw

Students were then asked to create a family portrait using detail and an understanding of shape, color and composition, as well as control of the paint medium.

“Kristen is only five years old, yet she is a serious artist who strives for improvement and perfection. She is focused and eager to learn, and makes thoughtful, artistic decisions. Kristen has a big smile on her face whenever she enters the art room,” Huggler said.

The student exhibit is in its 12th year. Come color your summer. Stop in and show the world — and the state government —  that, yes, art matters.

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