NYC Parks' Young Artists Display Work In Local Gallery
June 12th marked the opening of a very special two week exhibit at the Chashama Gallery, located at West 126th Street in Harlem, that celebrated art made by Parks children in four of our Afterschool programs. The art show was created through a unique partnership fostered between NYC Parks, the Art Students League, and Chashama Gallery.
Founded in 1875, the Art Students League exemplifies world-wide excellence in artist training. The Art Students League launched Seeds of the League in 2010, an arts education program for youth. The Director of the Seeds of the League Program, Denise Greene, initiated a partnership with NYC Parks by inviting Parks children to a one-time only art workshop at the league's main studio on West 57th Street. Mary Polemarhakis, Director, Program Development, Public Programs, cultivated a partnership that has grown into a rewarding three-year relationship that places artists-in-residency at four of our recreation centers (J. Hood Wright, Al Smith, Hunts Point, and Herbert Von King) where they teach classes to Parks children on a weekly basis all year round. The League not only provides the teaching artists, but also purchases all of the art supplies for the programs. Since the inception of this amazing partnership seven Parks children have been awarded part-time scholarships by the Art Students League. This fall the program is expanding to additional Afterschool and teen programs.
A chance meeting with Anita Durst, Founder of Chashama Gallery, sparked an interest in the amazing work being done for the young artists at Parks and offered up gallery space for a show. Chashama is a non-profit organization devoted to providing artists in the community a chance to display their work. They accomplish this goal by buying and renovating dilapidated properties and turning them into gallery spaces.
Also in attendance were budding photographers ages 11-12 who are in the OST (Out of School Time) program operated by City Parks Foundation at Hunts Point. These middle school children are studying creative media arts and the exhibit offered a great opportunity to use their new skills.
Written by Central Recreation Intern William Morrison