Installation view: A Year with Children 2022, May 13–June 6, 2022, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photo: Ariel Ione Williams © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

The exhibition of over 100 artworks by New York City public school students opens today.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum proudly presents the Learning Through Art (LTA) annual exhibition A Year with Children 2022. On view May 13 through June 6, it showcases over 100 collages, drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, and installations by students in Grades 2-6 from New York City public schools across the five boroughs who participated in LTA, the museum’s longstanding arts education program. All works were created in classroom residencies with teaching artists throughout the 2021­-2022 academic year.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, educators and teaching artists addressed ongoing challenges in schools by developing virtual partnerships and engagements. This year, LTA resident teaching artists were animated to get back into classrooms to work with students after a two-year absence, bringing in materials and resources to empower their creativity that were not accessible during remote learning. The results were artworks that reflect on the challenges faced by students during the last two years such as re-establishing connections with others after periods of isolation, forming identity even when most of the face is covered with a mask, and perseverance through the unexpected.

“Creativity is the engine of our city and a birthright for all people. We are honored to feature the creative work of NYC students in our galleries as we have done for 51 years,” expressed Cyra Levenson, Deputy Director and Gail Engelberg Director of Education and Public Engagement at the Guggenheim, “Please help us celebrate their unique vision by visiting A Year with Children.”

Program Overview

The Guggenheim’s LTA program was founded in 1970 by Natalie Kovner Lieberman in response to the elimination of art and music programs in New York City public schools. LTA encourages curiosity, critical thinking, and collaborative investigation at the museum, in the classroom, and beyond, and has served nearly 150,000 children over the last fifty-one years. In the 2021-2022 school year, 11 teaching artists facilitated 16 residencies in 11 New York City public schools. They worked closely with classroom teachers to develop projects that promote visual literacy and connect ideas and themes to the school’s curriculum while also emphasizing personal expression and social-emotional learning skills.

LTA immerses students in the creative process, prompting them to view themselves as artists. At the start of the academic year, each student is given a sketchbook, imbuing them with a sense of ownership over their work. Teaching artists guide students in inventive investigations, encouraging them to experiment with new materials and techniques. Throughout the program, teaching artists demonstrate practices similar to those that they use to spark their own imaginations. Students’ investigations are also inspired by the art in the Guggenheim’s exhibitions and collection. When viewing art, students participate in inquiry-based discussions that elicit careful observation and interpretation.

This year’s participating schools are: from the Bronx, PS 86 (Kingsbridge Heights); from Brooklyn, PS 8 (Brooklyn Heights); from Manhattan, PS 28 (Washington Heights), PS 38 (East Harlem), and PS 145 (Harlem); from Queens, PS 219 (Flushing), PS 130 (Bayside), PS 144 (Forest Hills), PS 349 (Jamaica) and PS 317 (Rockaway Park); and from Staten Island, PS 48 (Grasmere).

A Year with Children 2022 is organized by Greer Kudon, Director of School, Youth, and Family Programs; Amy Boyle, Assistant Directorof School, Youth and Family Programs; Michelle Wohlgemuth Cooper, Associate Manager, School Partnerships; Rachel Thompson, Associate Manager, School and Teacher Programs; and Lara Tootleman, Education Associate, School Programs.

Exhibition Highlights

Behind the MaskPS 86, Bronx
Grade 4
Teaching Artist: Jeff Hopkins

This year, students explored the timely question, “How do we share the best parts of who we are even when our faces are covered with masks?” Students considered how to represent their identity through their art making, emphasizing that while masks may physically cover their faces, behind these masks, students are still themselves. Students looked closely at artworks by Jordan Casteel (b. 1989), Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920), and Kassou Seydou (b. 1971), examining how aspects of identity are represented through a variety of artistic techniques. To express ideas about their own identities, students created mask-like self-portraits using cardboard, tempera paint, and actual masks students have worn during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then used layers of cardboard behind the masks to show colors, shapes, and images. This process resulted in mixed-media sculptures that represent students’ personalities, favorite things, and important people in their lives.

Expression from the Inside OutPS 38, Manhattan
Grades 4 and 5
Teaching Artist: Lindsay Smilow

Fourth and fifth graders have been considering the question “How does art show me who I am (and who you are)?” with watercolor. Just like professional artists, students learned to care for their own materials and work in their studios on large-format paper to master watercolor techniques such as wet on wet, dry brush, and resist. They employed theories of color, shape, pattern, and texture to form nonrepresentational portraits—revealing their insides on the outside. Students were inspired by Etel Adnan’s (1925–2021) work and combined abstract painting with intuitive collage, which resulted in works that are nonobjective and deeply expressive.

Shifting ShapesPS 349, Queens
Grade 2
Teaching Artist: Rosemary Taylor

What is public art? What is its function? Who is it for and what can we learn from it? These are some of the questions PS 349 second graders examined this year. After exploring their school communities as well as the Greater NYC community, student artists created monochromatic wood and clay sculptures. Throughout this process, students learned about art fundamentals such as shape, balance, texture, and scale. Students applied this knowledge as they began to build and construct their structures, which honored their community, family, and selves. Inspiration drawn from artists such as Constantin Brâncuși (1876–1957), Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002), and Nari Ward (b. 1963) has invited them to envision what kind of public art they wish to see in their neighborhoods.

Magnetic Sculptures
PS 8, Brooklyn
Grade 3
Teaching Artist: Anna Martin

Third graders in Brooklyn thought about how to make invisible forces such as motion, gravity, and balance visible. After studying action painting and artists who use forces like gravity, students explored sculptures by artists who use stacking and magnetic force in their work, including Laurent Debraux (b. 1965), Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964), and Chiaozza (Adam Frezza b. 1977 and Terri Chiao b. 1981). As a design challenge, students were tasked with creating a stacked-shape sculpture that used both balance and embedded magnets to stand. Students had to mull over how magnets and magnetic force work. Students then selected a limited color palette for their sculpture while brainstorming what setting they would like to see their sculptures placed. The resulting sculptures on view are modular and can be arranged and rearranged because of the embedded magnets and simple shapes.

Printmaking: Games and ChallengesPS 48, Staten Island
Grade 3
Teaching Artist: Diane Matias

Inspired by elements of surprise and chance, student artists have been exploring personal expression. Students participating in Learning through Art receive a sketchbook that they use for various artworks during their residencies. This year, participants at PS 48 were tasked with transforming these ready-made sketchbooks into something personally significant for their final project. Students utilized the components of printmaking that they can control and the parts that they had to leave up to chance and thought about how these processes can represent their personal experience. While working on their books, students concentrated on elements of gelatin printing, creative design, and game playing, layering their printmaking stamps to encourage the addition of surprise pieces into their work. By manipulating a sketchbook that is mass-produced, students developed a deeper understanding of how artists can express their unique personalities through the manipulation of patterns.

For more information about LTA, visit guggenheim.org/lta

Funders

Learning Through Art and A Year with Children 2022 are generously supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional funding is provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Guggenheim Partners, LLC; The Keith Haring Foundation; The Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation; Gail May Engelberg and The Engelberg Foundation; The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation; Libby and Daniel Goldring; Anna Kovner and Seth Meisel; The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc.; Con Edison; The Durst Organization; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; The Sylvia W. and Randle M. Kauders Foundation; and Paycom Software, Inc.

The Leadership Committee for Learning Through Art and A Year with Children 2022 is gratefully acknowledged for its support.

Co-Chairs

Libby Goldring & Anna Kovner

Honorary Co-Chairs

Gail May Engelberg & Wendy L-J. McNeil

Members

Dan Goldring; Seth Meisel; Pat Dunnington; Abby Miller Levy; Nanar and Anthony Yoseloff; Dora and Cranford Stoudemire; Peggy Jacobs Bader; The Peter Lawson-Johnston Family; Tom McNeil; Pamela Fontaine Salvatore; Vivian Serota; Sandy Thoyer; Rima Vargas-Vetter and Paul Ukena; Richard and Audrey Zinman; Kathy and Othon Prounis; Gouri Orekondy Edlich; Hyewon Miller; Lisa and Jeffrey Thorp; Janice Savin Williams; Mary Elizabeth Catala; Karen Frome; Carin Hermann; Tony Kovner; Victor A. Kovner; Heather Mahland; Linda and Arthur Meisel; Brett O’Brien; Stacy and Jonathan Pollack; The Plotch Family Charitable Fund; Kim Rosenberg

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is now among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit guggenheim.org.

Visitor Information

Admission: Adults $25, students/seniors (65+) $18, members and children under 12 free. Open Sunday–Monday and Wednesday–Friday, 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday, 11 am to 8 pm. Closed Tuesday. Members-only on select Mondays, 6 pm to 8 pm. Pay What You Wish hours are Saturdays, 4 pm to 6 pm. Purchase of timed tickets are encouraged ahead of visit. Explore the Guggenheim with our free Digital Guide, a part of the Bloomberg Connects app. Find it in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store.

The Guggenheim Museum requires masks for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. Learn more about our COVID-19 safety protocols.