Now in its 43rd year, Learning Through Art (LTA), the pioneering arts education program of the Guggenheim Museum, presents A Year with Children 2014, an exhibition organized by the Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim Museum, May 9–June 18, 2014. The annual exhibition showcases select artworks by students in grades two through six from 11 public schools who participated in LTA during the 2013–14 school year, representing each of New York City’s five boroughs. Approximately one hundred creative and imaginative works, including collages, drawings, found objects, prints, paintings, sculptures, and photographs will be on display during the sixweek installation.

A Year with Children is an annual exhibition that presents art by students participating in the Learning Through Art program which places professional teaching artists in New York City public elementary schools. The teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to develop art projects that teach students art skills and techniques while exploring 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. Throughout the program, teaching artists model practices and explorations similar to those that they use to spark their own creativity. 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 that encourage careful observation and interpretation.

LTA was founded in 1970 by Natalie Kovner Lieberman in response to the elimination of art and music programs in New York City public schools. Since its inception, LTA has served nearly 150,000 children and their families, primarily in New York City public schools.

2013–14 School Year

Nearly 1,500 students in grade grades two through six at 11 public schools participated in 20-week projects led by 16 LTA teaching artists, who reached 55 classes during the 2013–14 school year. The participating schools are: in Manhattan, PS 28 (Washington Heights), PS 184 (Lower East Side), and PS 42 (Chinatown); in the Bronx, PS 86 (Kingsbridge); in Staten Island, PS 48 (Grasmere); in Queens, PS 88 (Ridgewood), PS 144 (Forest Hills), and PS 317 (Rockaway Park); and, in Brooklyn, PS 8 (Brooklyn Heights), PS 9 (Prospect Heights), and PS 676 (Red Hook).

Exhibition Overview

In the LTA program, students investigated local and world communities, history, nature, change, and identity. While engaged with these themes, students explored a variety of materials, as reflected in the works on view in A Year with Children 2014. For example, Lotería Character Cards created by the students at PS 88 in Ridgewood will be grouped onto boards so visitors may interact with the Mexican Lotería game of chance. Invented board games and characters created by the fourth graders at PS 9 in Prospect Heights will also be on display, as will mixed-media sculptures inspired by the characters in books read by fourth graders at Chinatown’s PS 42.

A Year with Children 2014 is organized by the Education Department at the Guggenheim Museum: Greer Kudon, Senior Education Manager; Lindsay Smilow, Associate Manager; and Emmy Goldin, Education Associate.

A second-grade teacher at PS 317 said, “LTA has allowed our students an opportunity to see the world from a different perspective—that of an artist. Through working collaboratively, students have practiced cooperation and decision-making skills that will serve them well in future endeavors.”