“Art in Our Community” Curricula Awarded NEA Grant

Studio NYC is very pleased to announce the award of a new grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support Art in Our Community. Employing the practice of culturally responsive teaching, the Art in Our Community curricula will engage students in art making in varied media while focusing on the history of local artists and cultural movements, and connecting students to the artists, artworks, and cultural resources in their neighborhoods today.

At P.S. 145 in Brooklyn, Studio NYC Artist Instructor Leigh Ruple leads a class of second grade students through the reflection on the day’s painting lesson. Photograph by Mindy Best.

Studio NYC’s project is among the more than 1,100 projects selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding.

“We are proud that Studio NYC’s new program has been recognized among so many high-quality projects across the nation. Art in Our Community provides access for New York City students to local artists and resources reflective of the broad cultural diversity of the partner schools. We are excited to have the opportunity to contribute to rebuilding of the New York City school communities in this post-pandemic period,” said Alison Scott-Williams, President, Studio NYC.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as Studio NYC reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”

Art in Our Community will be realized through Studio NYC’s strong collaboration with five New York City public schools, including the following partners:

  • PS 103M, Washington Heights: Engaging with the school-wide bilingual program integrating the neighborhood’s Latinx culture and language. Building on the school’s model family engagement program to make connections with and between home and school.
  • PS 123M, Harlem: Connecting to the neighborhood’s Black and Latinx artists and community leaders and to its history, architecture, and art. Integrating the rich cultural resources of the neighborhood with an emphasis on creating art collaboratively.

Large-scale paintings on paper created by students from P.S. 123 in Harlem with Studio NYC Artist Instructor James Reynolds, exhibited at Asia Society Museum in 2019.

  • PS 241K, Crown Heights: Exploring contemporary art making in Brooklyn and the history of the art, artists, and activism. Emphasizing personal expression and engaging the community through exhibiting and presenting work.

Pastel portraits created by fifth grade students, (from left) Jaylen G., Shylah J., and Daniella B., from P.S. 241 in Brooklyn with Artist Instructor Yayoi Asoma.

Faculty of P.S. 241 at the opening of the exhibition Young Visions at Christie’s New York in 2019 with artworks created by their students. Photograph by Mindy Best.

By acknowledging, responding to, and celebrating fundamental cultures, culturally responsive teaching recognizes the importance of cultural references to learning, encourages multicultural viewpoints, and allows for inclusion of knowledge relevant to students and their community. Culturally responsive curricula are student-centered and interdisciplinary, integrated with topics related to the students’ background and culture.

Developing Art in Our Community with five partner schools from across New York City in different neighborhoods allows Studio NYC to deeply engage with students, teachers, parents, and school leaders in a model for culturally responsive teaching that holistically engages the school community.

This $45,000 award is Studio NYC’s fifth consecutive grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Previous awards have supported the development of new digital arts curriculum (21st Century Studio Project, July 2017 through June 2019) and the creation of new strategies for visual arts instruction for students with disabilities (Studio Adaptations, July 2019 through June 2021).