Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Public Art: A View from the Lunch Table

Students Bringing Issues to the Table

LEAP, A View from the Lunch Table: Students Bringing Issues to the Table is a public art project that is being exhibited in various community parks now through August as part of NYC Parks program Art in the Park. I found this project to be really inspirational and I wanted to share this with you. I think this is a great example that kids can and want to express themselves and communicate about difficult social issues if given the outlet and opportunity.

LEAP, A View from the Lunch Table: Students Bringing Issues to the Table
June 2, 2014 to August 25, 2014


Students from ten New York City public middle schools, with two schools representing each borough, have transformed school lunchroom tables into personalized canvases and created colorful works of public art that touch upon critical social issues in their community and across the globe. The tables, which have been installed in ten community parks across the five boroughs, are a way of giving young teens the chance to voice their opinions and reach out to the public in hopes of inspiring social change through their art. This exhibition was created by LeAp’s Public Art Program in cooperation with NYC Parks and marks the largest student exhibition in the history of NYC Parks and the first to span five boroughs. The program has included visits with distinguished artists such as Jenny Holzer, Crash, Emma Amos, Christo, and Lorna Simpson among many others. For 34 years, LeAp (Learning through an Expanded Art Program) has provided arts–based education to over two million students K-12 throughout New York City.

Artworks can be found through August at: Sara D. Roosevelt Park and Cherry Tree Park Playground in Manhattan; JJ Byrne Playground and Detective Joseph Mayrose Park in Brooklyn; St. Mary’s Park and Claremont Park in the Bronx; Juniper Valley Park and Evergreen Park in Queens; and Clove Lake Park and Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island.

For more information visit the LEAP website .


Lunch Table Art Exhibit Unveiled in Union Square
5.20.14 at 5:15pm by Rebecca Lewis                                                                                   
Rebecca Lewis, WFUV                                              
                                                                                                                                 Photo by Sarah Le/Epoch Times
New lunch tables were unveiled in Union Square Tuesday as part of a student art exhibition sponsored by Learning through Exapanded Arts Program, or LeAp.

Students transformed 10 lunch tables into works of art that address various issues affecting young people today from drug abuse to racism. Those tables will be placed in parks throughout the city. The exhibit is part of LeAp's Public Art Program     directed by Alexandra Leff.                                                                                                    

"For us the tables are a symbol of student ideas and conversation," Leff says. "Kids hang out in the cafeteria, they're talking about issues, so that has been the symbol of this program and that has been the canvas since this program's inception."

The program began seven years ago and each year sees a new group of kids from all over the city. This year, two schools from each borough are participating. Each school chose an issue that they wanted to address in their artwork, choosing names for their pieces like "Stop Bullying! Learn to Change the World" and "Breaking Racism's Barriers/ Our Bond Will Not be Broken."

Most of the kids in the program are middle school aged. The program meant to help give voice so they can express themselves about issues that matter to them and teach them peer leadership skills.

"We feel like that's an age to really empower them and have them have them realize they make a difference in their community and in their lives... it's really a program about empowering kids in all different ways in their lives," Leff says.

Many kids have been impacted by the issues that they addressed in their artwork first hand. Jose Machicote is a sixth grader from PS/IS 50 in Manhattan. His school addressed the issue of bullying and the need for peace. A victim of bullying himself, he hoped that his table will help others stand up to their bullies and find help, just like he did.

"Some kids are afraid that some adults won't help them or they're afraid the bullies might beat them up, so the tables might give them a little bit of courage to stand up to the bullies."

Jose and his classmates decorated their table with written promises to be better people and to treat others more kindly.

The event on Tuesday was the only time all 10 tables will be together in the same place. Now, each will be placed in a different park throughout the city where they will remain on display from June until August.

LeAp's Student Public Arts Program NYC - You Tube

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