Teachers and leaders from participating schools and childcare centers gathered at Bronx Children’s Museum to tour the newly opened museum and share practices for connecting families to Cool Culture partners and resources as part of our professional development program, Curators for Educators.
The workshop focused on physical wellbeing from our Health + Wellbeing initiative. Cool Culture staff facilitated discussion on making stronger connections between art, healing and equity. Educators acquired insights and received resources to curate art experiences centered on physical wellbeing and drew parallels to nature with an art-making activity, Stand Tall and Together Trees, from our Physical Wellbeing Toolkit.
Touring the Bronx Children’s Museum expanded this discussion with exhibits highlighting the Bronx’s ecosystem and neighborhoods. Each area of the museum represents a different habitat of the Bronx that families can explore through interactive play using costumes, boats, building blocks, microscopes and more. Museum staff partnered with Bronx-based artists and community members to curate the space. During the workshop, the museum’s art educator facilitated a collage project inspired by BronxTopia, a virtual dance installation designed by local fashion designer, Jerome LaMaar. Participating educators enjoyed the exhibit offerings and art project and expressed their excitement to spread the news about the newly opened museum with the families in their communities.
Christopher Sinkler, a Family Service Worker at South Jamaica Children’s Center and the center’s Cool Culture Cultural Liaison shared, “We’re based in South Jamaica and we and our families tend to stick to what’s known and comfortable in the area. So opportunities like this are a great way for me to see other parts of the city, see the arts and creativity and logistics of how to get there, and bring those experiences back to our families.” Chris shared activity sheets with other educators that he created in English and Spanish to generate excitement among his center’s families to use the Family Pass and guide them through a museum visit. Families who fill out the activity sheets get to see their efforts shared in the center’s online community board. Seeing Christopher take initiative to not only innovate ways to engage families but also to share with others was a highlight of the day.
Our Director of Program and Curriculum Development, Myra Hernández, commented, “I was so incredibly inspired to be in community with our educators who are bridging the gap between families and access to cultural institutions across the city. Building upon our experiences and understanding that we are all works of art, the Bronx Children’s Museum provided us with an opportunity to deepen our discussions centered on how art is everywhere. While being such a major contributor to the arts and culture that have shaped this city, along with its long history of resistance and agency, the Bronx has been long overdue for a space that captures the pride, identity, and diversity of the borough. From its exhibits on ecology, the diversity of its people, the homes that reflect back to our cultures, to the contributions by Bronx based artists, the Bronx Children’s Museum is a celebration of the borough. We look forward to sharing these experiences with Cool Culture families and encouraging their exploration of art and self expression in this joyfully designed space.”