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September 26th, 2008

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS GETS PAID VISIT BY SPEAKER SILVER AND ASSEMBLYMEMBER GLICK.

by Joelle Panisch

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymember Deborah Glick visited the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) Wednesday morning to see the fruit of the capital lending that they secured.

In 2005 the Assemblymembers, both representing the district, backed funding from the New York State Community Capital Assistance Program that greatly helped the museum create new programs and expand its social outreach.

The CMA, a nonprofit organization, was established in 1988 by Kathleen Schneider in Soho. It was founded on the belief that self-expression, through creative visual and performing arts, is an essential part of development and that all children need a safe place to mature into their authentic selves. Over the years the CMA has instituted a number of hands on art programs, taught by talented and trained working artists. With the help of the city’s $50,000 grant and the additional donations it inspired, the CMA has been able to expand their programs to workshops in schools that lack funding for art programs. Though it is a SoHo museum, with the help of supporters like Silver and Glick it has been able to serve a much greater public.

Led by Executive Director Keats Myer, the Assemblymembers took a tour of the museum. Since the CCAP funding the CMA has been able to develop their facilities as well. In addition to the art exhibits and drawing/painting centers, the Museum has opened the “CMA Media Lab,” which uses film equipment, computers, lighting, and software to produce claymation, animation, and live action films. These media-art classes have been a raving success amongst children and parents, and have spurred the CMA to include them in their public school programs in Staten Island and Queens.

At I.S. 75 in Staten Island the response was overwhelming. Over 150 enthusiastic kids, an unprecedented turnout, attended the program. Most of these children, ages 7-12, would never have had access to such tools and hands on learning otherwise.

A proud Assemblymember Glick said it best: “It is an essential resource for people in under funded communities. It provides a safe environment [for children] to learn and explore their creativity.”

And with the aide of the Children’s Museum of the Arts kids are able to see their creativity procure positive results. For example, films made by children in the CMA Media Lab have been featured in the Bloomingdales’ 2007 holiday windows.

In a statement Myer thanked the Assemblymembers. “Their support has been instrumental in helping us grow into the institution we are today. We are very proud to be growing so quickly and so well, serving so many kids in such a special way.”

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York | Politics

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