Caribbean Day at children’s museum

Young children enjoy working with clay in the workshop room.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

Immersing yourself in the Caribbean spirit through arts is a wonderful way for the family to warm up an early March afternoon.

For the second year, in what will probably be an annual event, the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) is having its Caribbean Day when the museum will gear all art activities toward art traditions from the Caribbean. The day will draw special attention to Haitian arts.

From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, CMA’s light-infused brand- new location will offer opportunities for children to use a variety of art media while CMA’s teaching artist staff will be creating several fine arts and media lab workshops that highlight traditional Caribbean arts. Workshop rooms for painting, clay, multi-media, and music- making provide comfortable working space; the museum provides the materials. Noise is not discouraged.

During the year, teaching artists went to PS 115 in Canarsie and worked with the children to create an animated film sharing traditions and their Caribbean heritage. Their children-made film will screen at noon, kicking off the Caribbean Day programming.

The spacious gallery, hub of the new art-making center, is where returning Haitian master drummer Bonga will perform his traditional drumming, song and dance starting at 1:00 p.m. Bonga always brings a large array of percussion instruments for children to use—rattles and drums, small bells, a cowbell, and rhythm sticks. Kids and parents will accompany him. His dancer adds color and movement to the engaging rhythms and melodies.

In the fine arts studio, children will have a chance to make puppets and backdrops, starting at 1:00 p.m. with puppet maker Boo followed by the realm of storyteller Lily Cerat who paints pictures in words for the imagination as she shares tales from her childhood.

Meanwhile, children can explore all the creative centers at CMA as the artist-led workshops help students recreate Caribbean arts.

The techniques the Museum explores with children are as broad as the history of art itself. They include exploring color, recycled object sculpture, the grid for painting like artist Chuck Close, silhouettes, collaborative sculpture, pointillism, pop up books, monochromatic drawing, earthenware clay, wearable art, twigs and plaster, mask making, papier-mâché, ink blots, and more. Many of these will be used on Caribbean Day.

The Children’s Museum of the Arts officially opened its new location – 103 Charleton St., one block below Houston between Hudson and Greenwich, in October to much fanfare. A record crowd with parents and children from all the boroughs attended.

The fee for entrance on Caribbean Day is $10 per person–– adults and children. Infants and seniors are free.

This new space for creativity is a configuration of art labs and studios, a media lab, and clay room. Much fun is to be had here. There are morning classes for children under age five and semester-long after-school classes. On Thursday afternoons, from 4:00-6:00 p.m., the fee is “pay as you wish.” For more info: cmany.org.

Photos by Tequila Minsky
Photo by Tequila Minsky

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