Fall 2012: Massenet’s Cendrillon

Each year begins with an active introduction to opera – what is recitative, what is an aria, why is it loud, what’s a conductor, an orchestra? Cyndie acts and sings everything out for – and with – the kids. A kindergartener volunteers to be part of an improvised opera scene and his friends admire (and giggle) at his bravery.

Cinderella has a great appeal. We talk about extended families. And Cinderella’s many household tasks. Each scene of the opera is explored through a hands-on artwork that introduces new ideas and techniques for expressing one’s own vision. For all of these children, everything here is new and exciting: working in a large, light space, the endless materials,the music, leaving their neighborhood, personal attention, making something that they are really proud of and that represents who they really are.

Massenet’s Cendrillon is magical. You can see it in the kids’ faces. Who doesn’t want to be transformed by the fairy godmother? Enthralled by the music, engaged in the storytelling, in love with Joyce Di Donato, they beg to watch more and more of the video of the opera and, at the same time, can’t wait to start making art.There is cutting, planning, thinking, talking with resident artists about one’s ideas and endless experimentation. A time for the kind of meaningful play that yields substantive knowledge and a self-confidence gained only from first hand experience. To see these children beaming, completely engaged, we forget – as they do – that their home and school lives can be overwhelming and extremely difficult

Fall 2012: Gallery Hops & Museum Visits

Mr at Lehmann Maupin, Jesper Just at James Cohan, Louis Fishman at Cheim & Read, Chris Johanson at Mitchell Innes & Nash, Henry Moore at Gagosian, Andy Warhol at the Met, Mickalene Thomas at the Brooklyn Museum Time In’s being out in galleries and museums changes not only our kids’ vistas, but alsothose of the world around them. The kids are showstoppers: their focus, their openness and interest in art astounds gallery owners, patrons and passers-by. We watch how their skills take on a new dimension – developing hand-to-eye coordination and drawing from observation with an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction. The kids are passionate and there are never enough galleries for them.

At a big installation like that of Mr. at Lehmann Maupin, the kids immediately understand that there are many kinds of art. The incredible number of shows we see allows kids to build a visual repertoire. Big impressions on small people.

Mickalene Thomas at the Brooklyn Museum.

Mickalene’s work communicates carries a strong message of real world success and artistic distinction that is invaluable to our kids’ sense of themselves in the world. What a great role model Mickalene is, and how fantstic this big beautiful show dedicated to glorious faces of color!

Being here gives the kids an opportunity to show their special talents – Remark-able talents that would never have seen the light of day in a normal classroom. Big surprises for everyone . That’s why being out in the field is invaluable for kids.

December:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Warhol and Other Artists

What classroom can ever offer the variety of experiences these children are having during our self-guided tour at the Met? From Warhol’s pillows to miming a Rodin sculpture.  To drawing Kelly and Noland!  Time In brings a special expertise – and versatility – to lower elementary and pre-school kids during a museum or gallery visit that has been developed over nearly two decades of HiArt! programming. Each student has with an artist quality sketchbook and pencils at all times.  So many of our kids have no access to art supplies in their classrooms or at home. The great thing is that since Time In is part of their earliest school experiences they have the sense that this is what school is all about.  And it should be!

Winter 2012-2013: Janaceck’s The Cunning Little Vixen

Every session has an operatic portion with singing, storytelling, actually watching a video of the opera (when one is available) and plenty of conversation so that children are constantly active, rather than passive. Sometimes there is a movement portion – because everyone loves to dance – and there is always an art portion in which children see a demo showing how the materials of the day might be used.  The structure is apparent, and the result is to be determined.  300 children, 300 different solutions.

“Theirs is better than mine.” ?   Never heard in our classroom!

Robin Rhode at Lehmann Maupin

Renowned South African Artist, Robin Rhode, invited Time In’s first graders to participate in the installation of his dual venue exhibition at Lehmann Maupin in January 2013.  Besides being outrageously fun, how amazing is it to be in the arms of a world-famous artist?

Robin was astonished by the children’s enthusiasm and focus and said he had never worked with kids like this before.  And I said, “how many 7 year-olds have you worked with who have seen 30 major contemporary art shows and make masses of art in a studio every week?”

Bus strike:  The Cunning Little Vixen – Drawing the Vixen

The question was how to keep the children’s work from being disrupted by the bus strike.  As the strike continued, we opted to just pack everything we could into a car and drag it up millions of stairs in our partner schools. We created art havoc in every cranny of the schools, leaving trails of glitter in our wake.

At a certain point, we decided to eschew the mess and do some simple, directed drawing of the Vixen based on manga techniques.  The kids were incredibly excited and the results fabulous.  Although these are their first representational drawings, by this time in February, their skill level – after making so much art –  is very impressive – Pre-K, K and 1st graders.

Bus strike:  The Dream

The Vixen’s Dream is some of the most beautiful music in Janacek’s opera.  And in the studio we always dance through it so that we can feel in the music exactly where and how her spirit is freed through the dream. Before drawing, kids shared their dreams and even those who never talk had tons to say.  Then we looked at several  “dream images” Monet, Tanguy, Magritte, Murakami, Kiefer.   And in their big studio sketchbooks they began to draw their own dreams very seriously. One student was incredibly proud to point out that he had been Influenced by the Monet. And another student had this to say:  “I love art  It is the Best.”

Guggenheim:  GUTAI: Splendid Playground

There are few words that can adequately describe the engagement, focus and enthusiasm of this South Bronx kindergarten class (and their teacher!) at the Gutai show.

JAY DE FEO at the Whitney

Jay De Feo’s Rose figures among the most important and interesting works of the 20th century.  How fortunate were our kids to have the opportunity to sit right next to it at the Whitney?  And to draw it!

Even at museums in the presence of a museum educator, Time In resident artists are always present interacting with kids 1:1.

Spring 2013: Mozart’s: The Magic Flute 

The first lesson of the Magic Flute is the very simple creation of a cover page – while listening to the opera – made up of the letters from the words “Magic” and “Flute.” Children are working in the studio with hundreds of beautifully reproduced contemporary art auction catalogs that serve as the paper on which they will write and then cut out their letters.

There is an enormous amount of freedom with which to assemble the letters – or not assemble them.  We encourage the children to think about each project non-linearly – the demo – in this case with the letters — is merely a starting place  – a framework, or a prompt, for the piece.

Fantastically different solutions – each child is excited with what they have made.  The piece is the reflection of personal associations and an individual visual and kinesthetic sensibility.. Each a unique, inspired very exciting work of art.

The Magic Flute:  PAPAGENO’S LOCK

There is no character that captures children’s imaginations more than Papageno.  The story of Papageno’s lie, his punishment by the Three Ladies, his song with the lock on his mouth – which we learn and sing along with – are all fodder for long-lasting connections. The “Lock” lesson, coming towards the end of the year, shows how far the children have come:  compositionally, the choices they make, the use of pastels, the use of space, the making of a sculptural lock to be incorporated into the work  In the background on the stand is the demo piece:  far less interesting than any of the children’s solutions, it is uniquely about materials and possibilities.

Adrian Ghenie & Al Held Gallery Hop

One of the great features of gallery hops is the actual “hop,” a special song and hop that we do to propel ourselves down the streets in beautiful weather.  Not to be missed:  the faces of passersby as we come hopping down the street singing! Contrary to popular belief that boys are not interested in art . . .

MAGIC FLUTE:  The Queen of the Night

The kids are totally taken in by the Queen’s first aria – so when the second aria comes around there is much discussion – is she good, is she bad?  And what does this all mean?  The Queen is a 2 week project with extensive work on several planes.  It is them most beautiful, complete expression of the opera that the children make in the studio and illustrates the impressive skills gained. Kindergartners: fantastic!




The year ended with a two week gallery run at chashama on East 43rd Street. The kids spent three weeks prepping in the studio. First there were presentations on artists’ work – the kids ooo-ed and aah-ed. Then kids were asked to sketch their own dream work and decide what materials would be required.  During weeks 2 and 3 in the studio the kids were mentored by resident artists as they put their rather large-scale projects together.  After 12 hours of  transporting and installing, the show was ready to go, and weeks 4 & 5 were spent at chashama where we held our final classes, open house days and reveled in what it means to see your work up on the walls of a public space. Working in every conceivable medium at the studio in preparation for our show!

An amazing end to an Amazing Year!

Every day of Time In brings more of our community members out of their neighborhoods and into the world of the living arts to support their children. Thank you parents, grandparents and siblings for sharing Time In with us and for being part of your kids’ lives!

The Time In Children's Arts Initiative
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