By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Many artists aspire to have their life's work rewarded by having their artwork hung on the esteemed walls of the Guggenheim Museum.
But for a group of students at PS 28 Wright Brothers Elementary School at 475 W. 155th St., the honor will come earlier in life as their work is included as part of the museum’s upcoming "A Year with Children, 2011" exhibition.
Spearheaded by the now 40-year-old Learning Through Art educational program at the museum, the annual show includes approximately 120 drawings, prints, photographs, clay sculptures, paintings, and assemblage pieces from second to sixth grade students from ten public schools, including PS 28.
The program places professional teaching artists in public elementary schools where they work with classroom teachers to develop art projects that teach students art skills and techniques, and explore ideas and themes related to the school curriculum.
"The program encourages curiosity, critical thinking, and ongoing collaborative investigation," said Greer Kudon, senior manager at Learning Through Art.
According to organizers, each student is given a sketchbook and an artist’s apron at the beginning of start of the program and is set to work with teachers "encouraging them to view themselves as artists."
In the case of the second grade artists at PS 28, teaching artist Kristin Melkin set out to answer the existential question of identity, reading stories that "include complex and colorful characters" in an attempt to answer the question "What makes me, me?" through their artwork.
Students created self-portraits with acrylic paint on velum layered on backgrounds.
"These scenes represent a personal memory for the students," Melkin wrote on Facebook.
In addition to PS 28, schools on display include PS 42 and PS 184 in Chinatown; PS 86 in the Bronx; PS 48 in Staten Island; PS 88 and PS 144 in Queens; and PS 8, 9 and 58 in Brooklyn Heights.
The show kicks off Friday, May 13, and runs until June 15 at the Annex Level 5 Gallery at the Guggenheim Museum, located at 1071 Fifth Avenue at East 89th Street.