Dozens of children, parents, teachers and art-lovers gathered at Union Square Park on the sunny Tuesday morning for LeAp’s (Learning through an Expanded Arts Program) Kick-Off Art Exhibit, which is the largest student exhibition in NYC history featuring art from all five boroughs.
The exhibit was entitled: “A View from the Lunchroom: Bringing Issues to the Table” and featured 10 lunchroom tables that elementary students from across New York decorated to share their views on major social issues such as racism, bullying and discrimination.
Alexandra Leff, Deputy Director of LeAp and supervisor for the Public Art Program, explained that using lunchroom tables was a way to reflect the school environment and how issues such as bullying affect students across the country.
The Union Square Park event was the opening ceremony to the exhibit that featured all 10 benches side-by-side in the same park. Later in the summer, each bench will be placed in a local park near the participating school to be a permanent part of the community.
As part of the ceremony, about a dozen students representing the various schools spoke to an audience about their artwork and the social issues it meant to represent. From racism to
bullying to saying no to drugs, these students bravely talked about the inspiration behind their artwork and how these social issues affect them everyday. Using collages, colorful paint, graphic art, and many other art techniques, the children used creative ways to reflect themes of community, acceptance and tolerance.
LeAp is a long-running public art program designed to empower young boys and girls to have a voice through the use of art and public expression. With the assistance from other local artists, the LeAp public art program helps students get involved in art and express their true feelings about the world and their own communities.
Be sure to check out the individual art pieces at your local park. For locations and more information on LeAp, check out their website leapnyc.org.