The Children’s Art Carnival will be ten years old in March. Originally sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art, it has, since 1973, functioned as a fully independent center, and moved from a garage on St. Nicholas Avenue to a four-story brownstone at 62 Hamilton Terrace [near Convent Avenue].
Established on the premise that children need creative activities, the Carnival is as active during school hours as it is after. Teachers are invited to bring their pupils to the Carnival for three consecutive weeks of classes, the aim being to have them introduce similar activities into their school’s basic curriculum. This program has met with tremendous success.
The Carnival is constantly involved in community projects on streets, in parks, schools and libraries. One lasting contribution is a 14-by-7-foot mural in the 139th Street park at Lenox Avenue. It represents a combination of seven children’s paintings, and is quite colorful. Equally colorful is the monthly show Carnival youngsters produce for radio station WBAI-FM (99.5). It airs at 8:30 in the morning on the second Saturday of each month, and it features children reading the words of children [often their own — works, that is], and participating in live workshop sessions.
Since 1972, the Carnival has used art activities to further the reading ability of children who are either below level or have some developmental problems. The program — designed for second through sixth-grade students — had been rated exemplary by the Central Board of Education.
The Children’s Art Carnival is designed to help produce what is calls Total people. This fall, it is also starting a new apprenticeship program for young adults aged 16 through 21; the program will include writers and music component workshops, and the number to call for appointments and general information is (212) 234-4093. For children aged 4 through 16, the Carnival offers the following free after-school workshops:
Sculpture: [Monday through Friday] — Children are trained to use clay, and shown techniques used in pottery and sculpture making.
Print-Making [Monday through Wednesday, and Friday]. Participants are taught basic techniques of etching and silk-screen processes, and allowed to make prints on fabric, design posters, etc., Sewing [Tuesday and Thursday]. Hand and machine sewing are taught along with pattern making, fabric design, and dyeing.
Drawing [Wednesday and Friday] Various techniques and drawing materials are explored in this workshop. Film-making [Tuesday and Wednesday]. Basic principles of film-making [including animation] are taught. The workshop employs super-8 camera equipment and is specifically designed to develop the skill of turning a story into a film experience.
Photography [Monday, Thursday and Friday]: Children are taught to use Instamatic and 35 mm cameras, and to process their own black and white film, Solarized and sepia-toned developing techniques are also explored.
3D Construction [Monday through Friday] — An unusual workshop that stimulates creative thinkers to construct three-dimensional works from scrap and other objects that might otherwise be considered useless.
Puppetry [Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday] — Teaches how to make puppets, Muppets and Marionettes, and to develop scripts and improvisational routines for same. These productions are then filmed by youngsters attending the filmmaking workshop.
Painting [Monday through Friday] — Encourages and teaches children to make their own statements through the paint medium. All other workshops use painting for some aspects of their various projects.
NOTE: Though March officially marks the tenth anniversary of the Children’s Art Carnival, the celebration actually begins this fall. At press time, the Carnival’s plans had not been finalized, but the festive events of the coming months will be noted in ROUTES’ Kids listings.