While we all know that in the news and in our daily conversations the bad stuff gets a lot of attention, I’ve got to stand up straight and use my outdoor voice to declare my love for Roan’s school right now this minute: Brooklyn’s Public School 58 (PS 58). Obviously, I could easily catalogue my discontent here for its shortcomings, but the occasional “Water Bug” (that’s what we in New York call cockroaches when we don’t want to admit they are cockroaches) in the bathrooms, the various cases of lice, and yes, the bedbugs (or, as the letter that came home stated “a” bedbug was confirmed. Really? Only one? Should I come and smash it so the problem is solved?) be damned! I’m feeling mad love for my little dude’s school. The reasons are three-fold.
First: his teachers. I have what can only be called star-struck admiration for the lot of them. Young, amazing, engaged and even willing to Facebook Friend me (well, at least one of them), Roan is surrounded by people who know who he is, and like to challenge him to be exactly that.
Second: The Strings Program. PS 58 has a musical program wherein each child is assigned a string instrument in the 3rd grade. They learn to play it through the 5th grade. Roan chose the cello. There is something about Roan playing a cello that makes me act the teary fool when I get to watch him go for it. And he is proud. And that makes me proud.
Third: And really, this is the point of this post – thankfully I have this forum to publish my feelings because me stopping people on the sidewalk yesterday and telling them about it was just not actually exactly what I needed – Roan has a piece of art on display in the Guggenheim Museum. Do you understand what I’m saying? Let me just say it a little bit bigger:
Roan has a piece of his own art on display in the Guggenheim Museum.
There. That’s better.
It blows me away. PS 58 participates in a program called Learning Through Art. It is described thusly on the Guggenheim website:
Learning Through Art (LTA), an artist residency program, cultivates student creativity by designing sustained, process-oriented art projects that support learning across the curriculum. The program sends experienced teaching artists into New York City public schools, where they collaborate with classroom teachers to develop and facilitate art projects integrated into the school curriculum.
Cool, right? So all year, Roan’s class has been doing art projects with people from the museum, and this final project had the chance to be chosen to be displayed. Roan’s team (Hello to his collaborators: Cecilia, Sachin and Reuben) had their sculpture chosen. I’m guessing its title alone helped: “The Colorful Party Place”, was described by Roan as “A place where you can party and have fun.” Who wouldn’t love that?
A wing of the Guggenheim is dedicated to this program right now. “A Year with Children 2012” is exhibiting their work for five weeks. Our family went yesterday to check it out, and it is just one of those experiences that I’ll never forget. It’s not so much that his work was there, but the fact that these opportunities are open to my son. And that Roan just accepts these experiences as his life, his normal happy life. I believe that his gorgeous and innocent magical thinking will be able to survive just a little bit longer when he knows that sure – no big deal – your art can end up in a museum.
Because when that’s true, what’s next? Anything, really. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.