On Tuesday evening, MoMA held an opening party for our first-ever Community Partners Art Show. On view through July 30 in the lower gallery of the Cullman Education Building, the exhibition showcases artwork created in collaboration with the various populations served through the Museum’s twenty-nine different community partnership organizations. These organizations serve a wide variety of social, economic, and educational needs across a wide section of New York City, and the issues that our Community Partner Organizations address (issues that include but are not limited to homelessness, HIV/AIDS, juvenile incarceration, adult basic education, immigration services, prostitution, drug addiction, family literacy, and job training) are not issues that are immediately associated with traditional museum education. Ranging from collage to mosaics to sculpture, photography, printmaking, and performance, the artwork in the show reflects the specific viewpoints of each community organization’s audience. For most of the artists present, their involvement in our Community Partnership Program marked their first-ever exposure to the world of modern and contemporary art, and this show marked their first participation in displaying their personal artwork publicly.
Artworks in the show include:
•Torn-paper collages on canvas created by the teenagers incarcerated in Bridges Juvenile Center, created through our partnership with Passages Academy. Based on the bold, political work of William Kentridge and Kara Walker, these torn-paper images (scissors are not permitted within Department of Juvenile Justice facilities) were pasted onto the pages of copies of The Catcher in the Rye, Roots, and To Kill a Mockingbird, and reflect the hopes that the students have for their futures.
•T-shirts promoting safe sex created by the students of Brooklyn’s Project Reach Youth. Using screen-printing techniques learned during MoMA courses, the teenagers in PRY created their images around the work of Pop artists in our collection, as well as the logos and language of current advertising trends.
•Mosaics and masks created by the adults from Housing Works, a health and services provider focusing on finding solutions to the twin issues of HIV/AIDS and homelessness. These mosaics and masks explore the identity of the participating artists, and the ways in which society and surrounding cultural norms can influence or disrupt a person’s true self.
•Mind War Zine, a collaborative project created around the ideas of arts interpretation and literacy. Working with students enrolled in Fortune Society’s educational programming, most of whom are there as an alternative to serving time in Juvenile Detention Centers, the magazine reproduces students’ writing around their experiences at MoMA and their responses to modern and contemporary art.
•Photo documentation of the Museum’s YWCA-NYC Fresh Start mural project. Based on the work of Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, this mural has, for the past two years, been created by each incoming class of 9th-grade students at Murray Bergtraum High School.
•Performance art on video created by the adult ESL students from the NYC DOE’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education. Based on the recently closed Marina Abramovic show, these participants explored ideas of nonverbal communication while delving into their own childhood experiences and memories.
•Printmaking on paper revolving around personal symbolism and personal identity created by the young adult students at F*E*G*S’s South Bronx site.
•A showcase of the sculptural altars created by the women of Midtown Community Courts’ WISE program, an alternative sentencing program for prostitution-related offenses. Looking at personal stories of the participants, the artists identified things in their lives that were of greatest importance to them, and created shrine-style boxes in celebration of those things.
We’d like to thank all of the Community Partners whose hard work and dedication helped make this event a success, as well as everybody in the Community and Access Department who assisted in coordinating and running the event.