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Child Art from the Elementary Schools of New York State

DATES March 29, 1935 through April 28, 1935
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  • March 24, 1935 The new Gallery for Living Artists in the Brooklyn Museum will be opened to the public Friday, March 29th, with an Exhibition of Child Art from the Elementary Schools of New York State.

    Through exhibition and purchase the Brooklyn Museum has for many years given systematic recognition and encouragement to living artists, but heretofore their work has been shown with other work. The new gallery, which will be devoted exclusively to exhibitions of work by living artists, will be under the direction of Mr. Herbert B. Tschudy, Curator of Contemporary Art. He is at present preparing an exhibition schedule for the gal1ery. Approximately, ten exhibitions a year will be installed in this gallery, the May or June exhibition remaining on view throughout the summer months. This will be in addition to the usual schedule of exhibitions including the summer show on the fifth floor.

    The work has been selected and arranged by the Educational Department of the Museum to show the development of normal, subnormal and specially gifted children in terms of art age, the influence of loca1 environment, of racial antecedents and of teaching methods. The purpose is to promote a better understanding of child-art on the part of the adult and to provide a source of vital information to all those who are interested in school art work.

    “The Brooklyn Museum has been led to sponsor this exhibition,” according to Mr. Philip N. Youtz, Director of Museums of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, "by the feeling that shows of child art in the past have overemphasized the work of the highly gifted students. Too often the material has been selected for its aesthetic appeal to adults regardless of whether it is characteristic of the normal child's mode of expression.

    "It is with the purpose of fostering a clearer understanding of the true nature of child art that the present exhibition is planned. Since the child develops rapidly from year to year and is also affected by his heredity and environment, the Educational Department of the Brooklyn Museum believes that the best way to achieve its purpose is to show a broad cross section of the work of average students of all ages from the elementary schools throughout New York State, thus representing as many types of environment, nationality and classes of people as possible. Some work of specially gifted and subnormal children will also be included to make the cross-section more thoroughly representative and to permit comparison with the comparison body of the material.


    The Brooklyn Museums have received as a gift from the International Silk Guild two cases showing the metamorphosis of the silk worm, photographs showing silk culture in Japan, and a number of yellow and white cocoons which will be distributed to children who are studying silk worm culture. Part of this material has been assigned to the Education Department of the Brooklyn Central Museum and part to the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Cases were prepared in Japan and show the silkworm eggs, the various stages of the silk worm, various stages of the spinning of the cocoon, stages of the pupa within the cocoon, the moth emerging from the cocoon, and yellow and white cocoons, and yellow and white raw silk.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1931 - 1936. 1935, 034.
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  • March 29, 1935 An exhibition of drawings and paintings by children in elementary schools of New York State opened today at the Brooklyn Museum. It is the first exhibition to occupy the new Gallery for Living Artists.

    The schools of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Yonkers, Pelham, Rochester, Scarsdale, Schenectady, and Woodstock are represented. The pictures are arranged according to the age of the children, in nine groups, beginning with the work of five year olds and ending with the work of thirteen year olds. Most of the work shown is by children who are acted as normal or average by their teachers. On separate panels a few pieces of work by those rated as subnormal or especially gifted are shown for comparison. The ratings in every case are by the child's own teacher, though the exhibition was assembled and arranged by the Educational Department of the Museum.

    The children's pictures make decorative and interesting show, even for the casual visitor, with their vivid color, simple effective designs and the evident pleasure of the children in the subjects of their work. There are winter: sports, little girls dolls, ships and aeroplanes and bridges, imaginary birds, scenes in foreign countries that the children have been studying, buildings, Indians, rural scenes, and increasingly as the age level advances groups of figures in action.

    For teachers and parents, the exhibition tells an interesting story of the changing interests and abilities of the children at different ages, the influence of teachers and the imaginative use of information newly acquired. The work necessarily illustrates the work of teachers just as surely as it illustrates the work of their pupils. The grading in terms of normal, subnormal and especially gifted naturally permits the visitor to the gallery to grade the teachers on their judgment of the children. Frequently the work of children rated as average is far more impressive than any by children rated as especially gifted. Often the work of those said to be subnormal is more appealing than that of others. I t should be remembered in this connection that the rating is biased not alone on art work but on general school work. It has been found that children who are unable to cope with other studies are often quite competent at manual work, including drawing and painting, and that opportunities to draw and paint frequently cause favorable developments in other work by the same child.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1931 - 1936. 01-03_1935, 036-7.
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