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Sue Bush
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Kidspace Opens "It's Elementary!"

12:00AM / Tuesday, September 26, 2006

North Adams - It's Elementary!, co-organized by Kidspace with the Art and Art Education Department at the Teachers' College Columbia University, opens October 12, 2006, in Kidspace at MASS MoCA.

The exhibition will bring together the historic and contemporary artwork of young students from many nations, marking the first time that Kidspace will feature a totally youth-made
art exhibition, as well as its first exhibition to include historical artwork, some of which date back 50 years.

It's Elementary! is designed not only to help empower young people to express themselves through art, but also to encourage them to individually make a positive difference in the world while giving voice to their hopes and apprehensions.

Kidspace visitors will be able to paint their own expressive works of art, respond to a thought-provoking "Question of the Month", and may choose to exchange pictures with another visitors via a gallery mailbox.

Visitors can also send drawings to children in Iraq, which will be sent in cooperation with the Iraqi Children's Art Exchange Project.

It's Elementary! will lead visitors of all ages to consider youths' methods of artistic expression, as well as build appreciation and empathy for children throughout the world. Work featured in It's Elementary! was selected from five collections of children's art including:

Teachers College - Edwin Ziegfeld Collection - works by teenagers post World War II from: Morocco, Japan, South Africa, Trinidad, Luxemburg, Egypt, The Netherlands, Canada, Austria, Scotland, the former U.S.S.R., Germany, and the U.S.A..

The collection consists of 361 paintings, drawings, prints, and collages made by young people representing 32 countries of the world, some of which, like the U.S.S.R., now exist under new names.

The collection was assembled by Professor Edwin Ziegfeld, then Chair of Art and Education at Teachers College Columbia University. At the time, Ziegfeld was also the President of the International Society for Art Education, an organization he helped found in 1954 under the auspices of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations.

These were the post-WWII years, when the promotion of
peace and international cooperation through the arts stimulated a new interest in paintings and drawings made by children. It was believed that art was a language that transcended national boundaries and a powerful force in the development of understanding and good will.

Teachers College - Angiola Churchill Collection - paintings (1950-1960s) from Japan and the U.S.A..

Angiola Churchill started her artistic career as a
painter, and developed through cubism but left it behind in the early 1970s to move onto the use of natural forms and installation sculpture. Churchill is Professor Emeritus at New York University (N.Y.U.), where she was Head of the Department of Art and Art Professions for twelve years. Presently she is director of the N.Y.U. Studio Arts Masters Program in Venice, which she founded
thirty years ago. Churchill has written extensively on teaching art to children, and recently donated her collection of international children's artwork from the 1950s and 60s to Teachers College.

International Child Art Foundation (I.C.A.F.) - contemporary lithograph reproductions by children 8 - 15 years of age from: United Arab Emirates, U.S.A., Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Iran, Indonesia, Gambia, and Egypt.

I.C.A.F. was founded in the mid-1980s by Ashfaq Ishaq, an educator (and former
award-winning child artist), with the goal of actively nurturing, sustaining and promoting the artistic promise and creativity of children around the world.

Dr. Ishaq envisioned an international children's art festival like the Olympic games. The festivals could be a strong source of encouragement and pride for each child, and he believed that through the universal language of art, understanding and cooperation could be fostered among all children, the future leaders of our world.

New York University Child Study Center - contemporary works made by children 11 - 17 years of age from New York in response to 9/11. N.Y.U. Child Study Center and the Museum of the City of New York jointly mounted The Day Our World Changed: Children's Art of 9/11 a juried exhibition of 83 works - selected from a pool of hundreds. The artwork, at once troubling and touching, reflects the
children's memories of the September tragedy and the fear, sadness, anger, and hope they felt.

Iraqi Child Art Exchange - contemporary works made by children 8 - 12 years of age from Iraq in refugee camps and hospitals, along with drawings made by American children, which were sent to the Iraqi children, and photographs. In 2001, The Northampton Committee to Lift the Sanctions on Iraq organized an art project, inviting children in the community to make pictures and paintings with
the intention of sending them to children in Iraq.

Claudia Lefko, early childhood educator and activist, joined a humanitarian delegation and traveled to Iraq, bringing with her more than 400 pictures along with art supplies: crayons, markers, paint, and paper for the Iraqi children. Each American child
who donated a picture received a copy of an Iraqi child's drawing, and some children got a photo of the Iraqi child holding the picture sent to them by the American child.

The opening reception for It's Elementary! is free to the public and will be held on Thursday, October 12, from 3:30 p.m. -6 p.m.. In addition to refreshments and an on-going art project, the opening will feature a 4 p.m. performance of Sadako and the 1,000 Paper Cranes by North Adams students led by Kidspace educator Shannon Toye.

Additional opening celebration programs are: Seeing What Your Children Say: Interpreting Children's Artwork, a lecture by Dr. Judith M. Burton, professor of art education, Teachers College Columbia University on Wed., Oct. 11, 5 p.m..

Renowned educator Dr. Burton will discuss artistic developmental
levels of children from their first attempts at mark-making to their
experiments with different materials and observations of the world.

Kidspace will be open for 30 minutes prior to and following the lecture. The event is free but reservations are requested; call MASS MoCA's box office at 413.MoCA111.

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, family workshop, will be held on Sat., Oct. 14, 11 a.m.. Following up on what adults learned in the lecture by Dr. Burton, this family workshop will be led by Kidspace staff. Families will work together to create paintings that communicate their family's impressions of the world. Tickets are $5 per person. Pre-registration is required; call MASS MoCA's box office at 413-MoCA111.

It's Elementary! will be on display at Kidspace in MASS MoCA from Oct. 12 - Feb. 25, 2007. For more information contact Kidspace at
664-4481 ext. 8131 or visit www.massmoca.org/kidspace.

Kidspace is a collaborative project of the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, Williams College Museum of Art, and MASS MoCA.

Additional funding has been provided by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (a state agency); the James and Robert Hardman Fund for North Adams of the Berkshire
Taconic Community Foundation; Ruth E. Proud Charitable Trust; and the Brownrigg Charitable Trust in memory of Lynn Laitman.

Kidspace's regular public hours are Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m... Kidspace will be open to the public during December and February breaks from noon to 4 p.m. every day. Admission to Kidspace is always free.

Special funding for the It's Elementary! exhibition was received from William's College's Howard Hughes Medical Institution grant.

MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.



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