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Imagine That 2010: Young Artists from Studio in a School

Imagine That 2010: Young Artists from Studio in a School

Kate Bellin

June 28, 2010

Big names in the art world come out to support some very little people at a NYC event hosted by Christies auction house.

It’s not all that rare to see an exhibit of art by teens and toddlers. What is notable is to find the show someplace other than a high school or day care center. And yet, this week at the famed auction house Christie’s New York, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Agnes Gund (at right), President Emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art New York, on Tuesday will inaugurate “Imagine That 2010: Young Artists from Studio in a School,” which she has curated. The exhibition will celebrate the imaginations of young artists — ages 4 to 18, students from throughout the city’s five boroughs — by exhibiting approximately 150 examples of their paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages and prints.

Gund founded the organization Studio in a School in 1977, at the height of the mid-1970s financial crisis, to redress New York City government’s effectively eliminating the budget for arts education in public schools. Studio’s mission is “to foster the creative and intellectual development of New York City youth through quality visual arts programs, directed by arts professionals. To collaborate with and develop the ability of those who provide or support arts programming and creative development for youth both in and outside of schools.” Since its inception, it has provided over $67 million in services and has touched the lives of more than one million children, mostly from low-income homes.

Gund is the perfect choice to curate the show. A few Saturdays ago at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Robert Storr — another legendary and influential MoMA figure who spent twelve years as curator of Painting and Sculpture there — lectured on the subject of “Artist as Curator.” He proposed that a deep bond between the organizer and the subject of a show — either personal, professional, or both – creates a situation in which the motives of both parties are pure and make for an excellent exhibition. Examples are Jeff Koons’ curating his mentor Ed Pashke’s new work at Gagosian Gallery, or Julian Schnabel’s organizing a survey of the late Dennis Hopper’s work at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Storr most certainly would endorse Gund’s endeavor.

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Gund’s munificent patronage of the arts is matched only by her great devotion to the artists themselves and to their creative process. Of the show, she said: “It is wonderful to see the artwork submitted by the 125 schools that Studio in a School serves. It’s so terrific to see the range of creativity in children and youth. Their fresh observations and creative use of media is always surprising. Imagine That is a perfect example of why art matters to children and youth and how exhibiting art becomes an experience of appreciation for families and educators.”

Christie’s involvement comes via Christie’s Cares, their employee volunteer group, which this year is focusing on both art and social service, highlighting the contributions of Studio in a School as well as the Doe Fund, which develops programs and business ventures to help the homeless and formerly incarcerated. A Christie’s spokesman said: “We are pleased to help out with this event … this is a noble cause.” And a show not to be missed.

Photos courtesy of Studio in a School.

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