Expanded Art Ideas, Artists Space’s arts education program, was founded in 2001 with the mission of encouraging mainstream and special education students in New York City’s public schools to develop a personal artistic voice and to express their creative capacities with confidence.The program’s combination of weekly classes, intensive 10 to 20-week artist residencies, community events, exhibitions, and publications allow students to experience art-making as a serious daily practice producing work that explores identity as a deeply complex intertwining of personal, social, and cultural relationships. Expanded Art Ideas expands Artists Space’s commitment to working artists by providing the opportunity to collaborate with different communities in an educational setting.
The program has grown to a full range of projects, including Photo Club, Listening to the LES, Poetry, Threads of History, Portfolio Development and our new Bridge collaboration with City-As-School, a progressive public high school in the West Village.
Expanded Art Ideas is supported by
The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation; NYU Community Fund; Puffin Foundation West Ltd.; The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; The New York City Department of Education; The New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and Friends of Expanded Art Ideas at Artists Space.
Each week Portfolio students commit to a rigorous drawing practice, explore how artists participate in culture, ask questions of their own work, and ultimately create exceptional artworks. We shared many memorable moments, including visits to Frank Sinatra High School and the High School of Art and Design, field trips to Pierogi Gallery and Artists Space, and exploratory walks through the Lower East Side where we drew the neighborhood and gathered inspiration. I was proud to see them honored with five Honorable Mentions from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and acceptance to specialized arts high schools!
– Stephanie Costello, Teaching Artist
In the midst of chaotic street scenes, the clutter of noisy construction sites, and the disappearance of historic buildings, Photo Club students were able to capture the neighborhood’s architecture as well as their inhabitants. Interactions with dog walkers and store keepers, Katz’s deli men, and some unexpected surprises, lead to the poetic narratives that are shown on this year’s photo wall.
– Claudia Sohrens, Teaching Artist
Asking what it means today to dwell in this “homeland of the free” P.S. 140’s 60 grade 8 poets tackle a lion’s share of the social justice issues facing our moment on planet earth. And in so doing, they give us a grip on what it’s like to be a young teen waking up in New York City in the spring of 2018.
– Desiree Alvarez, Teaching Artist
As I walk the streets where I find myself
I think “where did I go?”
As I walk the streets where I taught myself
I think “what do I know?”
As I walk the streets that pulled me down
I think “how did I rise?”
As I walk the streets into my future
I think “will I ever be able to cross
Not many real friends
Broke, on air mattresses
You know what the difference is
It ain’t complicated
From NY got the North Face
Rising on my own pace
Cheetah in a snail race
Tryna get mom out this place
Later I’ll be gone without a trace
Some people don’t believe what I say
But it’s the land of the free
The “legendary” USA
I don’t want to say it
But it might be true
My home is not, never was
The red white and blue
Just let all be free
Or we’re leaving
Like leaves of a tree
It can be your path to freedom
Or the knife cutting
Your life away
There is a place so quiet
With a kingdom so vast
And castles as high as the sky
Where rivers run deep
And the people are joyful and proud
But if they speak a word they shall miss
the beautiful things surrounding them
In memorial to my aunt’s chickens
in Puerto Rico.
Their coop flew away and died
because of Hurricane Maria.
Bridges connect me to you
Without them I don’t know what I’d do
Some bridges are strong and some are weak
Like when you hear that low alarm go beep
Bonds with friends and family are like bridges
Some people have strong bonds, other people don’t
And with some the bond comes crumbling down and won’t
stay up, it won’t
But bridges also connect places so you can get to your
This proves my point, bridges are more than just pathways
They can mean many things
Like birds when they sing
They can be singing about so many things
They can be talking
Same for bridges, they connect things together
Just like they do with me and you
moonless night, that we ride
seeking hope we can’t find,
finding love in the great beyond,
moonless night that we see,
in our hearts that we live,
looking up in the sky, moonless
night, that we find in our
hearts that we ride, finding
love, finding hope, moonless
night in the sky I come to you
here and now, so I can reveal
my deepest fear, moonless night,
in my heart that I’m seeking to find
In my right hand holding
my grandpa’s left hand. He is
lying there cold and dead in
his casket. Tears running down
my face, I am thinking what he
is gonna miss in my life. All the
first and all the last
Baby tiger, baby tiger, how you doing out there in the wild?
Is it fun? Is it sad? Did they take you away from your mom and dad?
I just want you to know, WAIT! Don't run off, don't go!
I'll be back, you don't have to attack.
I'm here to stay,
You don't have to push me away.
I promise I won't treat you like clay,
I'll be here day by day!
Glow as you flourish in the
light of the night.
Glow as you grow
and fight the world with
all your might.
Glow as you play in the forest
with the leaves of August.
Glow because one day your
light may not show with as much
Our three projects revolved around the ways in which we identify through family, culture, language, nationality and legal status. This then created an environment for the students to discuss their experience as immigrants and then it’s transliteration into visual form through painting, writing and mixed media works. My students developed deeply felt artworks that reflected their views as recent immigrants to the United States.”
Identidad de Banderas created by Grade 7 students at
– Esperanza Cortés, Teaching Artist
This year, the students and I listened to the sounds of the Williamsburg Bridge. It is as if we asked: “What does the Williamsburg Bridge hear?” and “What is the sound world of the Williamsburg Bridge?” The bridge is home to many different sounds and they change depending where you are on the bridge. For example, at the middle of the bridge, sounds quickly disappear into the open sky. As a result, it is so much quieter in the middle of the bridge than at either end, where the noise of the traffic bounces off the buildings and can be very loud. We bring audio recorders with us on these walks so that we can record the sounds. We used these recordings to compose a sound map of the bridge. If you listen to this sound map you will experience in just a few minutes what it sounds like to walk over, around, and under the bridge. We are so used to thinking of listening as doing nothing and talking as doing something.
– Robert Sember, Teaching Artist
Blue as the ocean
Broken as my heart
Teacup of sadness
Lost in thought.
Only a lamp post
To shine your light
In this dark neighborhood
With nothing left to see
Except the dark night sky
That is always there
A dark empty room with a pole and a chain
Which tricks you to come back
Even when you’re still inside
But this dark room is a person who reigns
And you trick yourself with the illusion
that you find your way out
But find yourself having doubts
And go back with the thought of a light
that shines so bright
You walk toward the light and see light
is what it lacks and it’s nothing. Black.
I hear cars and trees.
I feel a breeze going through the hole in my
I see people walking in the streets.
I wonder where they are going.
I hear a jackhammer jamming into the concrete
I see my old elementary school across the street.
I notice a sign I have never seen
because it’s been hiding behind the trees.
I guess there are a lot of things I don’t see
around the side of the street.
I am the girl in the park.