Kids create art, meet artists, and attend museum and gallery exhibitions and concert performances.
BY CASEY LESSER
OCT 28TH, 2016
Cyndie Berthezene Is Spearheading an Initiative to Give Underprivileged School Children Access to Contemporary Art
Last Wednesday morning, a very young art crowd sat patiently in the entryway to Hauser & Wirth on 18th Street. Twenty-one kindergarteners and their teachers from P.S. 197 in Harlem were waiting for the group that would guide them through a morning of gallery-hopping through Chelsea: Cyndie Berthezene, founder and director of Time In Arts Children’s Initiative, and her staff of six artists.
For the past 10 years, Berthezene has devoted herself to this initiative, which provides schoolchildren from underserved communities in Harlem and the Bronx with access to making and seeing art on a weekly basis. Soon enough, she appeared and sprang into action, warmly greeting wide-eyed kids as she swiftly passed out sketchbooks and colored pencils and then whisked half the class out onto the sidewalk. While their friends explored Rashid Johnson’s powerful installations throughout Hauser & Wirth, these kids were off to see Oscar Murillo at David Zwirner. And these are just two of the 15 to 20 gallery and museum shows that the children will see this school year as part of the program. As we reached Zwirner, Berthezene engaged the six-year-olds in a catchy singalong with hand movements. Its resounding message was key: “Don’t touch the art!”
Inside, as I blocked a small child from sideswiping a Murillo painting, Berthezene smiled and said, “Now you know what my life is like.” Her weeks are filled with such situations, as well as countless hours spent arranging visits to galleries or art classes held at Time In’s studio on 29th street. She employs a rotating group of some 20 practicing artists part-time, to work with the children in small groups (the student-to-teacher ratio is five to one) as they sketch at the city’s major galleries and do hands-on art projects at the studio. “These kids are the future audiences—they are the future collectors, the future museum-goers, they’re now immersed in the art world,” Berthezene tells me. She estimates that the children who have been involved over the years know more about contemporary art and see more shows than the average New Yorker. “It’s not prohibitive for them as it was for the generations that precede them,” she adds.
Info, Contact & Support
The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative
Founder & Executive Director
Kathleen Landy, Vice President
Elliot Bellen, Treasurer
Cyndie Bellen-Berthézène,, Secretary
Time In is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation as determined by the IRS.
All donations to Time In are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.