Riding a TransMilenio bus in Bogota can be quite an odyssey. Anyone who’s ever tried to do so can bear witness to how crammed and aggressive they get in peak hours. However, by a fortuitous strike of luck, this time a week ago the one that I hopped into was nearly empty…nearly, with the exception of a family: mother, son and daughter. Tired and cranky as I was, I couldn’t help but be filled with joy, and even flash a slight grin, when the boy, no older than 10, from a noticeably humble background, who was looking through the window, read a sign on the street that advertised an arts school, and promptly reached out to his mother to communicate his finding with excitement.
– Look mum! An arts school!
– Yes, dear…an arts school
– I want to go there when I grow up, I want to be an artist
– It’s too far from home, darling
The conversation ended there, and my heart, though a bit broken by the mother’s cutting response, saw a a glimpse of light at the end of a tunnel of despair, as the boy payed no regards to his mother’s words, and looked into the horizon with glistening eyes. You see, when I was little, even as a teenager, I noticed that very few people in my context, let alone in less privileged sectors of society, wanted to pursue a career in the arts; everyone seemed to aspire to a future in medicine, law, or engineering…all respectable choices, yes, but so were those in the arts, and nobody seemed to give them the credit they deserved.
Coincidentally, a couple of days later, I stumbled across an article in the Huffington Post’s Arts & Culture section, which announced The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s latest group exhibition. Titled P.S. Art: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of NYC Kids, and in its 10th anniversary at The Met, the exhibition features artwork from pre-kindergarteners through to twelve-graders from New York’s public schools.
Proudly wearing their lanyard, the article says, the young artists were the stars of the evening launch event, giving audiences the opportunity to converse with them about art. Their artwork, which chosen from more than one thousand submissions, has a unique young voice as a common denominator, as explained by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education at the Museum.
The works, framed and labeled in the same way as any other masterpiece in the Museum, are meaningful beyond social and geographical boundaries. They allow for a whole generation of children from all walks in life, like the boy from a poor background in Bogota, Colombia, to dream beyond their reality, and pursue their ambitions, regardless of whether that is being a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer…or an artist.
P.S Art, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art runs until October 29, 2017 at the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education, ground Floor
Full article: Frank, P. (2017) A First-Grader’s Picasso-Like Painting Is Now Hanging At The Met. [Online] Accessed: 6 June, 2017