Visual Arts Special Programs

Here at PS 131, we believe in the importance of offering special programs to our students, in order to enrich the standard curricular offering. We have been fortunate enough to be the recipient of extra funding and free programming during this 2019-20 school year. We have been awarded a $15,000 ELL+ SWD grant, as well as a $2,500 Parent Engagement grant from the Office of Arts and Special Projects.  This is a grant that our school has received in previous years as well. In tandem with this work, we are participating in a pro bono twelve week pilot program with Studio in a School to investigate the correlation between art and language acquisition with our third grade students (highlighting the ELLs/MLLs).

 We are beginning the fifth year of a very successful after-school partnership with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This project is collaborative in nature, with the  materials and MoMA art educator are funded by MoMA.   PS 131 is paying for our art teacher’s after school hours. Each year, a group of fifth graders work together to generate ideas for the creation of a large-scale work of art, which then goes on display in the school building. Prior completed artwork has included a large-scale mural of food in the cafeteria, as well as three large scale multi-media works found in the main entrance of the school. Two of our amazing 2018-19 MoMA projects are highlighted below. We are looking forward to posting our 2019-20 projects sometime soon!

 P.S. 131 is also beginning a new partnership this year with SunDog, an artistic group that  will be facilitating a collaborative mural-painting after-school project at the school this year. They will be working with the visual arts teacher and a small group of fifth grade students to paint meaningful thematic-based imagery on the interior steel entrance doors at the school. 

 For more information about these special programs, contact Ms. Helen Barry, our Visual Arts teacher.


Studio in A School Special Art Program

The third graders worked  with Studio in a School twice a week in the pilot MLL program connecting art with ELA.  On Tuesdays, the student worked on their art projects and on Wednesdays, they thought about, discussed and wrote about their art, as well as art they can see in museums.  The students experimented with color mixing, and learned how color, shape and line can express character traits and moods in art.  They then developed their own imaginary character by thinking about character traits  they wished to show, sketching out their ideas and planning out colors that they would use to express their character. While painting the character, the students mixed tints, secondary colors and in places, added textures to their paintings.  They revised their painting by adding details or items that tell something about what the character does.

A Sampling of Imaginary Character Paintings

MoMA Project

In 2018-19, PS 131 partnered with MoMA during an after school program with a small group of fifth graders.  The students were asked to create a painting on canvas of people that they admired.

During this work, the students generated a list of individuals form around the word who have been inspirations to them. We made a point to choose some New Yorkers as well as people from around the globe, from various cultural backgrounds. See if you can gues who these people are, before you look at the key.  How many do you know?

MoMA printed the images on pages, and we used carbon paper to transfer the images to the canvas, adding color using ink

Who Are These Inspiring People?


1.  Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Indira Gandhi

3.  Gabriela Mistral

4. William Shakespeare

5. Anne Frank

6.  Mahatma Gandhi

7. Jim Jenson (and Kermit)

8. Hillary Clinton

9. Neil deGrasse Tyson

10.  Dr. Seuss

11. Frida Kahlo

12. Rosa Parks

13.  Malala

14.  Oprah Winfrey

15. Paul McCartney

16. Mike Piazza

17. Qui Jin (hero of China)

18. Leonardo da Vinci

19. Wilma Rudolph (runner with polio)

20. Susan Polgar (chess grandmaster)

21. Joh Lennon

22.  Bruce Lee

23. Amelia Earhart

24. Misty Copeland

25. Harriet Tubman

26. Albert Einstein

27. Yo Yo Ma

28. Cleopatra

29. Sally Ride
   (First woman in space)

30. Martin Luther King, Jr.

31. Helen Keller

32. Bill Gates

33. Homer

34. Bill Nye
     (the Science Guy)

35. Vincent Van Gogh

36. Sacagawea

37. Barack Obama

38. Abraham Lincoln

39.  Cai Lun
(Chinese Inventor - Paper)

40. Ida B. Wells

41. Stephen Hawking