Community Art Project with MS 260
Mar 16, 2015

A group of students creates a map collage on a wall.

MS 260 students work on a collaborative map, February 2015. Photograph by Filip Wolak

In February 2015, Whitney Education’s Community Artist-in-Residence Lize Mogel worked with students from The Clinton School for Writers and Artists/MS 260 on a two-session mapping project. Like the Whitney, The Clinton School is moving from its current location on West 33rd Street to a new building on East 15th Street, close to Union Square. In the first session, the students used collage materials to make a two-dimensional, collaborative map of key items they would miss—such as stores and places they go to eat—when their school moves, and things that they look forward to in their new neighborhood.

A student shows off her project.

MS 260 student’s landmark, February 2015. Photograph by Filip Wolak

Mogel visited the school for the second session and introduced students to creating three-dimensional landmarks to place on their collaborative map. Students designed their landmarks to represent their personal experiences of their current and new school neighborhoods. Some students chose people as landmarks. For example, at Union Square, one girl noticed two people trying to stop passersby to talk to them. She depicted them as heads with large mouths and visible teeth, vying for attention.

A student talks about his guitar sculpture with other kids.

MS 260 student’s landmark, February 2015. Photograph by Filip Wolak

Another student made a brightly colored guitar to represent a music store that she sees on her way to school. 

A group of students gathers around their map collage on the floor.

Students’ map with landmarks in place, February 2015. Photograph by Filip Wolak

When the students placed their landmarks on the map, it suddenly started to come to life. They saw how a map can capture their stories and represent their experience of a place—especially the vibrant social interaction that can happen on New York City streets. We look forward to continuing to work with The Clinton Middle School for Artists and Writers in both of our new buildings! 

By Dina Helal, Manager of Education Resources and Billie Rae Vinson, Coordinator of Family Programs