Young Artists from P.S. 202

New Lots Library

PS 202 and New Lots Library worked together on a collaborative art project. PS 202 is located at 982 Hegeman Avenue in the East New York section of Brooklyn and serves children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 along with their art teacher, Julie Dambra, worked with teaching artist, Chessica Rose to learn about famous artists. Students used different art mediums to create a piece of artwork in the style of the artist. Each grade learned about a different artist. Third graders explored Augusta Savage and Selma Burke. Fourth graders learned about Jean-Michel Basquiat and fifth graders studied Frida Kahlo.

Third graders learned about two sculptors. The first sculptor discussed was Augusta Savage who was active during the Harlem Renaissance. One of her most famous pieces is a 16-foot tall harp made of plaster that was displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. This piece of artwork is entitled “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and is also known as “The Harp.” The second sculptor, Selma Burke, studied under Augusta Savage and was best known for her relief carving of Franklin D Roosevelt, which is featured on the dime. Children had the opportunity to make their own relief carvings of human faces and photographs of the finished projects are displayed in this exhibit.

Fourth graders studied the work of iconic artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, NY, and passed away in 1988 at the young age of 27. Although he lived a short life, Basquiat’s work continues to impact the art world, pop culture, and Hip-Hop culture. During the class, students learned about the unique visual style of Basquiat. He often used symbols, like a crown, large figures and heads, abstract imagery, and vivid colors. The class discussed Basquiat’s different materials and techniques, such as collage, graffiti, and paintings on found objects. The fourth graders then created their own pieces of art using symbols, color, and words that inspire them personally.  Materials included pastel and paper. 

Fifth graders studied the work of Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist who lived from 1907-1954. Frida Kahlo is celebrated for her intimate and striking paintings, particularly her self-portraits. Kahlo’s self-portraits often have bold colors, elements of nature, and imagery inspired by Mexican culture. Many of her paintings have dream-like or magical qualities, often depicting her personal experience of physical and emotional pain. While learning about Kahlo’s work, students began to create their own self-portraits. Fifth graders learned how to sketch the proportions of the human face. They were encouraged to think about their feelings, and to draw different facial expressions based on that emotion. In their final pieces, students used paper and pastel to make their finished self-portraits come to life. Each student also wrote a description about why they chose to convey that emotion in their work. 

Chessica Rose is a visual artist based in New York City. She has taught in public schools, libraries, and community spaces. Working with children ages 4 to 12, she has been able to share her passion for the arts and encourage the next generation of creatives. Chessica teaches kids how to problem solve and tell their own story through art. Chessica has been commissioned for logos, digital artwork, and portraits. Her personal work explores themes of nature, womanhood, Afrofuturism, and community. She paints scenes and portraits of people in her local area to shine a light on the experiences of life in an urban city. Rose hopes that her artwork uplifts its viewers and brings new life into places that have been systemically marginalized. Chessica is striving to create a positive impact in her community.

Preview the Exhibit


Programming at P.S. 202 was a project of East New York Reads, sponsored by The Pinkerton Foundation and The Carmel Hill Fund.