Going Primitive

Art is messy. Making hand prints at Inwood Public Library.

About 40,800 years ago, somebody made a pattern of red dots on the walls of a limestone cave in Northern Spain. It was the first known work of art. The idea quickly spread all over the world until hundreds of caves were decorated with hand prints, magic symbols and hunting tableaus. The most recent examples of this art form were recently discovered in the wilds of Upper Manhattan at Inwood Public Library and United Palace of Cultural Arts

Students in our free Saturday arts workshops learned about the history of cave art before drawing and coloring their own primitive designs on sheets of brown butcher paper. All of the completed drawings were then taped together to make a simulated cave that the young artists could crawl through and explore.   

While this may seem like play, (and it certainly is a lot of fun), these young artists are improving their academic and social skills, including, language development, decision making, visual learning, inventiveness and cultural awareness. 

A growing body of studies presents compelling evidence connecting student learning in the arts to a wide spectrum of academic and social benefits…. Additionally, research has shown that what students learn in the arts may help them to master other subjects, such as reading, math or social studies.
— Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement, by Sandra S. Ruppert, NEA
Deep in the depths of the cave at Inwood Public Library

Deep in the depths of the cave at Inwood Public Library

The Art Around the World program was first developed last summer, when Creative Art Works partnered with the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan (JCC) to provide an integrated art unit at a Math and Literacy Camp at PS 163.

The program is being taught by CAW Teaching Artist Lauren Genutis at the Inwood Library and Angel Thompson at UPCA.

Classes continue though the spring and are free to the public. No advance registration is required. Parents are strongly encouraged to participate, but it is not mandatory.