Internationally acclaimed environmental artist Christo and Parks Commisioner William Castro came to support student artists from the local School for Global Leaders 378M last Friday as they unveiled a new public work at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The piece is a lunch table mural/board game that addresses the social issues of bullying. Created through the Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAP), it is one of ten different school lunch tables, from ten different middle schools, that have been turned into artwork and are being displayed in parks across the city.
This is LeAP’s seventh-annual citywide student exhibition entitled, A View From The Lunchroom – Students Bringing Issues to the Table. The program was designed by director Alexandra Leff with the intention of “empowering young people to have a voice in their communities and to express themselves on issues of importance to them.”
The program includes well-known guest artists who comes to speak to the students. Teaching artist Susan Woldman said the students were blown away by their guest, Christo, who has been involved with LeAp for many years, and did a presentation about his work for them.
Woldman helped the students arrive at the issue of bullying on their own. “This was one that was really dear to all of their hearts,” she said. “We decided to (design the table) like a board game, because they wanted to show both sides of the issue – the pros and cons.” Woldman pointed out that most of these middle school students have found themselves on one side or the other at different times.
“It brings awareness to bullying,” a student said. “I learned that art can be very powerful and you can bring meaning to something as simple as a table – through art.” The student added, “I hope people can see and be aware that bullying is a big thing.”
“They are really proud of this table,” Woldman said. “I think when they see it all come together like this, it clicks.”