It’s no secret that bullying and violence in schools have been topics of conversation nationwide as of late. Stories of teenager suicides, triggered allegedly by hateful words, shootings in school buildings and violence between young children top headlines and leave people wondering what kind of world our children are living in.
One group is aiming to take on those problems, armed with paintbrushes, markers and glue.
LeAp, which stands for Learning through an Expanded Arts Program, brings together schoolchildren from around the city to create art projects challenging issues like bullying and violence.
Last Friday, students from 10 schools citywide, whose artwork will be displayed in 10 city parks around the city this summer, were honored by LeAp at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, and the students took part in a peer-to-peer workshop with students from IS 26, the Albert Shanker School for Visual and Performing Arts in Astoria.
Two Queens schools, PS 9 in Maspeth and PS 75 in Ridgewood, had students at the workshop helping IS 26 pupils with their own project.
With the help of LeAp teaching artists, the peer leaders discussed the process of making the art tables and brainstormed issues that concerned the kids, from online bullying to LGBT rights.
PS 9 and PS 75 had created their own artworks that will be displayed publicly and student leaders from both schools were on hand to share their experiences and assist the IS 26 class.
Called the “Power of Choice,” PS 9’s artwork, which features a series of superheroes offering good advice, will be placed in Juniper Valley Park, while PS 75’s work, called “Be Yourself, Live Above the Influence,” will be installed at Evergreen Park on St. Felix Avenue in Ridgewood. Both installations will take place this Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. respectively.
Sixth-grader Brayan Berboda, a student leader from PS 9, said working on “Power of Choice” was “a fun experience.”
Seventh-grader Amar Corbin, student leader from PS 75, also said the project was exciting.
“It was a great project and I enjoyed it,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to seeing the table at Evergreen Park.