ArtsConnection has one of its longest standing partnerships with P.S. 130 in Kensington, Brooklyn. For over 20 years the children at P.S. 130 have participated in a school-wide sequential puppetry program, beginning with Pre-k (storytelling & puppetry) up through 5th grade (parade style puppets). The curriculum was designed by Teaching Artists Erin Orr & Sarah Provost in partnership with the PS 130 classroom teachers to connect to literacy by supporting student voice. The P.S. 130 partnership was the model for ArtsConnection’s 8-year Federally funded action research project “Creating Bridges” which, among other things, shows the intrinsic connection between the artistic process and literacy. After the pandemic, our P.S. 130 puppetry program took on even more significance, attending to students’ social and emotional needs by helping them reconnect with peers through collaborations and discussions about how they were feeling.
In this especially joyous photo series, you are dropping in on Judy Sutel’s 2nd-grade classroom, close to the halfway mark of their intensive, 7-session double-period residency on shadow puppetry connected to their transportation and subways curriculum. Lead Teaching Artist SJ Munford and assistant, Rosie Lilly, are helping students complete and “oil” their puppets, a process of applying mineral oil to the paper. Students have learned that by making puppets translucent, they show through the viewing screen in full, vivid color and have an other-worldly glow.You can also see that, at P.S. 130, it’s “Book Character Day.” A keen observer might be able to pick out some of their favorite characters from literature. It was a day steeped in multiple art forms—just the way we like it!