Monet, daVinci, O’Keefe – Oh My!

Park Street Academy Hosts SAM (Senior Art Museum), a Pop-Up Art Show for One Night Only


Visual Arts – and Student Artists – Take Center Stage on Friday, June 3rd as Park Street Academy

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Debuts SAM and Demonstrates the Value of Art in Early Childhood Education



On June 3, 2016, Park Street Academy (PSA), a private pre-school and kindergarten located in Montclair, NJ, hosted a special, one-night-only, pop-up museum exhibit called SAM (Senior Art Museum).  This show featured over 400 works created by 41 talented Senior South and Senior North students based on a fully-immersive art curriculum designed by PSA Director and longtime educator, Lisa Raphael.


SAM showcased a variety of art created by students between 4-6 years old, inspired by great artists they studied throughout the year – ranging from Piet Mondrian (Composition With Red, Yellow and Blue) to Claude Monet (Water Lilies) to Jackson Pollack (Action Jackson), Marc Chagall (I and the Village), Andy Warhol (Marilyn Monroe, Campbell's Soup Cans, Warhol Faces), and more. 


While many schools feature art programming, PSA’s SAM pop-up experience illustrates exactly how a more robust exposure to the world of fine arts at a young age can have a major impact on preschoolers and kindergarteners.  With Raphael’s in-depth approach, students explore art concepts such as lines and shapes, primary and secondary colors and perspective drawing.  They also study genres from the Renaissance Period to Cubism and Pop Art, learning about the history of each movement and the lives of each artist highlighted in the show.


“We’re so proud of the work our students have produced, but we’re even more excited about the way this program changes how they see the world,” explains Raphael.  “Suddenly they have the vocabulary to speak about their favorite artist, the ability to recognize a famous painting or the skills to use a variety of media to create a masterpiece of their own.”


Neuroscience research shows that a child’s engagement in early art activities can help create unique brain connections by promoting problem solving, decision making and other cognitive skills.  Students also experience fine motor skill development because holding a pencil, oil pastel, piece of chalk, crayon, or marker – and cutting with scissors or controlling the amount of glue to use – can be challenging tasks for a preschooler to accomplish.  What’s more, art offers children an important outlet for emotional expression. Discussion of cool and warm colors, why artists use them and how certain colors make them feel are wonderful ways to understand emotions.  Studying the fine arts also opens up a world of creativity and a deeper understanding of culture, history and diversity.