Guest post by Staten Island-based artist Maria Ruggiano-Alekseev http://purplepigeonpress.com/
Being a native New Yorker usually means that you are pretty familiar with the five Boroughs; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. What? Staten Island is one of the five boroughs? Why yes it is! Only having moved here two short years ago, I completely understand how Staten Island got its nickname The Forgotten Borough. Born and raised in Queens, I traveled through Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx almost weekly. They are really like an extension of each other with almost no barrier or hesitation to go from one to the other. You learn the subway and bus routes at a pretty young age and I never even had a car.
There are a few great museums in Queens such as The Museum of Moving Image, The Queens Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) PS1. MOMA even temporarily relocated to Queens while the Manhattan location was being renovated and expanded over a two-year period. This temporary location is now a warehouse for MOMA’s vast collection.
As an artist living on Staten Island it’s quite a commute to Manhattan, but some of the best art museums in the world are there. Staten Island does have a commuter ferry as well as express bus service to and from Manhattan daily. Since moving to Staten Island, I have been teaching art to children (and adults) at The Art Lab in Snug Harbor and never realized how many of my students haven’t even been to Manhattan for a museum visit!
Well I must admit, it took me some time before I took public transportation off Staten Island to Manhattan. My husband and I left the car at home and ventured to Manhattan by Express bus! What a great way to travel to the city! Friendly bus driver, air conditioning with personal vents and lights, comfortable plush seating that reclines! And the icing on the cake is no looking for city parking OR using a $50 parking lot! What were we waiting for? Depending on which museum you are visiting you may need to make a quick subway connection, but with a free transfer it’s a snap!
I have to say if there is one art museum that every child should visit it is MOMA. The paintings included in their permanent collection alone are worth the trip! Almost every kid has heard of Vincent Van Gogh in school and there is nothing like seeing his real paintings in person. Also, some of Monet’s Water Lilies, which are large-scale paintings are absolutely breathtaking and their beauty enrapturing in person. Most of the kids have no idea of the scale of these works when only viewed as reproductions or online. The vibrancy and impact of Picasso’s Girl Before the Mirror and the way Dance (1) by Henri Matisse literally dances in front of you through its weightless composition. The movement and flow of these pieces is only fully experienced through viewing the actual work. MOMA has many programs for family and kids ages 4-14 including workshops and gallery talks. http://www.moma.org/learn/kids_families/index They also have an IPAD app you can get here http://www.moma.org/explore/mobile/artlabapp
Even without the amazing special exhibitions given by this museum, MOMA’s permanent collection is so extensive that you can come on endless visits here. There is always something new that can catch your eye and spark new ideas even in paintings you may have seen here before. Also included with some of these masters are more contemporary artists like Elizabeth Murray, El Anatsui and Amy Skillman. Their work is innovative and has brilliant compositional selections. MOMA is great exposure to modern art from all over the world and in multiple mediums. They have drawings, painting, prints, sculpture, film and video as well as a beautiful sculpture garden.
Cheers! Learn more about Staten Island-based artist Maria Ruggiano-Alekseev at http://purplepigeonpress.com/