By Sara Lewin Lebwohl
A visit to the new exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), “Inside Art: Create, Climb, and Collaborate,” proved to be a visually and physically active experience for this reporter and her four-year-old cub, Halle. The exhibit is the third in a series meant for children ages 3 to 10, featuring a group of multicultural, contemporary artists.
CMOM is located at 212 West 83rd Street, near Broadway — for the time being. It is in the process of renovating the landmarked First Church of Christ, Scientist, on Central Park West and 96th Street, as its new home. It will greatly expand the capacities of the museum.
David Rios is CMOM’s Director of Public Programs and the exhibit’s curator. He explained to WSR that after each Inside Art exhibit, the team regroups to dream up new ways for children to interact with art.
“We want the kids to have more physical engagement with the art. So, this time around, we commissioned two new sculptures, and developed a brand-new, two-story climber,” Rios said.
The room is like a magical city inviting children to come interact. The tall structure in the middle of the room is adorned with a shimmering purple installation based on Islamic design. Kids are able to crawl and climb though the space. The goal is to interact with the art in physical ways.
Rios says he wants families to feel reconnected to the space and the museum, like pre-Covid times. “We felt like it was the right time. It was a time to reconnect everyone and to bring everyone together. That is what art does.”
In the back of the room there is a Wishing Tree, created by Aya Rodriguez-Izumi. This traditional type of wishing tree is from Puerto Rico and Japan. Each wish is written with a special pen on a wood-shaped house. Then, each wish is hung on the tree to share with all who visit.
“I am really excited to see how our city canvas will welcome new artists. The idea is that over the course of the next few years, we will add more and more art to this space. It is going to evolve. So every blank space you are seeing right now will eventually be covered,” Rios said.
A must see is Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez’s living graffiti wall. Martinez began this graffiti wall before COVID shut down the museum. He has since come back and asked the staff of the museum and the public to add to his creation. Make sure to turn the corner to capture the full magnitude of the installation.
The exhibit is intended for children ages 3-10 years old. To purchase tickets click here.