Until reopening this week, the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton, like other cultural institutions, was forced to close its doors because of the coronavirus pandemic. But just because the museum was not open to the public, doesn’t mean its programs were suspended.
A digital art class offered through the museum’s outreach program that brought together children between the ages of 8 and 12 from families across the East End has been meeting via Zoom since the spring.
The children’s joint effort, “La Vida En Tiempos de Covid,” an approximately three-and-a-half-minute digital presentation, will be unveiled on an outdoor movie screen at a drive-in opening in the museum’s parking lot from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 15.
The class was taught by Roz Dimon, a Shelter Island artist, who led the children in the creation of what she calls a “Dimonscape,” a 36-by-48-inch digital artwork in a light box that allows the viewer to explore the individual creations of the children that make up the work.
“We are making change through art in the time of COVID — a digitally created work of art whose many layers become a larger universal story that can be peeled back and explored by anyone with a smart phone or tablet,” she said. “It can be seen right here in Bridgehampton, and soon it can be shared with others across the globe.”
The work can be seen at la-vida-en-tiempos-de-covid.com.
“This is a new process, and these kids jumped right into it,” Ms. Dimon added. She said each week she typically gives the children “a little art history lesson” and then asks them to do their own work.
Ms. Dimon has been assisted by Lisa Garrison, an arts educator.
“It has been an incredible privilege to work with these children,” she said. “The art they produced was amazing, given the time we are living in.”
Leah Oppenheimer, the director of outreach for CMEE, said the children who took part in the class, reflected on their experiences being out of school and living with relatives who may have fallen ill with COVID-19. She praised the parents, especially the mothers, who have made sure their children are able to take part in activities such as the art class, despite the difficulties imposed by the pandemic.
The children who have taken part in the program also sang its praises. Eleven-year-old Ian of Sag Harbor said he was initially shy about sharing his art work with other students.
“It was the start of summer vacation, and I hadn’t been with a lot of other people,” he said. “After about three classes, I got more comfortable.”
Gabby, a 13-year-old from East Hampton, who said she is always very critical of her own work, said the feedback from others helped improve her confidence. “It made me realize my art wasn’t as bad as I thought,” she said.
Mia, a 10-year-old from Sag Harbor, who has been taking classes at CMEE for years, said she likes just about all the programs offered at the museum.
“It’s a little hard to learn something online when you are not physically seeing it clearly,” she said, “but it was still a lot of fun.
The art class was paid for with grant money the museum has received from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council for the Arts.