Located at 111 Central Park North in New York’s rapidly developing in Harlem, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center will open in May, thanks to generous support from Target. This new space complements Design in the Classroom, Cooper-Hewitt’s ongoing educational initiative in New York City Public Schools, which sends design educators into classrooms for a series of free hands-on workshops.
“Target’s continued support enables the museum to maintain the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center and Design in the Classroom programs, deepening the understanding and impact of design for an even broader audience,” said associate director Caroline Baumann.
The 1,500-square-foot space will open Saturday, May 12, with a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony and reception for community leaders, followed by free design workshops for families from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hour-long “Sesame Street Muppet® Design: Drawing” workshops will be led by the Sesame Street art and design team. Advance registration for the workshops is required at http://www.cooperhewitt.org/calendar
Designer Todd Oldham, in collaboration with teens from the museum’s DesignPrep program, will design the interior of the space. “It is so important to encourage young people to explore design, which brings out confidence, creativity and problem solving skills,” said Oldham. “This new space in Harlem is an amazing location that will reach so many new people in the community and I’m excited to be part of it.”
Cooper-Hewitt’s award-winning Education department offers a variety of public programs, which examine design thinking and highlight the museum’s exhibitions and collections. Programs at the new Cooper-Hewitt Design Center will include:
- Target Design Kids programs, including interactive storytelling sessions and the Imagination Playground featuring unstructured free play
- Target Design K-12 programs for schools, featuring hands-on workshops
- Professional development programs for K-12 educators
- Drop-in design programs, with free workshops for children ages 5 and older
- Evening public programs for adults
Through the Design in the Classroom program, K–12 grade students explore the role of design in everyday life and learn to approach the world in a visual way. Every New York City teacher is eligible to register for this free workshop, which is aligned to core curriculum, and includes all materials, teaching resources and a visiting Cooper-Hewitt design educator. The program imparts essential 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, visual literacy, teamwork and problem solving and can be used to enhance the teaching of any subject matter, including mathematics, science, environmental studies, language arts, history and visual arts.
“The Design in the Classroom program encourages students to think like designers as they engage in the design process through active observation, critical discussion, the act of making, visual communication and presentation and critique,” said Caroline Payson, director of education at Cooper-Hewitt. “We’re so pleased to have the support of Target in bringing this free program to local schools, which may not have otherwise been able to visit the museum due to budget constraints or geographic distance.”
Design in the Classroom will reach more than 17,000 students by the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, a 50 percent increase compared to the number of on-site programs at the museum in 2009-2010. As of April 2012, Cooper-Hewitt has served 171 schools across all five boroughs, 135 of which qualify as Title I schools with children from low-income families.