P.S. 34 celebrates annual art parade

June 12, 2018 By Alex Wieckowski Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Kindergarten class parades their artwork inspired by Claude Monet. Photos by Ami Essreg-Gallagher
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Nearly 100 parents packed into the schoolyard of Public School 34, many with their camera in hand, in hopes of capturing their child’s big moment. But this wasn’t graduation day, it was the school’s annual art parade.

Around 9 a.m., every class from Kindergarten to fifth grade slowly entered the schoolyard and took a seat. School Principal Carmen Asselta greeted the audience and thanked everyone for coming to the event. She then passed the mic to Lisa Summa, the school’s art teacher.

Summa explained that each class was assigned an artist and spent time studying the artist’s life and artwork. Students then created their own artwork based on the artist they studied and would now present their creations in the art parade.

To start the parade, Summa handed the mic to two Kindergarten students who gave a rough summary of Claude Monet’s life. The two then joined their class, which then walked around the courtyard showing off their wonderful artwork as the parents in the audience waved to their kids and snapped photographs.

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A few parents even climbed the playground in the courtyard for the chance to get a better photo. As the children walked around, two judges took notes and scored the students on their artwork.

This routine repeated for all the other grades. First-graders were assigned the French artist Henri Matisse, second-graders had the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, third-graders studied the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, fourth-graders learned about the American sculptor Louise Nevelson and fifth-graders studied the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.

Caitlin Stuart, who came to the parade to watch her son Nicholas, said she was impressed by the event and the “inspiring works of art” produced by the students. She was pleased with the school and described it as “a wonderful community school with a really big heart” and called it a “special gem in Greenpoint.”

Ami Essreg-Gallagher, who came to support her second-grade daughter, said that the art parade is both her and her daughter’s favorite event of the school year. Essreg-Gallagher said that her daughter worked on her project for days and even woke up early on the weekends to work on it. “Lisa Summa gets the kids so excited about each artist they study, she is an amazing teacher,” she said.

Essreg-Gallagher added that she was impressed by the number of kids who participated. “You could tell there was a ton of effort and time put into this year’s parade,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier about P.S. 34. We are super lucky to have such an amazing group of teachers and families,” she remarked.

Once each grade had finished parading their artwork, the judges talked among themselves to discuss the winners. “I always tell the judges you have the hardest job today,” Asselta said to the crowd. And It was true: many of the students did a spectacular job with their projects. Once the judges came to a conclusion, the winners of each grade were called up to have their picture taken and received a loud round of applause from the audience.

Asselta called the event a huge success, for more multiple reasons. “It’s a celebration of art that shows children’s creativity while developing a deep knowledge and appreciation for art,” she said. “It’s also a wonderful community event,” she continued. She credited their art teacher, Summa, for putting the event together and teaching the students about all of the amazing artists.

Summa said the art parade has been an annual tradition for about 10 years and called it a “growing event with more people each year.” As for her students, her voice was filled with joy as she spoke about them: “I love them. These are really, really great kids.”


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