South Orangetown Central School District

Cottage Lane Elementary School students have been exploring Asian art over the past few weeks in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. “Many of us are familiar with the more frequently-referenced European masterpieces, but there is value in opening our minds to other forms of art that aren’t constantly in our faces and taking a closer look. The roots of so much of modern art, architecture and engineering stem from Asia,” explained Jared Mesibov, who has served as a leave replacement at CLE this year.

During a recent lesson, Bill McAuliffe and Kristin Cavanagh’s fifth-graders browsed the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art to identify a work that they found interesting to reinvent using traditional classroom supplies. Stella D. chose “Terminal,” an installation by Indian artist Subodh Gupta. “It’s kind of crazy. There’s a bunch of brass and string. But I consider myself a pretty good artist, so I’m going to try it. My grandmother is an artist and this reminds me of things she used to draw,” she noted.

“We are always looking for opportunities to add new perspectives to our curriculum and show our students examples of diverse backgrounds and cultures in all content areas,” said Principal Karen Ramirez. “This month, in our character education assembly and through our library program, we are recognizing Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Having this connection to our art curriculum allows students to have a richer picture of the contributions that Asian Americans have made and continue to make to our society.”

Student looking at “Terminal,” an installation by Indian artist Subodh Gupta