By Sandy Chen’15 and Jenny Zhao’15
The Rubin Museum of Art is an exhibit dedicated to Himalayan art. Not only is it an art museum, but it is also a performance and event venue, and education center.
The Education Center offers programs such as RMA Teens and Teen Art Lab. RMA Teens is a free after school program for high school students with a strong interest in art. The Teen Art Lab is a more advanced course that includes an internship where students learn to guide and organize events.
“This program gave me an unforgettable experience to indulge in a culture close to my heart and improve my leadership skills,” said Razia Sultana, a current participant of Teen Art Lab. “Himalayan art has taught me that art is an ongoing conversation that connects people and makes them as one.”
With a collection of over 2,000 objects, consisting of paintings, sculptures, and textiles, this 70,000 –square-foot museum is located in Manhattan, New York City. The Rubin Museum offers public programs such as talks and discussions, film screenings, live music, dance, poetry, art demonstrations, and other performances.
“What I enjoy most about the Rubin Museum of Art is that it opened up a whole new world to me,” said Keturah Raymond’15, a current participant of RMA Teens. “Before the program, I rarely went to museums and art wasn’t exactly an interest for me but the program, being open to anyone, allowed me to try something new and be around people who are just like me and encourage me in this experience; I’ve found something that I love.”
Gathered in a circle, students relax and converse with each other. After discussing the agenda for the day, guided by Pauline Noyes, the director, the group experiences the museum and freely expresses their opinions on the artwork.
“The staff there treats everyone equally, and it feels so comfortable when I’m there,” said Berjean Encarnacio, another participant of RMA Teens. “Everyone there takes you seriously and enjoys listening to your general thoughts.”
The RMA has six floors divided into 4 sections―figures and symbols, materials and techniques, purpose and function, art in context― focusing mainly on Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The Shrine room displays a collection of many sculptures, textiles, paintings, and furniture. To enhance the experience, sounds of monks chanting in the background are added, while candles and butter lamps flicker in the foreground.
This learning environment provides students with a different feel than a regular classroom. The hands-on activities encourage or motivate students to continue the class or pay more attention. One of the hands-on activities included drawing a Buddha; the class was instructed by an artist the director invited.
“Although joining RMA Teens was an eye-opening experience, and broadened my mind, I don’t plan on continuing to Teen Art Lab,” said Josue Osario, a former participant. “I believe in my future career, I won’t be approaching the art path.”
The museum is located at 150 West 17th Street Manhattan, New York City. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for seniors (65+) and students (13+); free for children (12 and younger). Free to all on Fridays from 6-10 pm; free to seniors first Monday of every month.
In 1998, Donald and Shelley Rubin paid $22 million for the building, formerly a portion of the Barneys department store. The museum’s exhibitions and programs are supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Music Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and other foundation donors.