Bronx Arts Festival Returns to Lehman, but This Year It’s Online
Every year, each of the city’s five boroughs hosts an arts festival at the school year’s end to celebrate and highlight student achievement, from kindergartners to high school seniors, in the arts. In the Bronx, that celebration was usually held at the Lehman College, with a performing arts showcase at Lehman Center and a visual arts exhibition at the Lehman College Art Gallery.
This year, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the exhibition, just like the Lehman College campus that hosted it, went virtual.
Esther Eboh - Astore Collegiate Academy
City Department of Education officials who produce the festivals worked with Lehman to “create a nice opportunity for the kids once we realized that our traditional showcase was not going to happen,” said Joanna Berenson, Bronx Borough Arts Director in the education department’s Office of Arts and Special Projects.
The work of more than 153 visual artists and 20 performing artists from Bronx-schools can be found online, through the gallery’s website. And instead of the performance at Lehman Center, student vocalists, dancers, violinists, percussionists and guitar players put their talents together to perform The Beatles classic, “Here Comes the Sun,” a virtual tribute video, said Bartholomew Bland, director of the Lehman College Art Gallery.
Bridgette Donnery - Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy
“We learned that [the song] was the one hospitals played when a COVID-19 patient was released,” Berenson said.
Bland called the students’ collective work “a great triumph of the human spirit."
Serene Green - Luis Llorens Torres School
“Our gallery is very much rooted in the community,” said Bland, who called the students’ work a great triumph of the human spirit. “Many of the students featured in this show will be our future students at Lehman College. We’re looking forward to having another celebration next spring and making them familiar with what college is all about.”
The festival, “gives our students’ art validity,” Berenson said. “And that is powerful for our students."
Olusola Famuyide - Urban Scholars Community School
The show will be displayed through Aug. 30 on the Lehman College Art Gallery’s website.
Jahseir Bunch - School for Environmental Citizenship
Avery Stuart - PS 89