Everyone can be creative.
That’s the message of FiftyThree, the Manhattan tech startup behind the popular app, Paper.
Since October, a class of 26 sixth graders at PS 86 in the Bronx have been using the iPad app to make art — from exercises in drawing eyes to capturing their own self-portrait.
“Equipping students with creative reasoning and critical thinking is crucial,” said FiftyThree co-founder Georg Petschnigg, whose app turns iPads into a sketchpad with tools for coloring, drawing and more. “Our mission is to make creative thinking more accessible.”
The class is part of the Guggenheim Museum program Learning Through Art, which places teaching artists in public elementary schools throughout the city for the school year. At PS 86, one classroom developed both analog and digital skills, marking the first time the program incorporated the digital arts.
“In this day and age, 3-year-olds can use iPads,” said Greer Kudon, associate director of Learning Through Art. “But to pilot this technology, we thought it would be best to start with the older students, who would be able to process it a bit more and not play with it as a toy, but understand the educational benefits of their experience.”
The Guggenheim is still processing the results of the pilot experience, but the educators did notice that working with an iPad eliminated some of the hesitation that students might have had in creating art.
“Being that it’s not literally a pencil and piece of paper, it allowed students more freedom and comfort with making art,” Kudon said. “Using the iPad took away the fear.”
The program culminates in a student exhibition at the Guggenheim opening May 1, where the work of children from the 10 schools involved in Learning Through Art, including the iPad art by P.S. 86 students, will be on display.
If you go: ‘A Year with Children 2015’ runs at the Guggenheim May 1-June 17,
admission $25 adults, $10 students and seniors, children under 12 free; 1071 Fifth Ave., Tower Level 3, 212-423-3575, guggenheim.org.