Circle Through NY Art Exhibit Includes FSSA

Sophomore fine arts students sketch Pinkie, as one of the six rotating exhibits in partnership with the Guggenheim.

Artists, Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin, have partnered with the Guggenheim Museum to create a social art piece involving diverse communities that will be traveling around NYC. The project, “Circle Through New York,” is the first of its kind funded by the Guggenheim Museum and it involves six different locations in Harlem, the South Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) was lucky enough to get chosen to become a part of this unique project.

Pet Resources, Jus Broadcasting, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, Guggenheim Museum, St. Philip’s Church, and FSSA are the six locations chosen for this new project. Clayton and Rubin found these six locations by walking through the boroughs. They decided on places that intrigued them and ones that would lead to an interesting interaction. The six points of interest form the circle that the art will cycle through and all are set within a five-mile radius.

“The idea is to see what happens when you put things and people together that aren’t normally together,” said Mr. Frankel, the Assistant Principal of Administration at FSSA.

Each partner will contribute something to the project that will be rotated throughout all of the locations. FSSA will contribute to other locations too, just as how they will contribute to our school. Mr. Young’s drama students will travel to the different locations and write scripts based on what they see. His students will use the environment they are put into as inspiration for their work. They will then perform each work at the locations involved.

This month, FSSA received Pinkie the Parrot from Pet Resources. The parrot will stay with the school for the month and FSSA stagecraft will be caring for her. FSSA fine arts students recently had the opportunity to sketch Pinkie as she posed for students. 

“It was surreal, it was a great experience to have with Pinkie,” said Jaylen Davis, a sophomore fine arts student. “It was interesting to have a moving subject. That was the first time I’ve ever drawn a moving model.”

Pinkie seemed to enjoy all of the attention.

Ms. Spata, the sophomore fine arts teacher agreed adding that the sophomores have had experience sketching a human in class, but never a live bird.

“Needless to say, it was quite a unique experience. By the end of day one, Pinkie had won over the hearts of the department and our trust. Students captured a true likeness of her on paper while others stroked her feathers as she perched on their arms. It was pretty awesome. The Guggenheim saw some of the sketches and were really impressed. The opportunities are feeling endless with this partnership and project,” she added.

Once Pinkie flies the coop when the month is over, St. Philip’s Church will contribute their “Call to Action” in April, addressing issues of discrimination and injustice. Mr. Frankel said that classes will most likely be invited to join in on their discussions to share their thoughts.

Ms. Spata said Pinkie became more comfortable during her second session of posing.

In May, Untitled by Félix González-Torres, from the Guggenheim will be installed, available to every student and teacher. This large scale art installation is made of licorice. Each time it is installed it has a different set up, and it takes on the area it is put into. Speakers from the Guggenheim Museum will visit the fine arts classes and students will get the chance to speak with them and learn more about the piece.

In June, the oldest song in the world will be contributed by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. It will most likely be on display and vocal students will be learning the song.

The final month of this project is in August and at this time a Punjabi TV Show from Jus Broadcasting will come and shoot their show in the building. Throughout the next couple months, all these projects will be documented by FSSA students.

All of these different contributions will add even more life to the artistic environment at FSSA, and students, along with the public, will have an all-access pass to their personal museum right at their fingertips here in the building.

Along with this, the Guggenheim Museum will have a display in its building, which will include some art-work from students, the yearbook, copies of The Bennett, the school newspaper and other items that help represent FSSA.

For more information or if you are interested in experiencing the circle, visit

– by Ana Radonjic ‘17