Art as a Global Necessity: MoMA’s International Children’s Art Carnival as a Catalyst for Globalization

Sara Torres Vega

Abstract


The recognition of individual creative potential is a concept of global importance because it resonates with the very essence of human existence. Satisfying the need of developing that individual creative potential has been the basis of many experiments in art education. The Children’s Art Carnival, created by Victor D’Amico (Director of Education at the Museum of Modern Art [MoMA] from 1937 to 1969), is one of these experiments. Created in 1942, the Carnival provided a conductive atmosphere that stimulated the child and provided materials for an individually-led art-making experience.
Once the Carnival had proven itself successful as a catalyst for children’s creative growth at MoMA, it was considered worth spreading internationally. The Museum of Modern Art presented the Children’s Art Carnival at the International Trade Fairs in Milan (1957), Barcelona (1957), the Brussels World’s Fair (1958), and travelled throughout different cities in India (1963).
The Children’s Art Carnival is an example that resonates with current studies on how globalization interfaces not only with art and education, but also with local and regional cultural practices and identities, economies, political strategies, and environmental concerns of people around the world. Whatever shape art education initiatives take (international cooperation projects, worldwide exchanges or online courses of worldwide use), the challenges and lessons learned at the Children’s Art Carnival in its international iterations are worth reviewing today.

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