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OAF Special Projects | From the Perspective of a Child

Artworks from CMA's Permanent Collection

Booth P2

Outsider Art Fair New York 2020

Lucy Menga, Portrait of Miss Dunn, courtesy Children's Museum of the Arts

Lucy Menga, Portrait of Miss Dunn, courtesy Children's Museum of the Arts


The mission of the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) is to introduce children and their families to the transformative power of the arts by providing opportunities to make art side-by-side with working artists. The CMA Permanent Collection houses over 2,000 artworks by child artists from over fifty countries. Most were made in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The CMA permanent collection sheds light on children’s art and ideas by providing windows into how they have seen and represented their world in specific historical, social, regional, and national contexts.

On view are selected pieces from the Kuniyoshi Collection, a portion of CMA’s permanent collection representing young artists who participated in the Federal Art Project (FAP), created in 1935 as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The FAP offered free arts education to people of all ages. In concept and function, this open-door policy promoted the arts as a valuable element of society and an activity to which every individual should have access.

Kuniyoshi immigrated from Japan to the United States at the age of thirteen in 1906. During the Depression, Kuniyoshi worked as a teacher, and artworks in this collection offer a glimpse into the 1930s from the perspective of a child.

Outsider artwork is often defined as the work of artists who are self-taught, or demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and instead are motivated by their unique personal visions. Children also express their experiences, understandings and thoughts through artistic expression. This sentiment is the spirit of CMA’s Permanent Collection, and we are proud to exhibit these selected pieces from CMA’s Kuniyoshi Collection at the Outsider Art Fair.

Children's Museum of the Arts is located at 103 Charlton Street in Manhattan. For more information, please visit

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