Dear Parents,

I’ve left all of the information about HiArt! and the way it grew from my crazy shopping cart on the Upper West Side because it’s a piece of personal history . . . my personal history, and the history of so many families who have shared the past two decades of HIArt!’s boundless energy with me.

But, and I know many are panicking, it’s time for a change.

Yes, I’m planning Let’s Hop” for this Spring – gallery hops, drawing and photography for kids - and we’ll continue with our Tuesday and Saturday manga classes – location still to be decided. No kids, we will not abandon you . I get how much this means to you – and to all of us! But our home on 29th Street will close forever at the end of March.

We can still do PARTIES’s at your place or another space, and if you want some classes, HiArt! private, semi-private and small group lessons chez vous or moi will continue. Just call me and we’ll make the arrangements.
And for those who will, you can look forward to manga camp towards the middle/end of August.

In the meantime . . .

It’s been my dream for many years to create a truly integrated Children’s Center for the Arts where artists and children of every size and color can work together in the high arts – from the time they’re toddlers until they leave for college. A place where the arts rule, and where privilege will not define access.

If the idea is as dear to you as it is to me, call me. Become a Founder and we we will build this Center together. Our Center will become, among so many other things, the new home of The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative (, dedicated to making the arts a transformative part of all or our and all of our children’s lives.

Reach out, make change. Millions of kids need you to stand with me.


Like every mother, I can’t help but marvel that this “baby” of mine has just begun its twentieth year. HiArt!’s first semester consisted of one good-natured two-year old and his parents, my daughter, my husband and me in a quite dingy midtown dance studio. Everything we needed for class had to come, each week, with me. Picture me: tv, boom box, cassettes and my gigantic shopping bags of art supplies in hand. Surely I was the bane of every cab driver in New York City: an art-crazed shopping bag lady loading this huge cartful of supplies in and out of a taxi smack in the middle of midtown traffic. Nonetheless, we had the grandest of times : dancing away to Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, we created spectacular art drawn from the images of fallible saints and the angels watching over them.

In our stunning studio that overflows with art supplies and the boundless energy of amazing young artists -- we dance on sparkling floors and sully them daily with masses of paint, glitter and every conceivable art supply imaginable. The entire city is our art-oyster: whether it’s Chelsea, or Brooklyn, or uptown at the Guggenheim – HiArt! kids don’t just look at art, they “climb inside of it.” We’ve danced to Pipilotti Rist, jumped under Christo’s gates, been part of Albert Maysles documentary, made animations from food, chatted with Thomas Struth, worked on a community mosaic in Harlem, been on the stage – so many times – of the New York City Opera and immersed ourselves in the brilliant music of composers from Rameau to Prokofiev, from Schoenberg to Babbit. ********

At HiArt! there's a permanent big dream: to nurture a generation of kids as they grow in breadth, skill and insight. 2017 is well underway and we are bursting with energy and plans. Looking very much forward to starting this Fall off with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale! We’ll do our best to refute the accusation: All girls are the same!  With fun and laughter and amazing Mozart, how can you go wrong?!  Then hop, hop, hop we go - sketchbooks in hand - into the world of today's most provocative contemporary art scene. Galleries, museums. Wherever great modern art goes, so go we! Think your kid is too young? Or too old? Think again! Mine started before she was 2 and look at her now: two years in the honors program at the School of Visual Arts, a fabulous artist who's sold thousands of dollars of art to help support Time In and now a full time mangaka at Seika University in Kyoto, and a HiArt! teacher whenever she’s in town!

As kids grow, so does HiArt!. And we've devised plenty of ways for Bigger Kids to spread their wings -- all the way through middle school! Like real working artists do it? Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to paint with with the real thing! Caitlin’s an incredible teacher. She works with us at Time In here and she was a total painting star this past summer at Usdan! Caitlin’s work has been shown in galleries all over the world and you can read about her in publications like Art Forum, New York Magazine and, to name just a few! That’s what the Bigger Kids classes are about. We’ve got the most happening manga studio in town: There’s Manga Madness on Tuesday and Saturday. And, if you want to branch out more broadly, Soft Sculpture with Luiza Kurzyna or Portfolio Prep with Caroline Falby could be right up your alley. And for the first time — VERY SPECIAL: The Producers! A Videomaking Extravaganza for Arty Kids! with internationally renowned visual and performance artist, Guy Richards Smit, gives older kids a chance to make a sitcom from scratch out of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. Kids will do it all: adapt the libretto, incorporate improv comedy, props & costumes and make an original TV show! And if you can’t make Guy’s class, but love the idea! Share it! (Watch Video) Your donation to The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative will make it possible for Time In’s 3rd, 4th & 5th graders from Harlem & the South Bronx to do this project with Guy every week from January to June! Give some Guy! - watch the video and then donate to rock other kids’ world! Take advantage of these once in a lifetime opportunities to work with the art stars of tomorrow! Please mommy, can I go too????

Need inspiration? You'll find it here! Whether during the school year, at one of the many Holiday Camps that we have planned for your kids this year! Or during the summer at Culture Bugs!, HiArt!'s incredible programs for the arts-savviest kids in the city are not to be missed!

By now you’ve probably figured out that HiArt! is not your neighborhood art program. The impact our work has made on the thousands of families who have crossed our threshold since 1997 is enormous. “HiArt! has changed our lives,” parents say, and children badger their parents until they can come back again and again. Which is why, in addition to all our regular classes, camps and activities, we’ve brought another “child” into the world. Her name is Time In, and she’s devoted to bringing more HiArt! to more children in New York City than ever before.

And the entire program is privately funded. We even piloted an incredible literacy program this year - Arty Readers for kids 3rd Grade+ - and had amazing results: One of our 3rd grade classes had a 100% pass rate on the ELA thanks to Time In! This year we’ll be serving 890 kids every week! Completely, overwhelmingly transformative and wild. Nine years ago, The Time In Children’s Arts Initiative began bringing children out of at-risk schools and into HiArt! every single week as part of their regular school day. Not a modified, scaled-down HiArt! for poor kids, but exactly the same fabulous HiArt! that your own kids know and love. Opera ‘N Art, live performance, gallery hops and museum visits. The whole shebang. Every kid in the class, every single week of the school year. And the entire program is privately funded.

Making the world a better place for other people’s kids is the greatest gift we can give our own kids. Without your help we can’t make it happen. With your help we can change the world. Add your name to our list of donors in honor of your own child. Just click here to make an artful difference in some very wonderful — but hugely underserved - kids’ lives:

Then follow our amazing progress on Facebook -- and watch your dollars at work!

Think ahead to summer: registrations piled in this year for Culture Bugs! – HiArt!’s brilliant and exhilarating summer arts program for kids from 3-16. Children who love creating and exploring are in their element here. Every moment of our day is an adventure: whether it’s making art, dancing, interacting with music, visiting galleries, drawing, painting, thinking, playing or just hanging with new friends and shooting the breeze. Little kids come for half day with an adult companion; big kids – K and up – can come on their own for a full day of the “Best Children’s Arts Program” in New York.

Summer is prime HiArt! Time. Kids are rested and ready to make, see and do with gusto! This year, Culture Bugs! kids were immersed in marvel after marvel: Manga Camp with all of our amazing teachers - Yali, Zoe, Ashley, Cyndie & Hyeondo, A Midsummer Night's Dream - loverly Shakespeare combined with the brilliant music of Benjamin Britten, and masses of studio art with Maureen St. Vincent, JJ Manford, Mallory Breiner and Ashley Silva! You asked for art? Well ask no more - 'cause we've got it! As always, the summer will be stacked with star-power artists in 2, 3 and 4D! hang onto your hats - more news to come!

Since 1997 we‘ve been the city’s mainstay of real arts programming for young children. In fact, in a poll taken by Go City Kids, parents unequivocally answered that Hi Art! is the place to come to develop your kids’ “Inner Picasso.” As New York Magazine said, “It’s time to get with the plan.” If you and your child have never been here before, we look forward to welcoming you!

With promises for another magical year of the highest art at the Best Children’s Arts Program in New York!

Cyndie Bellen-Berthézène
Founder and Director
HiArt! + Time In



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Culture Bugs 2016!  
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Andreas had a fantastic time! Thanks again for running the best art program in NYC. :-)

    -Stephanie Johnson

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Check it out: Cyndie writes 4 books for Scholastic’s KidSketch!  More info