Library Hosts Inspiring Student Art


In part of a collaborative effort with Silvermine Arts Center, the Newfield Branch Library is hosting a remarkable display of self-portraits and poetry created by third graders from Bridgeport’s Dunbar School. This exhibition, in celebration of Black History Month, invites the public to experience the creativity and talent of these young artists until the end of February.

The showcased works are the result of a unique literacy and visual arts program developed in partnership with Silvermine Arts Center. Serving over 2,000 at-risk urban youth annually, Silvermine’s “Art Partners Outreach” helps to close Connecticut’s educational achievement gap by providing access to the arts and unique enrichment programs designed specifically to target critical student needs.

This workshop utilized a specialized curriculum infused with social and emotional learning (SEL). Over the course of five days, Silvermine Teaching Artists worked closely with Dunbar School classroom teachers to guide students through lessons in poetry and art.

Throughout the process, students delved into the intricacies of facial proportions and the anatomy of the eye, blending artistic exploration with mathematical concepts. They learned to mix paint colors to match their individual skin tones, fostering a deeper understanding of their own uniqueness. Additionally, a four-day poetry residency encouraged students to explore self-expression through reflective poems, drawing inspiration from the works of Langston Hughes and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.

The culmination of these efforts resulted in a collection of captivating self-portraits accompanied by heartfelt “I am” poems, now on display at the Newfield Library. Missy Savard, Silvermine’s Coordinator of Outreach Education, expressed appreciation to the library for providing a platform to honor the Dunbar School third graders’ outstanding achievements, stating, “Much gratitude goes to the Newfield Branch Library for sharing this thoughtful exhibition honoring the Dunbar School third graders and their outstanding work. By making the exhibition possible, the library has afforded us all a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the children’s hopes and dreams so thoughtfully shared in their stunning artwork and eloquent prose!”

Silvermine Arts Center’s commitment to enriching the lives of underserved youth is exemplified through programs like Art Partners Outreach. By offering curriculum-based arts education to public schools in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford, Silvermine aims to fully engage students in the advancement of critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration, supporting better academic achievement and life skills. The exhibition at Newfield Library not only celebrates the artistic talents of these young students but also serves as a testament to the power of creativity and self-expression in education.

Visit the Newfield Branch Library at 755 Central Avenue in Bridgeport to witness the inspiring works of Dunbar School’s third graders and join in celebrating Black History Month. For more information, visit or

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