A Passion For Art

Klokke works out of a bright, spacious art studio at I.S. 392 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Student artwork, neatly matted and hung, covers every wall. “If you frame and mount it, the kids feel good about it,” he says. “It means the art is worth something.”

Each year, Klokke selects several students to participate in a special enrichment activity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students “adopt” a piece of artwork and do a semester’s worth of research about the piece. Then the students return to the museum to present their research and field questions from other students and museum staff.

Principal Shirley Wheeler-Massey points out that many students come to I.S. 392 without any formal art instruction. “For Mr. Klokke to get them to the point where their work is on display is such a great honor, both for the students and the school.”

Denali Farrell, whose work was selected for display at the Queens Museum of Art last year, says that his hard work pays off. “When other people see what I’ve done, it makes me feel like I’ve completed my work as an artist.” Next year, the eighth grader is headed for the High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, one of the city’s highly-selective specialized schools.

Not only was Mariam’s work featured on buttons, it will also be featured in the first-ever P.S. Arts Week, a week-long celebration of student achievement in the arts. Public school student work will be on display at marquee cultural venues around the city from June 2 to June 6. To learn more about PSAW, click here.

Klokke, who has been teaching for over 30 years, sees many benefits to I.S. 392’s enriched arts curriculum. “You can’t measure with a pencil and paper what the students get from all of this,” says Klokke. “The kids love it.”