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Chelsea Exhibit Teaches Kids To Abstract

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Two world class New York artists are showing their work at a gallery inside a public housing project in Chelsea where some say the arts programming offered there is helping local kids deal with hardships related to Sandy and the blackout. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

At the Hudson Guild gallery on West 26th Street first grade students are learning about abstract art with two highly accomplished New York artists, Kendell Shaw and Danny Simmons.

"They see things in a fresh and new way that even artists don't see. We lose something as we get older and the kids still have it," says Simmons.

"With their imaginations and seeing ourselves," says Shaw.

The gallery is run by the Hudson Guild, a private social services agency. It's located inside the Elliot-Chelsea Houses. It was a much bleaker scene during the blackout.

"We had to use candles and we all slept in the living room," recalls one young student.

"There was no water," recalls another.

Arts Director Jim Furlong credits the Guild's many arts programs with helping the young children cope. He says the arts create a sense of community and that helped during Sandy.

"That was a crisis. The day you came the lights were still out and we were handing out food for the first time. But it did have the same kind of positive vibe that today's tour in the gallery has," says Furlong. "A lot of wonderful people coming together and helping each other and making a difference in the community."

The exhibit is called "Dialogue" because Danny and Ken have been having their own artistic dialogue for several years about their very different but equally colorful and abstract works. Now that dialogue has expanded to include young art lovers too.

At the end of the tour the kids were asked to pick their favorite: Ken or Danny.

"It reminds me of the city," says one young student.

"I like how the color textures work," says another.

The exhibit is up through February 12.

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