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Artist Helps Brooklyn School Paint a Brighter Picture

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A grant from a community foundation has brought art back to a Brooklyn public school. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Kids at P.S. 16 in Williamsburg are creating gifts of art once again. It's something they weren't really able to focus on last year after budgetary constraints forced the school's principal to make a tough decision.

"I held off cutting art for four years but last year I had no choice but to cut art," said P.S. 16 Principal Mary Renny.

That's when artist Tim Kelly stepped in. He had already been volunteering with the kids at P.S. 16 on his Puzzle Art Project, where giant puzzle pieces are made into works of art.

There are already 10,000 pieces in 20 states and 10 countries. Renny applied for a $20,000 neighborhood school grant from the Walentas Family Foundation. They got it, and Kelly was brought in to teach two days a week plus one day after school.

"They have something consistent that we can build on, so week after week the kids know that they can count on me being here," Kelly said.

"Every single child can do art, you can be as creative as you want. Even a little dot on the paper we celebrate," Renny said.

The entire school is covered in art, not only the puzzle pieces, but all types of work.

"The kids are energized about art. It's wonderful. Mr. Tim has been a godsend here," said P.S. 16 Assistant Principal Erik Van Gunten.

The kids say they simply love the opportunity to create.

"I like to do art with Mr. Tim. He is the greatest teacher in the whole world," said Arianna Diaz, a P.S. 16 student.

"We can paint, color, do whatever we want," said Halle Vera, a P.S. 16 student.

"I love art and I'll be sad if there's no art because I love it so much," said Hayley Montalvo, a P.S. 16 student.

Kelly says he gets a lot back for all that he puts into sharing his passion.

"When we make art, they sing they dance they smile. When you see the pictures you just see happy kids making art or proud kids holding finished art. It's an amazing experience," he said.

It's still up in the air whether or not P.S. 16 will be able to maintain the art program for the next school year. If you want to help out, just head to artisgoodclass.com.

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