KoKo NYC is Open Source gallery’s education program.

At KoKoNYC all kids are artists & inventors. We encourage playful and imaginative risk-taking by using real tools and recycled materials in our sustainability focused programs. Empowered by our Teaching Artists, kids see possibilities, problem solve, create, and explore.

KoKo’s Core Values:

We Trust Kids

We work with kids’ natural interests and imagination, not against them! To foster inventiveness, we give kids the space to imagine and create. We trust the kids in our programs and that trust gives them a sense of responsibility in the workshop and with their projects. Using power tools and construction materials may spark apprehension in adults, but we help kids build autonomy by providing appropriate levels of safety and supervision that allow kids to take reasonable risks. We believe that the freedom to experiment is key in challenging kids to take risks and explore unorthodox solutions. With First Aid and CPR-trained Teaching Artists and a high Teaching Artist-to-kid ratio, kids are always safe while taking reasonable risks.

Trash is Treasure

We empower kids to see potential all around them, to see their own ideas through to fruition, to feel a sense of ownership in their work, and to make connections between art and science. By using recyclables, found objects, and repurposed materials as the basis of KoKo NYC’s building materials, we raise kids’ environmental awareness and encourage a spirit of innovation. Kids learn to make art from their environment and to see “trash” as an opportunity. The future relies on kids and facing current issues such as sustainability and climate change will require innovation, creativity, and collaboration.

Access & Equity

We believe that all kids are natural inventors, regardless of their race, gender, socio-economic background or where they live. Our workshops are made for kids of all ages, backgrounds and learning abilities. Our professional Teaching Artists reflect the demographics of the communities we serve. In KoKo NYC workshops, we remove barriers to participation and we help kids see that EVERYONE can be an inventor. We are intentional in our efforts to expand access and equity through strategic outreach and partnerships in underserved neighborhoods, a goal of 20% scholarships in our fee-based programs, and innovative programming, like our Soap Box Girls Week and Tiny House, a mobile workshop that allows us to take our programs to a variety of communities. When kids age out of KoKo NYC workshops, we provide pathways for them to continue to learn and lead in our Counselor-In-Training program.

Process > Product

Our professional Teaching Artists lend their expertise and guide kids to accomplish their goals through an inquiry-based approach that builds on kids’ innate curiosity. Kids in our programs learn by creating rather than following instructions to make a pre-designed product. If it’s perfect the first time, you’ve followed instructions. If it needs to be fixed, you have an opportunity to chart your own path. Kids have a natural tendency to tinker. While some see tinkering as an unserious hobby, we see it as a way for kids to hone their interests and master a variety of skills. First and foremost, we support kids in making their ideas come to life. We challenge kids to improve their technique and we believe there is no one right way to do things.