Children’s Museum of the Arts has closed permanently

Children’s Museum of the Arts, the interactive art and maker space that had been on Charlton Street in Hudson Square since 2011, has closed its brick-and-mortar (or as they put it, fee-for-service) home permanently, a victim — or perhaps a silver lining — of the pandemic. (Thanks to C., who wrote to ask what was going on.) Instead it has taken its show on the road, now providing 100 percent free programming in partnerships with schools, community groups and arts organizations around the city. (They have a Halloween event this Sunday in Spring Street Park on Sixth Avenue from noon to 3.)

The former space functioned like a museum, with a big collection of children’s art from around the world and with formal exhibits, but was much more hands-on than your usual “Please Do Not Touch” approach. The program now is almost all art-making and teaching, and it includes a new partnership with Trinity Church, where its artists in residence will work with Lower Manhattan high schoolers after school at the new Trinity Commons. The museum started its Artists in the Schools program a decade ago, and now runs art programs in 19 Title I schools around the city.

Other projects include The Residency for Experimental Arts Education, The Look Make Show, Peacetime public art-making series in Times Square hosted in partnership with Times Square Arts, the Village Halloween Parade & Block Party, and Our First Art Fair, a partnership with the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) in which CMA presented a selling exhibition of new works created, priced, and sold entirely by children at NADA New York.

“When the pandemic closed our space, we were forced to think from the ground up about how best to realize our mission of integrating children into the story of art,” said CMA Executive Director Seth Cameron. “Fortunately, the museum’s history in communities across New York City, though often less visible to those who knew us as a Soho stalwart, has provided a strong foundation for our transformation.”

The Children’s Museum of the Arts was founded in a loft in Soho by Kathleen Schneider in 1988. It opened the museum, 10,000 square feet at 103 Charlton, in October 2011. Over those 34 years, they have created a collection of 2500 works by children from over 50 countries dating back nearly a century. The museum also has a large collection of online resources that can be shared across the world.



  1. It will be missed. My kids always loved going there. Plus they had a great program for special needs kids. Something we need more of.

    • It breaks my heart that this wonderful place has closed. Participating in their special needs program on Saturday mornings was a treasured time with my autistic daughter just a few years ago. I’m so grateful for the wonderful people from this museum. I wish they never had to close. There are no other spaces like this in Lower Manhattan.

  2. we brought our daughter to charlton street and the previous location on lafayette for years. it was a tremendous resource, especially for preschool kids, and a great excuse to get out of the apartment. i believe that it’s one of the core reasons that my our now teenage daughter remains connected to the arts and music. i don’t see how it can have the same impact as an add on to school programs especially for pre-school kids. i wish them the best.