Children are natural inventors

We work with children’s natural interests and imagination, rather than against them. To encourage inventiveness, our classes have a free structure that emphasizes peer-to-peer learning and individualized lesson plans. Kids have the ability to make anything they put their minds to–we simply give them the opportunity and structure.

 

Failure is an opportunity

Trial and error is exciting! Using the philosophy of “failing fast,” which is adopted by many entrepreneurs, kids in KOKO learn to accept that failure is a part of creating something new. Fail as quickly as possible, address the mistakes, pivot, and figure out how to make the project more successful. We go into each project with the knowledge that not everything will work. Rather than dwelling on failures, we embrace the opportunity to experiment and find new and different ways to be successful. While creating is important, fixing problems is a necessary skill. As with technology, the most complicated part of writing software is not the writing, but debugging and figuring out what went wrong, and coming up with a fix. If it’s perfect the first time, you’ve followed instructions. If it needs to be fixed, you have an opportunity to create your own path.

 

Mardea

 

Frederico

 

Matt

 

Elizabeth

 

David

 

Monika

 

Lea

 

Marley

 

Sara

 

Andrew

Koko NYC was started by Open Source Gallery founder Monika Wuhrer in 2007. With three boys of her own, Monika saw a need for classes and workshops in Brooklyn that support children’s natural curiosity and innovative thinking. She also noticed a daily abundance of free art supplies appearing like magic outside her Brooklyn home and gallery space in South Slope: printers, furniture, bottles, blenders, boxes, toys and so much more!

Monika, originally from Austria, studied sculpture in Vienna with Michelangelo Pistoletto, a major artist in the Arte Povera movement. Arte Povera draws artistic inspiration from one’s daily environment, finding meaning in the everyday. This, combined with years of study and work in the technology field as a web designer and programmer formed the source of Monika’s vision for Koko NYC.

Koko NYC provides art-based building and technology classes in school and after school programs throughout New York City. We also offer annual Soap Box Summer Workshops and after school programs such as boat-building and house-building at our site in Brooklyn. Many classes additionally utilize open source technology and/or simple components such as littleBits to teach kids about circuitry, programming and other scientific concepts through the process of creation.

Koko NYC class options are ever expanding, however, at the core of every class and workshop is Monika’s original mission: to empower kids to see potential all around them, to see their own ideas to fruition, to feel a sense of ownership in their work and to make connections between art and science (aka STEAM).

Our use of re-purposed materials as the foundation of Koko’s building supplies engenders environmental awareness as well as a spirit of innovation. Students learn to make art from their environment, to see “trash” as an opportunity to create something new.

Over the past ten years, Koko NYC’s education programs have been hosted by esteemed organizations such as the MoMa, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Brooklyn Museum, TedYouth and Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. We have been featured in numerous publications and media including The New York Times, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Independent Television.