CMA Stories

6 Fun Facts About 30 Years of CMA

CMA is celebrating its 30th birthday year with CIVICKIDS, a year-long series of exhibitions, community events, and digital art calls that foster civic engagement and shared community pride through art-making. With May as our month of Celebration, we dove into CMA’s exciting history to bring you 6 fun facts about CMA’s 30 years of existence. Cheers to many more years to come!

Pia Mileaf-Patel, age 11

  1. CMA was founded in 1988 by Kathleen Schneider. There was no physical exhibition space when the museum was founded — all business was conducted out of Kathleen’s Greenwich Village apartment!
  2. Although CMA has moved several times throughout its existence, the museum has always been located in Downtown Manhattan. CMA’s current 10,000 square-foot space on Charlton Street in Soho used to be a loading dock!
  3. In 1990, CMA put out a worldwide call for children’s art. Artwork arrived from over 50 countries! The submissions resulted in a traveling exhibition, A Child’s World, at A.I.R. Gallery in Soho in January 1991.
  4. As a result of this worldwide call, CMA now holds the world’s largest collection of children’s art — over 2,000 works. You can view the collection here.
  5. In the aftermath of 9/11, CMA worked with art therapists to create special programming for the museum’s young community. The artwork from these workshops are viewable as part of the Operation Healing collection.
  6. CMA’s digital collection continues to grow with its collection of children’s films and audio recordings created by museum-goers, which can be played on our Vimeo and Soundcloud channels.

Arnold Shickman, age 11, USA, Janet Welch

This program is supported, in part, by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. CIVICKIDS is sponsored by Google.


  • Each fall, CMA partners with Redhawk Native American Arts Council to present the Indigenous People Cultural Festival. In the spirit of celebration, we partnered with Redhawk to share our May CIVICKIDS digital challenge, DIY Noisemakers. Learn more… Read more

  • We are kicking off a whole month of celebrating this May at CMA — and there are so many ways to celebrate! Our CIVICKIDS digital challenge is DIY Noisemakers, but here's another adventurous way to celebrate from… Read more

  • You might recognize Children’s Librarian Kristy Raffensberger from Story Time during our monthly cultural festival series. Did you know she also makes a monthly Reading List just for CMA? Take a short walk after your… Read more

Sign up to get updates and special invitations