For families navigating the child welfare system with children ages 2-15

CMA’s ARTogether program provides clinically-trained facilitators to use the arts to repair bonds and communication among families navigating the child welfare system.

Families navigating the child welfare system need a safe space for transitioning their “togetherness” into community settings. Museums and cultural spaces provide an ideal transitional space where families can use newly acquired skills in a creative environment.

ARTogether is a community-based family support model designed in 2010 to help families in foster care and those navigating the NYC child welfare system to bond, practice positive parenting strategies, and forge new family memories through shared creative experiences. It is a model that uses a natural community setting to support families who are most often served in isolation. By partnering with agencies to move family visits into the community, the quality of visits improves and skills learned in therapy and parenting classes can be put into practice. Families also receive the healing benefits of being part of the larger cultural continuum.

Program Structure

Program Goals

  1. Strengthen adult-child communication
  2. Help parents and guardians learn and practice positive parenting skills
  3. Share quality time in a community space designed for family engagement

ARTogether Family Visit Room

The Vince & Linda McMahon Family Foundation have generously provided financial support for a dedicated family visit space in the museum which provides a private space for bonding. An exhibition of artwork from CMA’s Permanent Collection inspires an open dialogue where a child’s viewpoint is valued. When families participate in ARTogether, their creativity is at the center of the time they share together. By actively participating in an artwork they draw connections to skills gained in treatment. Across the room, a cork board wall provides an exhibition space that honors the work done together.

Eligible Families

ARTogether is available for families from all five boroughs of NYC with children ages 2-15 years who are involved in the child welfare system in the following ways:

  • the children are in foster care
  • the family is receiving preventive services
  • the family has recently reunified within 6 months
  • the children are in kinship foster care and working toward adoption

Participating caregivers must be substance-free and willing to follow program and museum rules. Participating caregivers must be actively involved in support services around mental health needs, such as therapy and medication management. While there are many families that would benefit from ARTogether, our funding is focused on working with families navigating the NYC child welfare system.

Make a Referral

We generate referrals from a range of social service providers, including foster care agencies, preventive agencies, and legal service agencies. For supervised visits, family caseworkers must be present.

Programs take place on at CMA or near the service agency offices during the following times:

  • Weekday afternoons
  • Weekday early evenings
  • Weekends

All CMA facilitators are trained in a social service profession including Art Therapy, Social Work, Counseling, and Clinical Psychology. All facilitators are New York State Mandated Reporters. All of our facilitators are culturally-informed practitioners, and many are bilingual and bicultural.

Agencies can make referrals for families or coordinate a group program near their offices by completing our online form or emailing


Learn More

ARTogether Guide

The guide is a tool based on ARTogether as a model program designed to help families navigating the NYC child welfare system to connect and bond through the use of art, dialogue, collaboration and sharing, imaginative play, and community inclusion. This tool is a description of the strength-based family approach used in ARTogether, ways to engage families using art and play, and the role cultural institutions can play in supporting at-risk families. ARTogether is structured to reflect the goals of CMA’s pedagogy of LOOK, MAKE and SHARE.



Learn more about ARTogether by inviting us for for an in-service presentation of our program model to your team, or have your team visit the museum. Participants will receive a copy of our guide and a free museum pass. Schedule a visit by emailing


“I loved how we had a routine and I stuck to it since that was one of my issues with my son. His behavior changed 100% better in school and I thank the museum and [the facilitator] for that.”

“Something new I learned was… having fun together!”

“I think this program improved my relationship with my son… a lot. We finally found something we both enjoy.”

This program is supported by Elizabeth and Rick Pepperman, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Jennifer & Jonathan Soros Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, the Louis Legacy Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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