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This summer, illustrator and Parsons student Tiffany Lin was our artist-in-residence.

We first met Tiffany as part of a class that created handmade books for the Uni on Governors’ Island. Tiffany made a scrolling book called LOOK UP! that told the story of a girl trying to get the attention of her cell phone-addicted parents. That got our attention.

We decided to ask Tiffany to try something new: describe the impact of our work at NYC play streets through sketches, like a courtroom artist. We set her up with a board, and she began drawing what she saw at our pop-up reading rooms. The kids loved hanging around, watching her work. They told her what to draw, asked her questions, cracked a few jokes. Then, as kids will do if you simply give them time and space, they asked to try drawing. And Tiffany let them draw.

lin11_200This is the moment I care about: when a kid sees something interesting—say a comic book, microscope, or charcoal—and he gets the urge to read, use, or try it himself. Folks, this is what the Uni is about. This is our “curriculum” and there is only one test: will a kid pick up a book or activity with a sense of curiosity and feeling of independence that lets him own the act of learning.

We’re teaching kids to fish here.

Tiffany’s work is skillfully executed, delightful, and full of expression—see for yourself below. And the way she connected with kids at play streets was beautiful. We’re lucky to have her on our team. Respect.

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Tiffany got plenty of advice about what to draw.

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Things start to get interesting. Kids ask to draw. Motivation.

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Touche! When you draw kids, Tiffany, they’ll draw you right back!

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Thanks Tiffany, for doing what you do on the street. These kids won’t forget it.

We're getting a "new" name... Street Lab.

The Uni Project is the work of Street Lab, a nonprofit launched in 2006 in Boston, where we created community-oriented programs for public space. In 2011, we migrated Street Lab to New York City and launched the Uni Project. The Uni began as a single, portable reading room and has since grown into a city-wide initiative offering more than 700 days of pop-up programming in 150+ public spaces across the city. In 2019, we are re-introducing our original name Street Lab to tie all this work together going forward, with much more to come.

For now, details about our programs are available here on the Uni Project web site. Soon, that content will move to www.streetlab.org. Thanks for sticking with us!