Ahead of the Curve

Partners & Spade, the Great Jones Street gallery run by Andy Spade and Anthony Sperduti, has always appealed to mature art aficionados. But the pair's innovative idea for the Avant Garde Preschool opened their doors to a much younger set. Spade (the father of a four-year-old), envisioned a monthly children's program that presented art in a way that traditional schools don't explore. He solicited artist Karen Kimmel, who has worked with kids before, to teach the first session in June. The school -- open to children ages four through eight -- will resume in September, and Spade promises they'll continue as long as there is interest. Based on the lineup of creative types who have already volunteered, there's little chance of a lull in the enthusiasm.

Silhouette master Hugo Guinness will help lead an upcoming class, and Red Bucket Films has offered to teach the (very) basics of filmmaking. "The kids are young, so you can't go too deep with the process," Spade explains, "but you can show and tell." The classes are free, although a small donation is requested, which goes directly to the art program of P.S. 126, a neighborhood public school. But Spade insists that it's more of a children's "workshop" than what the name suggests. "We're not formally sanctioned by the city," he says with a laugh, "but I just think 'avant-garde' and 'preschool' is such a funny juxtaposition." And, he adds: "It made a great logo for the poster." Spoken like a true lover of art.

Avant Garde Preschool at Partners & Spade, 40 Great Jones St., New York, (646) 861-2827.

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