Who We Are
We are The Children’s Art Carnival, a Harlem-based not-for-profit committed to providing creative experiences and resources to advance cultural and artistic development in Harlem. Operating from our townhouse in historic Hamilton Heights, we are a hub for the arts in West Harlem. We support our community’s emerging and established artists and encourage creative engagement with community members of all ages and backgrounds.
Through the visual and communications arts, our mission is to empower Harlem community members to engage in the arts actively, to support and provide facilities, resources, and opportunities for Harlem’s artists, and as a center for the arts, serve as a catalyst for equitable cultural development and artistic expression to enrich the community we serve.”
Building Community Since 1969
The Children’s Art Carnival opened its doors on March 17, 1969, in the historic Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Harlem under the inspired leadership of artist, activist, and educator Betty Blayton-Taylor. Originally conceived as an outreach program of the Museum of Modern Art, Blayton-Taylor later established CAC as an independent not-for-profit organization in 1972 and began operating from its current base at 62 Hamilton Terrace.
From its inception, CAC fulfilled a critical need within the Harlem community, fusing novel educational approaches with creative art disciplines, including sculpture, painting, photography, comics, figure drawing, and filmmaking. Throughout the decades, CAC fostered a positive environment for underserved youth, provided countless young people with a strong foundation rooted in the visual arts, and became a source of innovation for vanguard ideas in the field of education. The organization has also been home to emerging and established artists, educators, museum personnel, and representatives from local, national, and international cultural institutions.
After Betty Blayton’s passing in 2016, CAC began a transition period. The organization is re-establishing its programming through workshops, art exhibitions, open houses, and partnerships with community-based organizations. CAC has established a new track of art services that place the individual artist at the center of its work and supports and nurtures the development of emerging artists as key to the full development of its educational, outreach, and workshop offerings in the future.
About Betty Blayton
As an artist, Betty Blayton was an illustrator, painter, printmaker, and sculptor. She is best known for her works, often described as ‘spiritual abstractions.’ Betty Blayton-Taylor was a co-founder and Board Secretary of the Studio Museum in Harlem, co-founder and Executive Director of Harlem Children’s Art Carnival (CAC), and co-founder of Harlem Textile Works. She served as an advisor, consultant, and board member to various arts and community-based service organizations and programs. Her artworks are widely exhibited in and collected by various private art collections, galleries, and museums.
The CAC Gallery features local and regional artists’ artwork at all stages of their careers. Exhibitions are hosted throughout the year, including the Annual West Harlem Arts Collaborative exhibitions hosted in collaboration with local community partners, including Centro Civico Cultural Dominicano, Hamilton Landmark Galleries, and En Foco Inc.
Hours of Operation
The CAC Building and Gallery does not maintain regular hours. To visit, please register/RSVP to our Events.
During exhibitions, Gallery hours are Saturday + Sunday (12 PM to 6 PM). To view an exhibition during weekdays, RSVP via email.
PLEASE NOTE: Masks are required to enter the CAC Building and Gallery.