Old photo of our founder artist, activist, and educator Betty Blayton-Taylor
Illustration of Harlem map on the bottom left of her photo

About Us

The Children’s Art Carnival is a Harlem-based not-for-profit providing visual arts education to young people and their families residing in Hamilton Heights and throughout New York City. Understanding that the arts are a bridge to learning and to overall competency, CAC’s long-standing objective has been to support the development and growth of participants from early ages through adulthood and to provide creative experiences that will engage young people, their families, and community members. We are equally committed to providing opportunities and resources to early-career and emerging artists From Harlem, New York City and throughout the region.

Our History

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 the death of Blayton-Taylor in 2016, CAC began a period of transition. The organization is currently re-establishing its programming through workshops, art exhibitions, open houses, and partnerships with community-based organizations. CAC is also developing a new track of arts services that place the individual artist at the center of its work, and will support and nurture the development of emerging artists as key to the development of its educational, outreach and workshop offerings in the future. 

Old photo of The Children Art’s Carnival building front outdoor staircase surrounded by youths during an event

Our Mission

"Through the visual and communications arts, our mission is to empower Harlem community members to actively engage in the arts, to support and provide facilities, resources and opportunities for Harlem’s artists, and to be center for the arts as a catalyst for cultural development, cultural equity, and artistic expression to enrich the community we serve."


Board of Trustees

Michael Unthank


Lilian J. Brown


Zevilla Jackson-Preston

Board Member

Donna Jones


Advisory Council

Jeannette Jawhir Hawkins

Glen Gauthier

Kim Hamilton

Misha McGlown

Ademola Olugbefola

Jose Ortiz

Stefen Reed

Camille Wanliss



For more than 50 years, CAC has played an integral role in the lives and educational experience of thousands of children throughout Harlem and the greater New York area. If you’re an alum of CAC, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at childrens.art.carnival@gmail.com

Funding for the West Harlem Arts Collaborative is provided in part by:


Also sponsored by: