“Mariposas Amarillas at Wagner College”

“Mariposas Amarillas at Wagner College”

“Mariposas Amarillas at Wagner College”  Temporary Installation at the Horrmann Library, Staten Island, NY.


Though Montoya does plenty of solo work, she seems most at home when others are helping. This was no more obvious than her work last week with students from P.S. 20 and Wagner College.

For the past two years, Montoya has been helping the young students understand public art as it relates to concepts they’re learning in school. It’s part of a partnership with Staten Island Arts and Wagner College.

On Friday morning last week, about 360 tiny hands secured Montoya’s trademark butterflies onto a fencing at Wagner’s Grymes Hill campus.

In less than an hour the students watched the empty fencing become denser with the yellow butterflies, solidifying everything they had learned from Montoya about immigration, diversity and beautifying their community.

“Them working together shows how we can all come together to do one big beautiful thing,” said Nick Galletta, a fourth and fifth grade teacher at P.S. 20 said as he watched his students tie the butterflies to the fence.

Montoya says working with students, especially those from immigrant families “gives them the tools to tell their story,” she said.

“It shows them that you can be a good person in society no matter where you’re from.”