Allison J. Davis Named Acting Executive Director of Arts Horizons

Non-Profit Executive to Lead Premier Arts Education Organization
Through its Reorganization

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The Board of Directors of Arts Horizons (AH) has named Allison J. Davis acting executive director   of the iconic arts education organization. She takes over the position held by retiring Executive Director Elizabeth Halverstam.

 “Allison comes to Arts Horizons with many years in television news as well as in the non-profit world,” said AH Board Chair Barbara Sellinger. “She has served Arts Horizons both as an advisor and consultant and she knows us well.  We believe she is well suited to help us through this next phase of our extraordinary organization,” Sellinger concluded.

 Davis has an extensive background in broadcast and digital media as well as communications’ strategy. She began her career as a producer in television news at WBZ-TV in Boston. She moved on to become an investigative reporter in Pittsburgh, Pa (KDKA-TV) and came back to the producing ranks at NBC News serving in various capacities at Nightly News and Today. Davis headed up the team that developed the first original journalism on the internet. She later helped build NBC’s cable and internet business MSNBC and msnbc.com. She then moved to CBS, where she served as Senior Vice President of its syndication unit. In 2004, Davis left television and began her career in the non-profit world. She served on the senior staffs of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the historic Riverside Church in the City of New York. Davis has also been an adjunct professor at Howard University and the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. A founder of the National Association of Black Journalism, Davis serves on the Board of Poets and Writers. A mother of two boys, she resides in Teaneck, New Jersey with her husband Robert Wright.

About Arts Horizons

Arts Horizons, located in Englewood, NJ, is a premier arts-in-education, non-profit organization that provides live professional performances and artist-in-residence programs to students in grades PreK-12 throughout the New York, tri-state region. Founded in 1978, the organization’s mission is to foster development of the whole person, and to improve education by utilizing its programming to transform schools into vibrant, exciting places where children gain appreciation for the arts, discover and fulfill their own creative talents and use the arts to improve their proficiency in academic subjects including reading, writing and math. In 2008, Arts Horizons opened the Arts Horizons Leroy Neiman Art Center in Harlem, NY, to celebrate and strengthen the community through the arts, and provide programs, exhibitions, screenings, performances and public talks for Harlem residents of all ages.

Arts Horizons is funded in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with whom they co-sponsor the Artist/Teacher Institute (aTi).  Other funders include LeRoy Neiman Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Horizon Foundation for NJ, PNC Bank as well as several foundations, corporations and generous individuals who believe in the important mission of Arts Horizons.

Hip Hop History: Songwriting, Beatboxing and Graffiti Art with Mr. D. Cross

CD and hospital braceletThis marks the 4th year of Arts Horizons programs at Mt. Sinai Hospital (Manhattan)  in collaboration with NYC DOE Hospital Schools.  Music and Dance teaching artists visit the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient Services to deliver programs for each designated unit to provide educational, artistic and healing outlets for students in crisis with extended hospital stays.  This program is provided u
nder contract with VSA and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

 

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 Teaching Artist Mr. Derick Cross returns to provide a Hip Hop History program over 10 weeks where students had the opportunity to create music with their mouths (beatboxing), write various forms of poetry, and create Graffiti influenced art, and learn how to make improvised songs versus structured songs.

 

 Mr. Cross describes one of his student’s experiences:  “There was a young lady named Isabella.  I was told not to expect much participation from her. After conducting class vocal warm ups, I had asked the class if any of the participants would like volunteer to take lead in  leading the workshop exercises ,no one wanted to do it. Isabella said that she would do it. She was very successful in leading the warm up exercises. She was very active in the 2 sessions she participaHospitalSchools2ted in. She was also a big source of inspiration to other students.  Seeing Isabella open up triggered other students who were reluctant to share to be more open and “brave” (as one student had stated).”  Mr. Cross continues, “It was great to see the participants use of similes and metaphors in their poetry. I was surprised that sharing the humble New York origins of Hip Hop Culture would inspire the students to share their own personal stories through poetry.”

 

D.Cross Bio

Derick Cross aka D. Cross is a multi-dimensional artist and educator.  Cross is a Queens New York who has called Brooklyn home for over 15 years.  His visual artistry is created in a variety of media including acrylics, oils, & polymer clay. D.Cross’ work has been shown throughout the New York metropolitan area as well locations nationally (Atlanta)& internationally (Sweden& Brazil ) His work is part of the collections of Erykah Badu(Singer), Ed Lewis (Founder of Essence Communications), Ruby Dee (legendary actress) Judith Jamison (Alvin Ailey Director & Legendary Dancer &choreographer) and Bashiri Johnson (Michael Jackson Percussionist & music producer) among others.  As an Arts Educator Mr. Cross has worked with young people from ages 4-21 for the past 20 years .Organizations he has worked with include the NYC Department of Education, Community Works & Arts Horizons.  In 2007 DCross was presented with a proclamation from State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and honored as a notable artist of the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene area.  Derick Cross is currently a board member of The National conference of Artists ‘New York chapter. He is also art director of African Voices Magazine.

D.Cross the Artist on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DCrossTheArtist

 

For more information, contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Populations at dena@artshorizons.org

 

NYU Educational Theatre Forum 2014

NYU Educational Theatre Forum 2014: Forum on The Teaching Artist  April 25-27, 2014

Arts Horizons is committed to the professional development and training of our roster of teaching artists. To that end, we recently sponsored the attendance of solo performer, writer, and teaching artist Angela Kariotis to NYU’s professional development conference, “Forum on the Teaching Artist.” Angela is currently the artist-in-residence for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts’ Artists-in-Education Residency Grant Program. She is working with high school students at Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts in Paterson, NJ and at St.Anthony’s in Jersey City, NJ to develop original creative writing. For each residency, Angela keeps a detailed blog that documents her creative process, student work, and teacher resources.

Angela shares her insights from her vibrant learning experience at The Forum on the Teaching Artist: 

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Angela at NYU’s Teaching Artist Conference.

Many arts education conferences can be summed up with ‘We need more arts education.’ There won’t be anyone in the audience who would contend against that declarative. This particular conference was different. The focus was on the teaching artist and best practices in the classroom/workspace. This was a practical conference and the two workshops that I took really stood out. The first helped me learn about what diversity in the class can mean and the second helped me learn about the need for training for all artists in creating a safe space.

There are specific exercises and lesson plans that we participated in that we could tailor to our own tool box. These were generative art exercises. This was refreshing. Also though I learned to frame a conversation I’ve been having with myself in articulate ways.       For example, In the Everyone has a Voice Workshop we identified what Diversity in the Classroom could mean:

  • Family structure
  • Learning styles (visual, kinetic, audio)
  • Sensory needs
  • English language Learners
  • Economic
  • Ethnic
  • Behavioral mixes
  • Experience
  • Age

We asked ourselves, ‘How can we modify a lesson to fit different diverse populations?‘ I think the most important point is acknowledging and identifying the diversity in the classroom. The idea also breaks open the meaning of diversity and the implication of our work. The next phase of the workshop delivered clear strategies for addressing diversity and a take-away lesson plan.

The next stand-out workshop was presented by practitioners from The Moth. The Moth is a performance troupe with a season schedule and a Story Slam. The point is to tell YOUR own TRUE story. And that’s what this workshop was about: using storytelling as a teaching tool. Bringing storytelling into the classroom is also a means of generating material and devising content for the theater. This is what I do anyway. As a performance artist all my stories are true. I bring that ethos into the classroom. Here are some goals from this workshop–

  • How can you use your own stories as a teaching tool?
  • How can the elements/arc of a story inform the lesson plan?
  • How can generative art apply to my discipline?

What struck me is how different this might seem to folks; how out of the ordinary. It made me pause and reflect on the need to create context and space for this practice. Also, the workshop helped identify a necessary step–for the facilitator and teacher to share their very true stories too. I don’t ask students to do anything I haven’t done myself. For a teaching artist, that seems easy. But in this workshop we see why it’s powerful for teachers to share their own stories, practice storytelling.  Another important point in any workshop about true stories is creating a safe space. The difficulty in grappling with the nuance on HOW to create a safe space was clear when the Moth facilitator acknowledged, “There should be a safe space in the room when it comes to this kind of storytelling but I don’t pretend to know how to do that. I don’t know exactly how to create that safe space.” This conversation reminds me of working with artist/facilitator Sharon Bridgforth and her methodology of creating safe space for work. I now believe all teaching artists should be trained in knowing how to create a safe space in their classroom. I wouldn’t have been able to articulate that very important point before this conference experience.

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Arts Horizons Featured at Monmouth Festival of the Arts Symposium for Educators

Arts Educators who teach at every level, from kindergarten through high school, attended the Monmouth Festival of the Arts 18th Annual Educators Symposium on April 7, 2014, held at the Middletown Arts Center in Middletown, NJ. A 2010 winner of the Governor’s Award in Arts Education, the symposium is part of the Monmouth Arts Festival’s commitment to promoting the highest standards in art education and to furthering the professional development of arts educators.

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Jenifer Simon, Arts Horizons Interim Co-Executive Director, and Teaching Artist Molly Gaston Johnson delivered the keynote address for the event with an exciting presentation that highlighted their collaborative project, “Table Talk” funded by the New Jersey Recovery Fund. Jenifer and Molly discussed how the project engaged communities in civic discourse and healing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy by placing collaboratively designed,  handmade tables throughout Asbury Park, NJ for public use.  The audience of creative arts educators then brainstormed ideas on how they could adapt the Table Talk concept in their school or classroom. Check out www.njtabletalk.org for more information!

After the keynote, participants attended a variety of workshops throughout the day led by several Arts Horizons Teaching Artists, including:

Yako Prodis, a Brooklyn based teaching artist who taught participants about    the art form of Graffiti and the scope of its influence. Participants practiced lettering styles, characters, and visual concepts of Graffiti.

Cathy Lecleire, aTi Instructor, gave a workshop on pop-up books, teaching the basic structures of pop-ups through a variety of constructions.  Cathy will be teaching Book Arts at aTi-North and South this summer.   Register for one of her classes and check out all the others offered at this summer’s Artist/Teacher Institute!

Molly Johnson showed participants how to bring silk screening into the classroom through low-tech silkscreen techniques using screen filler for stenciling and embroidery hoops to stretch the screen.

aTi Instructor Ken Leap gave a hands-on workshop about the world of glass, providing information about adding glass techniques to the art curriculum. Participants learned how to repurpose their old ceramic or enameling kiln to fire glass paints and make exciting fused glass projects.

Thanks to Gayle Horvath for including Arts Horizons in this fantastic event! For more information on how you can bring a professional development workshop to your school, contact Jenifer Simon at jenifer@artshorizons.org. 

Arts Horizons at Face To Face 2014

Arts Horizons was excited to attend the 2014 NYC Arts In Education Roundtables’ Face to Face Conference 2014.   Set in the beautiful backdrop of The City College of New York’s, Shepard hall, the program presented a robust array of quality sessions for all stakeholders in the arts-in-education community.   The day and the issues of arts education were broadcasted in live time through a constant social media connection on twitter, facebook and more further spreading the voice in the power of the arts.

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The engaged presence of key NYC educational and political figures fueled a very hopeful climate for the NYC arts community.  Just a month after Schools’ Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s breakfast with the Arts community, she delivered the keynote address to the 500 persons registered at Face to Face.  Farina energetically makes the case for theater programs in all middle schools for students to have the opportunity to envision and create what they can become.  She advocates for the arts to have a key role in the new social studies curriculum; the role of the arts and illustrations in book publishing in schools; the roll of the arts in our Community and Technical schools.  Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President followed Chancellor Farina with live energy for support of the arts and a plea to involve our communities school leadership teams and community boards.

 

With the recent release from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, he pledged to establish a 4 year goal to make sure every child receives arts education required by state law.  (http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/02/26/a-new-era-for-arts-in-new-york-city-schools/#sthash.tLqBMH64.dpuf) (http://www.billdeblasio.com/issues/education) Doug Israel, Director of Research and Policy with the Center for Arts Education discussed the recent release of the report released April 7th by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. This report provides a first-ever school-by-school breakdown of the state of arts education in the public schools, and overlays that information against the data on the city’s economic landscape. – See more at: http://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/state-of-the-arts/#sthash.3DN0w6ps.dpuf

 

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Arts Horizons is energized to be part of this vibrant community to share, learn and advance the community of arts-in-education in NYC.  For more information contact Dena Malarek, dena@artshorizons.org

Arts Breakfast with School Chancellor Carmen Fariña

Elizabeth Halverstam, Arts Horizons Executive Director, and Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Populations, were pleased to attend an open breakfast with NYC DOE Schools’ Chancellor Carmen Fariña. The event was held on the morning of March 4th in the Peter Jay Sharp Room of the New York Historical Society for a conversation about the importance our City’s cultural institutions and arts organizations to public education. As a member of the NYC arts-in-education community, Arts Horizons is excited to see the personal commitment of the new chancellor to provide arts experiences rich with culture, opportunity and learning for the youth, educators and families of NYC.

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Public Advocate Letitia James and Dr. Sharon Dunn, Vice President for Education at the New-York Historical Society introduced the newly appointed chancellor to a room of Museum Educators, Public Educators, and Arts Organizations. In Dr. Dunn’s years of service with the DOE, Ms. Farina is the first to request and meet with the faces of cultural arts in the city on the agenda of the arts. Ms. Farina spoke heartedly of her commitment to the arts while professing an embarrassment that we are the only county to know so little about our own art history. Meanwhile, NYC institutions hold the ability for students to travel and gain experiential background.

 

Chancellor Fariña announced Middle School students as a targeted priority, stating research of 7th grade retention affecting a student’s graduation rate: 9th and 10th grade are too late. She wants to direct priority back to American History using cultural institutions to provide experiential learning in addition to text book learning. Her proposal to organize Teen Thursdays would open up the doors of museum and cultural institutions from 4:00 – 6:00 pm on Thursdays for students to access learning and culture. Further using cultural institutions for teacher professional development allows teachers to build content area expertise. A proposed reintroduction of the ‘Culture Pass’ for principals and administrators will allow free access to cultural institutions, instilling personal interests to translate for their students and constituents. Inclusion families will be a priority, making special note that we must make the invitation and experience accessible by offering programs in various languages.

 

Chancellor Fariña promoted the expansion of after school programs under Mayor Bill de Blasio and declared that the arts will be listed as one of the required elements. The RFP’s for afterschool are being developed. She spoke energetically about the role of the arts to support common core curriculum, art literacy and wants to see more technology related to the arts.

 

For more information contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Programs and Special Populations at Arts Horizons

dena@artshorizons.org

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Grant 2013-2014: Cheryl Walpole and Tira Bluestone bring art, creativity and healing

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“We are very grateful to Art Horizons to have been included in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Grant. I hope our kids can continue to receive this wonderful quality of life grant. It has definitely improved their quality of life here at Kingsbrook,” Says Guerline Nelson, classroom Teacher at P 721K Hospital school site at Kingsbrook Hospital.

Arts Horizons, one of the largest arts-in-education organizations in the New York/Metropolitan area, has been awarded a Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation 1st Cycle 2013 Quality of Life grant to support the Arts Horizons “Art Beat” program. We are pleased to partner with P 721K to provide music and visual arts programs for pediatric students at Kingsbrook Jewish Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn. Student’s here are undergoing extended hospital stays for severe acute care while some of the students are part of the chronic inpatient care for severe developmental and metabolic disorders.

Arts Horizons teaching artists work alongside educators and staff from P 721K, The Brooklyn Occupational Center, to provide continued education to support students individualized education plans while hospitalized. We partner to support the schools mission to enable young adults with developmental disabilities to realize their talents, strengths and capabilities in order to live and work in our community as independently as possible. Through the arts, we provide meaningful experiences for these students to express their capabilities and merge arts, education communication and healing at the hospital school site.

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Music instruction is provided by Ms. Tira Bluestone, who enters her sixth year working with the students of Kingsbrook Hospital.  Her ‘TiraTime’ collection merges original music, books, audio c-d’s and computer learning to provide a multi-sensory music experience for students with special needs.  In the words of Educator Guerline Nelson, “Tira brings all of herself to the kids through her music at the hospital.   She deepens her connections with the kids and breathes life into them.  She definitely has a way to touch the kids in a very transformative way with her music.”

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Cheryl Walpole, Licensed creative arts therapist, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, enters her third year working with the students of Kingsbrook Hospital.  Cheryl aims to provide a sensory art experience for students to participate with the greatest level of independence.  “Cheryl is great.  She exposes the kids to different textures, she allows them to engage with different materials to create art and express their emotions.” Arts Horizons is proud to share the work of our amazing artists and the beautiful arts expressions of the students at P 721 K at Kingsbrook Hospital.  Thank you for the honor and support of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

See the initial grant announcement here.  http://artshorizons.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/arts-horizons-receives-quality-of-life-grant-from-christopher-dana-reeve-foundation/

 

For More Information, contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Popluations dena@artshorizons.org

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