Arts in Atlanta: AH @ VSA Intersections

Is it fall already? Time really flew by as Arts Horizons was fully engrossed in preparing for our 40th anniversary celebrations, running our summer programs, drafting proposals for our school year programs, and attending national conferences! In fact, AH program coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan was in Atlanta in August for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ annual VSA Interactions:  Arts and Special Education Conference. This conference brought together “professionals in the intersecting fields of arts education and special education” from all over the United States, and it fostered opportunities “to share current information in research, practice, programs, and policy” over two days of plenary sessions, rapid-fire presentations, professional development classes, and hands-on workshops.

One of Kiran’s favorite presentations was a quick, 15-minute talk on the role of peer partners in art inclusion programs for public schools. Presenters Jonathan Hale and Kelby McIntyre-Martinez provided evidence-based research, conducted on students at Sprucewood Elementary and Jordan Valley schools in Utah, for optimizing socialization between typically and non-typically developing students through “cluster units” in integrated visual art classes. A unit consisted of 1-2 peer partners and 1-2 other typically developing students from Sprucewood seated alongside 2 non-typically developing students from Jordan Valley at a table. They are eager to expand their research into developing similar “cluster units” for integrated performing arts classes.

Jonathan Hale and Kelby McIntyre-Martinez present a schematic showing “cluster units” in an integrated classroom

Samantha Davis’s practical workshop on positive behavior supports and other classroom management tactics was equally illuminating. The core of her approach to successfully managing disruptive students, especially those with emotional and behavioral disorders, lies in her innovative adaptation of Polsky’s Diamond in the classroom. This social psychology model was originally developed in 1962 by Dr. Howard W. Polsky to assess group dynamics and fluid social hierarchy among at-risk male youth. Ms. Davis discussed the various social types outlined in Polsky’s Diamond and how their unique behavioral traits appear in and inform classroom dynamics. She also stressed the importance of carefully observing shifts in student hierarchy and incentivizing certain productive behaviors to maintain firm control of the classroom.

Overall, VSA Intersections was seamlessly organized and executed, and almost all of the sessions offered were very well conceived and informative. Other highlights from the conference included a rousing keynote address by spoken word artist and poet LeDerick Horne along with energetic performances and touching testimonials by students from DeKalb School of the Arts in Georgia. There was a concerted effort by the Kennedy Center to be inclusive, and they were mostly successful in terms of discussing strategies to increase access to the arts for and engagement with many different special needs populations. It is important to note that a large percentage of this conference’s attendees do admirable work in low-income and/or urban areas around the country with predominantly Black and Latinx students. Therefore, it would be beneficial to devote several sessions in next year’s conference to discussing nuanced cross-cultural pedagogy for students of color with special needs.

Dekalb School of the Arts’ students performing a Broadway musical number

VSA Intersections was a fitting capstone to commemorate AH’s 4 incredible years of implementing arts education programs under contract with the Kennedy Center’s Department of VSA and Accessibility! For the past two consecutive years, Arts Horizons was contracted for 4 visual arts residencies at District 75 and Hospital schools in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx through the VSA Children’s Visual Arts Discovery Program. We are pleased to announce that we are contracted for 5 music and visual arts residencies through the VSA Arts Connects All – Workshop/Residency Program for the 2018-2019 school year:

  1. Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center (Upstate New York)
  2. Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center (Brooklyn)
  3. Hospital Schools @ Kings County Hospital (Brooklyn)
  4. Hospital Schools @ Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital (Manhattan)
  5. Ps 188X @ PS 34X (Bronx)

Stay tuned for next post in which we officially announce our Arts For ELL+SWD partner schools for the 2018-2019 academic year!


For more information, please contactDena Malarek – Director, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*108; dena@artshorizons.org) or Kiran Rajagopalan – Program Coordinator, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*113; kiran@artshorizons.org)

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“Make a Date with the Arts”

Make a ‘Date With the Arts’ and celebrate our 40th birthday by bringing an Arts Horizons Educational Program to Your School !

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Spotlight: Summer Programs in NYC

After a busy and fruitful school year, Arts Horizons plunged straight into our summer arts education programs in Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island. 10 AH teaching artists conducted five to six week-long residencies at various sites administered by the following community-based organizations:  Moshulu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC), Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC), and United Activities Unlimited (UAU). We are pleased to recognize our longstanding partnerships with MMCC and UAU, and we are eager to continue deepening our new partnership with CPNYC. All three organizations have been doing exceptional work to provide spaces that foster educational, recreational, counseling, and/or social programs for children and young adults in New York City’s outer boroughs. After school and summer programming offered by these organizations are part of the Beacon and SONYC (School’s Out NYC) initiatives by the Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) in collaboration with the Administration for Child Services (ACS) and the Department of Homeless Services.

At 7 MMCC Cornerstone sites, our teaching artists provided an eclectic offering of engaging programming to elementary and middle school children ranging from Afro-Caribbean Dance with Silvana Marquina to Percussion with Larry Washington, Jewelry-Making with Ken Fury, Jazz Vocal with Pamela Hamilton, and Visual Arts with Natalie Alleyne, Yako Prodis, and Mansa Mussa. AH teaching artist Ibrahima Camara had a very busy summer as he conducted African dance and drumming residencies for all three organizations!

AH Program Coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan had the opportunity to visit two music residencies this summer – Grace Galu’s songwriting program for MMCC at Fort Independence Community Center in Bronx and D. Cross’s beatboxing program for CPNYC in Brooklyn. Let’s take a quick peek into their classes!

Student songwriters riffing on their favorite food & activities with Grace Galu

Noted soul vocalist and vocal coach Grace Galu is a new teaching artist for Arts Horizons. Students in her songwriting classes learned all about using figurative language, counting syllables, and crafting narratives. She opened up her classes with a fun icebreaker, “Jump In, Jump Out,” in which students introduce and identify themselves to the class as a “singer/dancer/gamer/etc. for the rest of their lives!” Once they were energized, Grace asked them to name their favorite food or activity – the first class eventually chose ice cream and the second class chose dance. Together, students created short, poetic phrases with adjectives to describe how ice cream and dance made them feel, and these lines were compiled into a short stanza and chorus. Grace then brought out her guitar and sung her students’ songs acapella!

Kiran’s second stop was at CPNYC in Brooklyn to attend a beatboxing class by longtime AH teaching artist and multidisciplinary artist D. Cross. CPNYC specializes in enrichment programing for children of incarcerated parents to “empower them to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system.” The focus of D. Cross’s residency was to introduce students to the basic elements of vocal percussion and music production through the creation of beats for songs. D. Cross assembled the students in a Hip-Hop cypher to facilitate improvisation and conversation through music. Students took turns beatboxing, improvising lyrics, or adding other sounds, and D. Cross layered their vocals into a cohesive beat with the help of a splicer machine!

Students freestyling in a cypher with D. Cross over their own beats

Arts Horizons was thrilled to see such active participation in the arts at MMCC, UAU, and CPNYC, and we are grateful to hear that our teaching artists’ efforts were well appreciated by students, faculty, and administrators. We would also like to thank Ms. Kim Viade, Ms. Monique Newton, and Ms. Gizzelle Lopez along with all of the site directors and staff for welcoming us into their programs. We are excited to continue our collaborative work with these amazing organizations for the next academic year.


AH’s Summer Arts Programs in Music & Visual Arts

For more information, please contactDena Malarek – Director, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*108; dena@artshorizons.org) or Kiran Rajagopalan – Program Coordinator, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*113; kiran@artshorizons.org)

Arts and Literacy with “Lady Rose”

Arts Horizons is pleased to welcome Ms. Cynthia “Lady Rose” Roberson as a new assembly leader and residency artist.  Cynthia “Lady Rose” Roberson, Singer, Songwriter and Library Media Specialists, designed the RITTA BOOK concept to promote literacy as a life skill and generate excitement about learning and academic achievement in the 21st Century.  Her mission is Reaching Imaginations Today Tomorrow & Always with Breathtaking Objects of Knowledge (RITTA BOOK).

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Through Music, Movement, and Rap, with an up close and personal meet and greet from THE RITTA BOOK MASCOT, students are encouraged and challenged to embrace academic achievement as a gateway of preparation toward making a difference in themselves, their family, their communities, and the world. The RITTA BOOK MASCOT promotes literacy, builds up excitement about reading and celebrates lifelong learning. Live educational, interactive, fun performances are available for students K – 5.

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Cynthia “Lady Rose” Roberson is a singer and songwriter, flooring audiences from the famous Apollo Theater in New York City to Sapporo Japan. She has even performed with the late great Ray Charles!!!  As a dedicated Mother and School Media Specialist, this modern day Educator is using her gift of creativity and artistic accomplishments to enhance the quality of learning through what she calls, “the Arts in Language Arts.

”Lady Rose” shared her many talents and energized students in literacy learning through music, movement and rap as part of  Arts Horizons programs with Newark Summer Plus 2018.
For additional information and booking, contact Gloria @ artshorizons.org or call 888-522- ARTS x 120 (5767).

Summer Learning with Newark Summer Plus

Arts Horizons is excited to support summer learning with Newark Summer Plus 2018 ! Our teaching artists are leading programs in Wearable Art, Book Arts, African Storytelling, Mask Making and Storytelling and Music at five different schools (Belmont Runyon Community School, Elliott School, Speedway Academy, Oliver Street Elementary School, and the First Avenue School).

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Percussion program at Speedway Academy,  led by Baba Larry. 

Newark Public Schools (NPS) SummerPlus, a collaborative effort with the Newark Public Schools (NPS) Office of Expanded Learning Time (ELT) and Office of Curriculum and Instruction (OCI), offers a summer program focused on summer learning that joins the best practices of academic preparation and enrichment. This partnership builds on and leverages the expertise and resources of both NPS and Community Partners in delivering summer learning opportunities.

 
NPS SummerPlus embodies a vision for Newark public school students in 1st-8th grades with access to creative and engaging summer learning programs that contribute to increasing college and career readiness, narrowing the achievement gap, promoting attendance and engagement, involving families as partners, and encouraging health and fitness. The overall goal of this initiative is to make summer learning a scalable and sustainable strategy for improving student outcomes.

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Wearable Art led by Ms. Michele Baldwin

 
Arts Horizons was, once again, selected as one of the art partners to provide enrichment content and programming (from July 10-August 4, 2018) to the Newark Public School students. This year, we served more than 800 children with a variety of innovative, educational, and culturally diverse arts programs appropriate for all age levels, utilizing percussion, visual arts, theatre, dance, and storytelling. Our unique workshops included Wearable Art, African Rhythms Drumming, Storytelling & Music, Mask Making, A Journey through Book Arts, African Storytelling, Fun with Portraits, and Sing, Rap & Read.

For more information please contact Stephanie , Manager of NJ programs: stephanie @ artshorizons.org, 201-268-7219 * 114

 

Spotlight: Arts Horizons in Upstate New York

There are just six weeks to go before Arts Horizons officially turns 40, and plans for a major celebration are underway! We have had an incredible year of arts education programming in New York and New Jersey, and highlights of our New York City residencies can be found in our previous post. We dedicate this week’s post to highlighting our new partnership with Wellcore Consulting and our spring residencies at 3 schools in East Ramapo School District (ERSD). Situated in the heart of Rockland County in upstate New York and adjacent to the New Jersey state border, ERSD boasts a diverse student body which, according to The Atlantic, is “over 90 percent…children of color, mostly black or Latino, and many of whom are English-learning immigrants.”

Our year-long after school programs at three ERSD schools were funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Center and Empire State After-School Program grants and administered by Wellcore. 6 AH teaching artists – Twinkle Burke, Scott Gaddy, Michael Gardiner, Yah’aya Kamate, Gail Lou, and Suzi Myers – conducted theater, African percussion, Hip Hop, and World Dance residencies for elementary and high school students. Arts Horizons Program Coordinator, Kiran Rajagopalan, recently visited American College Preparatory Academy and Elmwood Elementary School to observe Suzi Myers and Michael Gardiner in action. Let’s take a quick trip into their classes!

Students in Suzi’s dance classes wondered, “Why does this look like cotton candy?”

Suzi surprised her dance students at Elmwood by showing up with dozens of strange bundles on sticks. She held up a bundle, which looked like cotton candy, and with a flick her wrist, out came a long, silk ribbon! Students were enthralled and very eager to learn Chinese Ribbon Dance. They were taught five fundamental movements from this ancient dance form:  waterfall, river, rainbow, snake, and dragon. Afterwards, students freestyled movements based on “writing their names” or “drawing shapes” in the air.

Chinese Ribbon Dancing

Michael Gardiner’s theater classes at American Prep focused primarily on interactive games which demanded utmost focus and developed critical listening and improvisation skills. Classes began with the “Zip, Zap, Zop” game. This theater exercise is designed to sharpen student’s listening skills by having each student call out either “zip,” “zap,” or “zop” in rapid fire succession. Michael then turned up the energy by having students moving around the classroom with a series of walking and jumping “in character” exercises. One class even ended their session with an improvised a skit set in an African Safari!

Michael recapping last week’s exercises with his theater students

 

Animal sightings in the Safari…

Arts Horizons would like to thank the Wellcore administrators, faculty, and staff at Elmwood, American Prep, and Spring Valley High School for their incredible support and for so warmly welcoming us into their schools. We hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership for years to come. Stay tuned for our next spotlight of our summer programs at MMCC and Children of Promise! Have a relaxing and peaceful summer…

Retrospective: Arts Horizons in FY 18

Arts Horizons is entering its 40th year of providing high-quality arts education programming to children of all ages, adults, and seniors in schools and community centers throughout New York and New Jersey. The 2017-2018 school year has officially ended, and we dedicate this blog post to sharing a review of our incredible year of arts education residencies in New York City. We sincerely thank all of our partners and their dedicated team of educators and support professionals for welcoming us into their sites. We also thank their students and participants for their willingness to share their creative voices and artistic talents. Of course, none of our arts education residencies would be possible without our immensely talented and committed teaching artists. We are extremely grateful to have such an amazing roster of artists who offer such diversity of expressive mediums including:  mosaics, collage-making, playwriting, African drumming, musical theater, Hip Hop, graffiti, maskmaking, storytelling, Afro-Brazilian dance, songwriting, photography, music technology, and much more!

Summer 2017 kicked off in high gear with residencies through Moshulu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) at 8 of their cornerstone sites in the Bronx and Manhattan. After a brief break in August, the fall semester promptly began with after school programs through:  MMCC, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), and Union Settlement.

Additionally, we started our in-school programs at several NYCDOE schools funded by the Arts for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities” (Arts for ELL+SWD) grant. Through this grant, participating schools “receive funding to create new or expand existing partnerships with arts and cultural organizations with experience serving English Language Learners (ELLs) and/or Students with Disabilities (SWD).” Our visual and performing arts programs for Literacy Development and Socio-emotional Growth effectively engaged these student populations through hands-on workshops that stimulated creativity, vocabulary development, speaking, and other communication skills. We highlighted our Arts For ELL+SWD programs in a series of five posts:  CIS 303X, PS 28M,  Brooklyn School for Music & Theatre, Robert F. Kennedy Community High School/JHS 226Q, and PS 184M/PS 79M.

We also renewed our VSA Children’s Visual Arts Discovery (VSA-VAD) programs under contract with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at the same sites we served last year:  Hospital Schools @ Kings County Hospital, PS 226M @ PS 76M, PS 188X @ PS 34X, and Queens Transition Center @ High School for Law Enforcement & Public Safety.

Sadly, our fall semester ended with the closing of the Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center (LNAC) in December 2017. But we remain committed to keeping the concept of the center and famed artist Mr. Neiman alive through our work via LNAC Without Walls (LNACWoW). Located at a new central Harlem office space at The Pillars on 124th Street, LNACWoW continues our mission of offering quality arts education programs celebrating the rich history of the Harlem community. We have achieved this through expanded programming with Union Settlement and Hospital Schools alongside new partnerships with Boys and Girls Club of Harlem and the New York Public Library.

Therefore, our spring semester was even busier for us as we launched these new programs through LNACWoW and extended our in-school and after school programs through GGE, VSA-VAD, and our Arts for ELL+SWD partners. New and fruitful partnerships were also formed with South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and Children of Promise. We were also thrilled to relaunch programs with several of our longstanding partners including:  Hospital Schools, PS 46X, PS 130X, Unique People Services, and Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD).

Please stay tuned for further announcements about our 40th anniversary celebrations and our ongoing summer programs. Have a great summer, enjoy the sun, and stay cool!

We are currently seeking experienced, professional teaching artists for the 2018-2019 academic year. Please click here for more information on how to apply.

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