Monthly Archives: November 2011

Students Speak: Bronx Charter School for Children

It’s always great to receive feedback on our programs! On November 4th, The Improv School performed The 5 W’s of Story for the students at the Bronx Charter School for Children.

Today, we received a special package from the students in the mail. Included in the package was a stack full of letters and pictures expressing and illustrating their favorite part of the performance. We really enjoyed the student’s feedback here in the office and want to thank the Bronx Charter School for Children for taking the time out to share with us.


Arts Horizons Trains Teachers to Work with Special Needs Students

“Your workshop was education building bridges and was liberating to my soul.” 

November 11, 2011 – These are the words of one of the 80 teacher assistants from CPNJ who participated in a professional development program with Arts Horizons (AH) to integrate the arts into the education curriculum at  the Horizon Lower School and High School in Livingston NJ. Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey  (CPNJ) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities and other special needs by supporting personal growth, independence and participation in the community.

Arts Horizons Teaching Artists, Vince Ector and Arthur Wilson led this day of learning through the arts.  Both are Master Teaching Artists and Mentors in the Arts Horizons Special Education Artist Academy.

Mr. Ector facilitated a day of adapted music trainings for staff to learn specialized percussion for their students.  Vince Ector –  drummer, composer, bandleader and educator – is a professional recording industry musician in high demand and performs at leading jazz festivals both in the US and abroad.  He brought his expertise in a day of active music making for the CPNJ staff to make sure everyone of their students can have an a true opportunity for technical music instruction and participation.

The “Drama and Gesture Workshop,” presented by AH Master Teaching Artist Arthur Wilson filled the second part of the day with lively poetry, movement, theater, and song.  Arthur Wilson is a published poet, playwright, teacher, and Co-Editor/Publisher (Attitude Magazine), and has contributed to theater, education, and community based programs for over forty years.

Many of CPNJ’s students are non-verbal, use wheelchairs, and have multiple disabilities but all of them have an individual voice.  This day was dedicated to making sure that all children may express their voice and talent through the art of theater and music.  “What can I take with me?  I can listen more to the children and realize how much they matter.   I learned that I can try to be more “alive.”  I learned that all children have a voice and want to be heard….it’s our job to help them communicate and connect.”

For more information contact Dena Malarek, Director of Special Populations with Arts Horizons, or Lindsay Grasso, Training Specialist, Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey

Crash Glass Workshops for You and Your Students

Artist Teacher Institute (aTi) alums and David Brearley Middle/High School teachers Janice Marsili and Cindy Perez conducted a Crash Glass Professional Development Workshop at AENJ’s October 4th Conference in New Brunswick, NJ. “Cindy and I really enjoyed working with all of the teachers,” said Marsili.

The crash glass frames started at David Brearley last year after the school welcomed Jackie Stack Lagakos as a visiting artist  which sparked funding for their 68′ mosaic wall project. “It was very tough for the kids and us to master the technique in just two afternoon sessions,” said Marsili. The first frames produced were not good enough to sell but “the process got easier and a core group of students emerged who just loved doing it,” Marsili added. Once the students mastered the frame making process, the business class divided into “apprentice-like” teams to market and sell the frames. Over 300 frames were sold for $15 each!

The frames have become very popular among New Jersey artist, teachers and their students. To learn more about bringing this crash glass project to your school, contact:

for Artist-in-Residence Workshops in New York
Dena Malarek, Director of  Special Populations and NYC Programs
(212) 268 – 7219 ext.108
for Artist-in-Residence Workshops in New Jersey
Michele Renaud, Manager of NJ Programs/ Artist Teacher Institute

(201) 567 – 1766 ext. 114

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Pictures from the AENJ Professional Development Workshop

Student-created African Tribal Masks at 2011 Annual Gala

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Featured on the tables as centerpieces at our 2011 Annual Gala were African-inspired masks.  The unique masks not only added something special to the event space but they were a great opportunity to showcase student work.

The masks were inspired by a variety of  authentic African tribal masks such as San, Yohure, Senufo, Baule and Ligbi.  Under the direction of teaching artist Donovan Nelson, the students and staff at the LeRoy Neiman Arts Center in turn created their own masks using the different patterns, styles and colors.

The masks became a conversation piece around the room and souvenirs for the guest at the end of the night.  We even have two in our NJ office, reminding us of the successful event and the beautiful work created. The centerpieces the students completed was a big hit this year, so we are all excited to see what our young artist come up with next.

Annual Broadway Salutes Arts Horizons Gala Performances

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In addition to the elegant cocktail reception, gourmet dinning experience and an eclectic auction, the evening’s entertainment was one of the many highlights of the night.

The Arts Horizons Annual 2011 Gala began with a performance from Afro Brazil Arts and a group of talented dance students. The group opened with an exciting presentation of capoeira, a dance developed by Africans bought to Brazil as salves over 400 years ago. Capoeira incorporates the speed and agility of martial arts dancing and acrobatics while teaching a philosophy of resolving conflict without the use of force.

Next, Grammy award winning violinist Joshua Bell, one of Arts Horizons’ Honorees performed beautifully. Bell’s performance included his interpretation of “Maria” from West Side Story and “Slavonic Fantasy” by Fritz Kreisler’s. After his third selection, the entire audience were on their feet clapping.

Ending the night, opera singer Frank Basile serenade his wife, Honoree and movie star Celeste Holm, with some of the most moving Broadway show tunes ever written. To the audience’s surprise, Basile passed the microphone to Holm and she treated us to a snippet of “Getting to Know You” from the Broadway Musical The King and I where she played Anna Leonowens in the 1950’s.

Where else would you find Joshua Bell, Celeste Holm and a demonstration of capoeira on one stage? Loyal attendees are calling this year’s gala “the best one yet.” View a short video of the gala’s performances below.

Esperanza Spalding Talks About the Importance of the Arts

Bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding sat down with Portland Center Stage to briefly discuss the importance of arts in education. Other than what the arts does for brain development, Spalding touched on how the arts enhances one’s personal development when contributing to a community and its culture. “On a community level for us to become great citizens being involved in the arts is crucial,” said Spalding.

Arts in education not only enhances classroom performance but diversifies and enriches life experiences and personal development. Spalding ended perfectly by saying, “…with love, food and shelter arts is a necessity for young people. We have to make sure they have access to it.”

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