Monthly Archives: April 2012

Arts Horizons in the News

‘They came here on a raft…’
Union City students depict their immigration stories, ask for your help

“My parents told me it was a dark and stormy night when they came here on a raft from Cuba,” 11-year-old Caitlin Juarez said as she explained her artwork, made up of a colorful mix of pieces of wood and paper that she painted at Woodrow Wilson School in the Union City school district. “The waves were very violent, and some people died. This,” she continued, pointing to a swirly bit of furniture molding she had found and painted gray, “represents the rapid clouds that swirled over them while they were in the raft.”

Clinton Fourth Grade Students Remix the Curriculum
Clinton students learn playwriting and performance with artist-in-residence Angela Kariotis.

There was a packed house on Friday, March 16 for Clinton School’s high-energy show “Remixing the Curriculum,” written and performed by Clinton School fourth grade students and conceived and directed by artist-in-residence Angela Kariotis, an acclaimed writer, performer, and educator.

Read more: Maplewood Patch – Clinton Fourth Grade Sudents Remix the Curriculm


SMALL TRUTHS – The Immigration Experience through the eyes of children

Sarah Yuster, veteran Arts Horizons Teaching Artist is embarking on an exciting new journey.  Small Truths, a children’s immigration story, was conceived by Yuster after 11 years of working as a teaching artist doing a literacy/visual arts program with elementary school students on Staten Island’s North Shore.

To learn more about the project, the artist behind it and find out how you can help, please visit:

Top Tweets from Arts Advocacy Day

During Arts Advocacy Day, the hashtag #AAD12 kept popping up on the timelines of arts organizations and arts advocates all over the country. Hundreds of Arts Advocates walked the halls of Congress in Washington, DC earlier this week to express how much arts education means to our children and how much the arts improve our every day lives. Though many of us could not attend the day in DC organized by Americans for the Arts, major noise was made on one of our favorite social networks. Here are some tweets that stood out:

@marylandarts: “The soul never thinks without a picture.” Actress Melina Kanakaredes quotes Aristotle at Arts Day. #AAD12

@ArtistRebuttal: The arts are essential to every classroom and creative thinking vital to anyone entering today’s work force. #AAD12

@EverydayOpera: Having arts education as part of the curriculum yields higher reading/science/math scores. Tell congress: #AAD12

@danaerinw: Alec Baldwin just told me how awesome it must be to be an arts manager #AAD12

@EALSAU: RT In tough times it’s more important than ever to keep arts funding strong #aad12. @Americans4Arts @EALSAU @arenastage

@mwolfe09: Providing #arts education for kids helps keep them #engaged in school–reduces absenteeism and dropout rates.#aad12

@FotoJennic: RT@avlculturalarts In the past decade nonprofit arts organizations grew 49% but 45% had an operating deficit in 2009. #AAD12 #avlart

@JustSay_YAS: It’s National Arts Advocacy Day…”Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known” — Oscar Wilde #AAD12

@artpride: Arts Advocacy Day update: we’ve met with 5 offices & have several more to go! NJ’s got a great group of advocates making the case #AAD12 #NJ


On March 20th and 27th, Project READY participants were given the chance to work with a talented musician by the stage name Yako 440.  Yako’s engagement with the students was extremely productive from the start.  Yako was able to gain and keep the attention of the kids while having them participate in group sessions.  This allowed them to use their creativity as well as generated a sense of unity within the group. This unity came from the kids producing their own beats and having the opportunity to share it with one another. Every young person created an exclusive sound that fit them, and with Yako’s help and ingenuity, were able to make one complete beat using each student’s individual touches.

During this process, students were encouraged by Yako as well as one another to use their creativity to make their own sound. During the recording process of the workshop, each were eager to add their own individual flare and offered their support and encouragement for their peers. Yako’s passion for music was contagious and the students fed off that to make their own beats and turn it into one sound.  Even individuals who were not totally interested in music were able to get involved and enjoyed the process more than they thought they would.

Both sessions from start to finish were a great tool for bringing the group together, generating and maintaining an interactive space while raising self-esteem and an overall feeling of accomplishment. These workshops provided court involved young people with the opportunity to get to know one another differently, which in turn, helped to strengthen self-esteem and the group dynamic as a whole.

During Yako’s second session, he was able to introduce new sounds that let the youth build off of what they had created from the previous session. This was even more exciting because they were already exposed to beat-making from the previous session and were willing to be more creative the second time around. Once these sessions were over, theywere left wanting more and expressed their desire to have Yako come in on a regular basis.

*This article was taken from the Staten Island Youth Justice Center’s March 2012 Newsletter

Through the Eyes of an Artist: Angela Kariotis at NJPTA 2012 Convention

During a hands on workshop, Teaching Artist Angela Kariotis discussed Dramatic Strategies for Anti-Bullying with some attendees of the NJPTA 2012 Convention. Kariotis recalls her experience:

Theatre has been used in a variety of ways over the last few decades as a strategy to address bullying in school settings.  According to education writer George Belliveau, Theater helps illustrate strategies to address it and offers ways for children to either prevent or cope with bullying.

‘To unpack the experience and feeling of the bullied, I conducted improvisational exercises.  The power of these improvisational exercises is to bear witness to the experience; to see what is happening and deduce what it might feel like.  Talking about bullying is ineffective.  A student saying to their parents, “Somebody made fun of my outfit,” may not sound like a big deal and might be easy to dismiss, but seeing the threat, the alienation, the subversive power struggle, and the inescapability of the experience – really helps parents, teachers, and students understand the meaning, impact, effects, and urgency of what’s happening in that lunchroom.  Theater helps uncover the urgency of bullying.

To conclude, the group wrote a communal list poem.  The title of a list poem is the subject, the content of the list poem are sentences that refer back to the subject.  Really, we are learning theatrical forms and writing practices all while addressing bullying as content.  In a residency, I would take the diary entries, list poem, improvisational exercises and all other materials and this would be the first draft of out anti-bullying play.

We created a list poem as a group.  It is insightful, intense, compact, and honest.

In the Lunchroom

Sitting alone

Being afraid

Lost appetite

Stomach ache

Cafeteria food

Is it over yet?

Where do I fit in?


Where do I sit?

Who will make room for me?

Art on Stage! Performs at Campbell Elementary School

On March 15th, Freestyle Arts transformed Campbell Elementary School’s gymnasium into a full on art studio as they presented Art On Stage!,an AH visual art assembly. From New York City to Metuchen, NJ the  group traveled with paint, brushes, canvases, wood, drills and studio lights.  The Freestyle Arts duo was set and ready to get started but before creating on-the-spot artwork with the students, Greg Vande Hey and his partner Leviticus encouraged them to embrace their inner artist.

As a result of two back-to-back programs, four visual art pieces were produced. Collectively, the Freestyle Arts team and the student audience created two canvas paintings and two sculptures, which the Principal mentioned would be displayed around the school. See pictures of the artwork below.

Art On Stage! is not only interactive and fun but the students at Campbell Elementary learned a lot about making art, art history and self-expression through art. To learn more about Art On Stage! and to book it for your school contact:

Melissa Patterson
Program Coordinator
(201) 567 – 1766  x 117

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