Monthly Archives: February 2014

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


“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.


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.”


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.


For More Information, contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Popluations

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Visual Art Discovery with VSA provided under contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

2014-1-15 mansa arthur 188

Arts Horizons is a proud collaborator to lead Visual Art Discovery programs with VSA provided under contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The work is inspired by the VSA International Art Program for Children with Disabilities ‘Teacher Resource Guide, Edition 2013: A series of visual art lesson plans designed to engage students with disabilities.


This unit of lessons re-conceptualizes the “self-portrait” in alternative, challenging, symbolic, and beautiful ways, breaking from traditional teaching of self-portraiture. The lessons conform to the following principles of Universal Design: (1) Multiple Means of Representation – presenting information in multiple formats so that all students understand the content, (2) Multiple Means of Expression – providing multiple options for students to express themselves, and (3) Multiple Means of Engagement – providing multiple opportunities for students to work in ways that are interesting and challenging for them. More information and a link to the full resource guide can be accessed online at

Our first featured 2014 program highlights the work of students at PS 188 in the Bronx working with Master Teaching artists Mansa Mussa and Arthur Wilson.  Educators enthusiastically supported student learning by integrating the lessons into their weekly curriculum for students with special needs.  One of the lesson’s incorporated was entitled, “I am a Sandwhich,” where students created metaphoric self portrait clay box in the shape of sandwich. This project was adapted to help students create a more abstract way to approach the creation of a self portrait.

The project was further weaved into creative learning via the original “I am a sandwhich mantra.” (see below).  In the word of a participating educator Mr. Devaney, “I appreciate the time and effort you have shown to our class. The art pieces are excellent and you really have captured a genius of the person beneath the cloak of disability. This is the mark of an artist and I thank you both” Mr. Devaney.



I am a sandwich

I am a sandwich
But not a sandwich you really eat,
I am a sandwich from your imagination
Like a sandwich filled with kangaroos
Mustard, laughter, and whole wheat

I can be a sandwich flying through space
Piled up high with your fondest wish
Ham, courage, gazelles, and jelly bean fish

I am a special sandwich
Never left alone in the refrigerator
On an old cracked dish,
‘cause I am a magical sandwich
Filled with beautiful monarch butterflies
Chocolate, day dreams, and carrot sticks

I am a brave sandwich filled with honey
Dollar bills, and bumble bees in a hive
Trying to flee
Would you like to share my sandwich with me?

I am a pumpernickel sandwich filled with turtles
Apples, guitars, and shooting stars,
And sometimes I even throw in a few candy bars

I can also be a double decker submarine sandwich
Filled with sneakers, lightning bugs lit up in jars,
With a little mayonnaise and racing cars

When I’m really imaginative
I am a sandwich filled with bells ringing
Fried chicken, friendship, and diamond rings
Why I’m a sandwich fit for a king
My sandwich can even dance
And sing!

For more information, contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Populations at

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