Spotlight Returns: Fall Programs @ MMCC with Yako Prodis
Fall has finally arrived in full force, and Arts Horizons is busy with launch of many arts education residencies. We would like to once again highlight and recognize our longstanding partnership with Moshulu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) and our fall arts education residencies at their Edenwald Campus site in the Bronx. MMCC is a longstanding community organization that serves more than 35,000 preschoolers, school age children, teens, adults and senior citizens in Bronx and Manhattan through free and affordable support, enrichment, education, and recreation programs. MMCC offers a wide selection of after school programming for all age groups at more than twenty sites in the two boroughs. MMCC’s after school and summer programming is 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.
We are thrilled that 6 AH Teaching Artists are offering an eclectic offering of engaging programming to elementary and middle school children. Larry Washington is conducting a lively percussion residency while Dean Maitland and Ken Fury are teaching various styles of dance. Students are studying visual art with Yako Prodis, Vickie Fremont, and Natalie Alleyne. AH Program Coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan had the opportunity to visit Edenwald Campus to observe Yako in action! Let’s take a quick peek into his class!
Yako is a Bronx-based Hip Hop artist, multi-instrumentalist, music producer, beatboxer, and graffiti writer, and he is a long-time teaching artist and assembly performer with Arts Horizons. He has an MFA from Goddard College’s Interdisciplinary Arts program, and he has composed music for the multi-media performance “The Spinning Wheel” and co-curated his first large scale exhibition at BRIC Arts Media in Brooklyn with longtime collaborator and AH teaching artist Baba Israel. YAKO 440 also a co-founder of the new rare groove band SOUL INSCRIBED.
His residency at MMCC focused on graffiti writing, and students were first given a brief introduction to NYC’s stunning subway graffiti art of the late 1970s and 1980s. He then had students draw their names in large letters on thick art paper and select two colored markers (one dark and one light shade). He taught them some fundamental techniques of graffiti including drawing shadow boxes and outlining letters. He also asked students to incorporate their favorite character into their writing – skulls and monsters were a clear favorite since it was Halloween and Día de los Muertos! After a few sessions of working with markers, students graduated to paint pens to create their own graffiti art like the professionals!
Arts Horizons is thrilled to see such active participation in the arts at this MMCC Beacon site, 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. Tashan Dawkins, and all of the MMCC staff for welcoming us into their programs. We are excited to continue our collaborative work with this amazing organization during this academic year.