Spotlight: Jeannine Otis at Union Settlement @ PS 7
We can’t believe 2019 is already here! Arts Horizons extends our warmest wishes for an auspicious New Year to all of our amazing partners, teaching artists, readers, and supporters.
For our first spotlight this year, we would like to highlight our 3-year partnership with Union Settlement. Established in 1895, Union Settlement is a longstanding, on-the-ground resource for East Harlem residents of all ages, and it is specifically dedicated to serving the needs of underserved communities. They have consistently brought educational, wellness, and community-building projects to various sites in the neighborhood. They offer a wide range of programs including: youth and adult education classes, fitness classes, Meals-on-Wheels, mental health services, and programs specifically for senior citizens at more than dozen locations throughout the neighborhood.
Among their most active after school program sites is at PS 7: Samuel Stern School on 120th Street in East Harlem. AH teaching artist Jeannine Otis – a Staten Island-based, award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and author – conducted an exciting musical theater program filled with plot twists! Students worked on several scenes from A Christmas Carol throughout the residency. Meanwhile, Jeannine had planned a few incredible surprises to end the residency with a bang…
Scene: Scrooge meets the Ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol
She first took her students backstage at Brooks Atkinson Theater on Broadway to meet Thom Gates, stage manager of the hit musical Waitress! Thom was impressed by “so many smart questions” asked by the students about stage production and other technical aspects of musical theater. The residency culminated with another field trip to Broadway for The Lion King. Students even got to try on some of the costumes backstage at Minskoff Theatre!
Backstage & Onstage at The Lion King
We are truly touched by Jeannine’s passion and dedication as an educator – especially in providing her students with opportunities to engage with art outside the classroom. We also sincerely thank site director, Mr. Deon Whitter, and all of the staff at PS 7 for their incredible support and for so warmly welcoming us back into their school. We hope to continue this fruitful partnership for years to come. Stay tuned for more spotlights in February!