Arts Horizons Goes Virtual
It has been almost four months since the NYC School district shut down schools on March 16th, 2020 secondary to COVID-19. In this time, Arts Horizons has weathered many shifts in online learning as we have formulated, and re-formulated, new paradigms of teaching and learning in the arts. Our collaborative art spaces, performance stages, dance and music studios have shifted into our apartments and living rooms. Yet, we have been able to maintain and build community; to nurture the role of teaching artists as mentors, collaborators and role models. We are grateful to our students, families, teachers, schools and community partners to continue our communities of learning. We are grateful for all of our teaching artists who have brought a whole new sense of creative problem solving to the virtual classroom. Arts Horizons forges ahead into our 42nd year as a non-profit arts-in-education organization that enhances the lives of people of all ages and abilities by creating equitable opportunities to engage in the arts.
Arts Horizons now offers live, pre-recorded and hybrid programs on virtual platforms such as Google Classrooms, Microsoft Teams, ZOOM and more. Between March and June of 2020, we have had the opportunity to present live virtual programs for NYC schools and communities including digital arts technology, graffiti art, poetry for students with autism. We have presented customized pre-recorded programs including 10-part series for multi-cultural dance including West African Dance, Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical Dance), Breakdancing, Step Dance, Shim Sham, Irish Dance, Hula and other dances around the world. We have led programs in recyclable arts, family fitness and specialized programs for special education including the family at home. What remains the hallmark of our programs is the collaborative process that expresses itself even in this online format – each program manifests in its own unique shape and size. Our process unites the educational goals, artistic process and individualized student/classroom goals to present a curated arts-in-education experience.
The state of virtual learning has extreme limitations and exposes great inequalities of access. This is precisely why Arts Horizons is committed to co-creating programs specific to the needs of each student and each site. Programs may need to be adjusted for the learner accessing schoolwork via cell phone, the learner that may be accessing schoolwork at all hours of the day, our learners experiencing the significant trauma that this time presents. Yet, it is precisely the arts that can best support this paradigm shift of education during COVID-19. It is the arts which will engage our young people to increase interest in learning. It is the arts that may encourage a shared family experience led by a professional arts educator. It is the arts that will nurture our young artists to be the creative leaders for social change and innovation. It is our network professional teaching artists and school educators that may be the mentor to help individual students in this time of crisis. It is our community of artists and educators that will be a leading voice for arts-in-education in a global pandemic.
Department of NYC Residencies & Special Populations
Dena Isles, Director
NY Phone: 212.268.7219 * 108
NJ Phone: 201.567.1766 * 108
Kiran Rajagopalan, Program Coordinator
NY Phone: 212.268.7219 * 113
NJ Phone: 201.567.1766 * 113