Author Archives: Arts Horizons

A Mural Rising at Russel Sage Junior High School

A long-awaited mural enlivens the courtyard at Russel Sage Junior High School 190 in Forest Hills, Queens. This in-person outdoor mural program is part of a special grant award made possible by the New York City Artist Corps. The large mural encompasses the spacious outdoor courtyard and conveys themes of unity, love, family, equality, respect and inclusion. The owl mascot and school’s name are enveloped by “heart-headed” figures which symbolize the universal idea of a loving humanity and serve as a reminder of the common bond amongst students and Queen’s dynamic cultural diversity. Individual student names are scribed amidst the mural as they leave their mark on their school community.

Mr. Sien Ide leads the mural design process and in class workshops to prepare the middle school students in the aspects of mural design, color theory, painting technique and details of aspect and ratio. Ms. Vanezza Cruz shares her artistic experience and expertise by assisting Mr. Sien Ide with both the mural application and the mural-making.  Mr. Hemamset Angaza is creating a documentary with behind-the-scenes footage of the artists and students creating and unveiling the mural. Thank you to the school leadership team Principal Greggo, Assistant Principal Monahan, Assistant Principal Aulicino, and all the dedicated educators to help make this opportunity available to launch the new school year as we return from pandemic.

About the Artists:

SIENIDE is a multi-layered artist whose life and is inspired by life and art. Dozens of Sien’s masterfully illustrated murals are scattered throughout the five boroughs of NYC. His public works engage a younger generation of street art enthusiasts with abstract compositions and mood altering color. SIENIDE is an Illustrator, and Professor currently teaching Digital Media Arts at TCI College in New York City.

Vanezza Cruz is a mixed media artist, graphic designer and with an early education in fine arts and music, she graduated Cum Laude from FIT with a BFA in Graphic Design. After working as a graphic designer in the fashion industry, she pursued her MFA in Printmaking at Lehman College. Working as an Art Education Administrator, a freelancer and a muralist, she continues to explore her passions of drawing, binding books, taking pictures, creating collages, and other creative odds and ends. Her work explores ideas of body image and beauty, cultural identity and representations of women.

For more information, please contact Kiran Rajagopalan, Program Director:

Kiran Rajagopalan
Director of New York Programs 
201-567-1766 ext. 113

AH Continues our Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15th – October 15, 2021

Start off the school year with a vibrant celebration of the heritage, artistry, culture and pride of the Afro-Latinx, Latinx, and Hispanic communities through Arts Horizons’ in-person and virtual school assembly programs and arts workshops. While Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th, our programs are available all-year long. Examples include Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s Day of the Dead Celebrations in early November, Three Kings Day in January, Battle of Puebla and Cinco de Mayo in early May. Preview some of our brilliant programs highlighting the rich artistic traditions of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Spain, and the United States including:

VIVA MEXICO! Live Performance Assemblies and Workshops with Calpulli Mexican Dance Company

This program presents a colorfully costumed, engaging and passionate repertoire that presents Aztec dances and dances from states in Mexico such as Jalisco, Michoacan, Puebla, and Veracruz. Music is an important element of the performance. The music combines coastal Mexican rhythms, Aztec drums and sounds, and Mariachi to create a stimulating visual and auditory performance.

Calpulli’s mission is to teach and produce dance-based programming incorporating live music and theater to promote the rich diversity of Mexican cultural heritage. Calpulli celebrates the rich, regional dance traditions of Mexico’s diverse cultural history interpreted through its unique artistic vision. The fresh, vital repertoire honors Mexico’s past and immigrant life in the United States. Calpulli offers an array of programming to educators allowing access to the company’s expertise in Mexican traditional dance, music, garment-making, and culture.

SALSA FESTIVAL: Live Performance Assembly led by Mr. Louis Bauzo

Using a variety of jazz and authentic Latin percussion instruments, talented musicians explore the Afro-Cuban roots of Salsa and its more contemporary variations. Students are introduced to basic techniques, the role of each instrument, and the concept of the clave rhythm – the unifying element of Salsa. Students will move to the beat of Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and more! Celebrate the tremendous influence that Latin American music and American Pop and Jazz have on each other with Salsa Festival.


Dances Around the World is one of our most popular assembly groups that has been delighting audiences for decades. Dances and dance stories from Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Columbia are woven into a dynamic display of expressive movements, powerful rhythms and rich, colorful costumes.

Additional Classroom and Family Workshops

Latin Fusion Dance * Zumba * Afro-Cuban Dance * Afro-Cuban Percussion * Mexican Folk Dance * Visual Arts Workshops celebrating Hispanic and Latin Artists

For More Information or bookings, please contact:
Gloria Page, Manager of Performances 
201-567-1766 ext. 120

AH Welcomes Marion Ahamat to Our Team!

Arts Horizons is pleased to welcome Ms. Marion Ahamat to the team as our new Program Assistant. Based in Englewood, NJ, she brings her extensive background in office administration and business development along with her keen interest in supporting arts education and cultural endeavors. She has also has a background in Immigration Law and has worked closely with immigrant populations for a number of years. In her own words, she is an avid painter and loves “to visit as many cultural institutions whenever possible.” She firmly believes in self-improvement of the mind and body through the arts, yoga, and cultural awareness.

Initially, Marion joined Arts Horizons as a volunteer, and in just a few short months, she has proven to be an invaluable addition to our Englewood office. Whether it is assisting Kiran Rajagopalan (Director of New York Programs) with an emergency teaching artist supply run, creating comprehensive spreadsheets, or conducting site visits, Marion does it all with a smile! As Program Assistant, she is a liaison between the AH administrative team in Englewood and our teaching artists and partners in New York and New Jersey.

Marion Ahamat
Program Assistant
201-567-1766 ext. 105 (NJ)
212-268-7219 ext. 105 (NY)

National Arts-In-Education Week 2021

Arts Horizons Celebrates National Arts-In-Education Week Starting Monday, September 13, 2021. The pandemic may continue to shift us into a new normal, but arts education is here to stay! We thank all of our teaching artists, students, families, teachers, funders, schools and community partners and wish you the best in the new year ahead.

#BecauseofArtsEd, Arts Horizons is determined to move with urgency to bring arts and creativity into our virtual and onsite classrooms and to ensure that professional artists reach the next generation of creative leaders for social change and innovation. Arts Horizons forges into our 43rd 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.

#artshorizons #artsedweek #teachingartists #artsareessential #supportlocalartists #artsednow

Summer Spotlight: VSA-VAD at PS 396K

What a busy summer it has been for us at Arts Horizons! And what an incredible season it has been for arts education! In this special edition of Spotlight, we are pleased to highlight and recognize our virtual and in-person arts education programs under contract with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Department of VSA and Accessibility. During the past academic year and this summer, Arts Horizons has been contracted for 5 visual arts residencies at District 75 and Hospital schools in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx through the VSA Children’s Visual Arts Discovery program (VSA-VAD) for students with special needs. Our residencies fulfilled VSA-VAD’s aim “to build students’ skills through the application of sound pedagogical principals and quality curricula to create original words of visual art and the opportunity to explore one more visual arts media and genres.” Through VSA-VAD, Arts Horizons provided approximately 6 hours of instruction per student at each of the schools below: 

  1. PS X811 – Virtual Storytelling & Puppet-making with Miss Navida
  2. Hospital Schools – Virtual Cartooning with Mr. N. Steven Harris*
  3. Hospital Schools – Virtual Visual Arts with Mr. Mansa Mussa*
  4. PS 188X @ PS 34X – Virtual Visual Arts with Mr. Mansa Mussa
  5. PS 396K – In-Person Visual Arts with Mr. Mansa Mussa

* Virtual Hospital School Programs served students in 5 sites:  Kings County Hospital, Brookdale University Medical Center, Richmond University Medical Center, Bronx-Lebanon Fulton Medical Center, and Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital.

We would like to first thank these incredible teaching artists for their resilience, resourcefulness, and expertise to successfully conduct virtual and in-person visual arts residencies during these difficult times. We would also like to thank the administrators, faculty, staff, and support staff for their adaptability and unconditional support in ensuring that all our programs through VSA-VAD proceeded as smoothly as possible. We can only continue our mission of providing equitable opportunities in the arts to people of all ages and abilities with our amazing teaching artists and partners.

Let’s take a quick peek at Mr. Mansa Mussa’s recently concluded in-person visual arts summer program at our new partner PS 396K. Mansa is a New Jersey-based visual and performing artist, educator, and consultant who has been a vital part of the Arts Horizons community for over 20 years. He brings to Arts Horizons and PS 396K his extensive experience working with special populations through a variety of artistic mediums including:  collage, mask-making, iPadology/digital art, and bookmaking.

Students and staff at PS 396K created 3 different projects over the course of the 6-week program. For the first project, Scratch Art Drawings, participants utilized a wooden stylus to scratch off black wax coating on a 3.5-inch square to reveal a colorful surprise underneath the carved geometric patterns. The second project was the Healing Hands Collage, one of Mansa’s most beloved lessons. As the name suggests, participants created a collage piece with glue and paper using cutouts of their palm prints and portraits which were then decorated with geometric shapes, text, and stickers. The final project, Book Arts Workshop, combined all of the techniques that participants had studied throughout the residency into a handmade accordion book.

It was a wonderful surprise for Kiran Rajagopalan, AH’s Director of New York Programs, to discover that the PS 396K team had organized a Virtual Art Show as a culminating event. PS 396K teacher Ms. Raquel created a beautiful video presentation of student artwork and behind-the-scenes pictures. We would like to close with a special thank you to Ms. Rachel McCaulsky for being such a great teacher and liaison along with the greater PS 396K community for being welcoming us into your school. Stay tuned for more spotlights with our incredible teaching artists and partners. Have a great rest of the summer and a relaxing Labor Day Weekend!


Kiran Rajagopalan
Director of New York Programs
201-567-1766 ext. 113

Summer Arts in Swing in New Jersey

The New Jersey department had a full summer with programs in Newark, Palisades Park, and Union City. We continued our relationship with the Newark Board of Education (NBOE) SummerPlus program. Since the inception of the summer program in 2013, Arts Horizons (AH) has served as one of the community partners by bringing art enrichment programming to Newark public school students in K-7th grades. Taught by our talented Teaching Artists, we offer a variety of workshops in visual arts, music, dance, and theater. This summer was no different. After last summer’s completely virtual format, we took what we learned from that experience and were able to bring a more fulfilling experience for those classes that continued a virtual format. There were a couple of workshops that were in-person, but most of them were virtual.

NBOE SummerPlus gives students access to creative and engaging summer learning programs that increase college and career readiness, narrow the achievement gap, promote attendance and engagement, involve families as partners, and encourage health and fitness. The overall goal is to make summer learning an essential strategy for improving student outcomes.  

This goal is accomplished through the NBOE SummerPlus model, which emphasizes a blended approach of academic learning, youth development, and enrichment activities through teaching that relies more heavily on interactive, hands-on projects for all students. In addition, the program design ensures the seamless integration of students in all activities and experiences.

We are pleased to be amongst the team of arts partners to provide meaningful arts enrichment to bring positive impacts for Newark Youth.  Through our years of experience and knowledge of working with all students and situations, we have assisted NBOE SummerPlus in achieving its goal. This year, in partnership with the ELT managers and AH teaching artists, we offered close to 30 workshops throughout five Newark public schools – Elliott Street School, Rafael Hernandez Elementary School, Belmont Runyon School, Mount Vernon School, and Wilson Avenue School. Teaching Artists included Michele Baldwin, who taught Wearable Art, Mask Making, Improv, Vision Boards, and Recycle Me Art, Will Simon taught Composing & Recording, Lady Rose led her Sing – Rap and Read workshop, and Jahlil Shabazz conducted Hip Hop Dance Machine and African Drumming.

In addition to Newark, we also provided more than 80 one-hour workshops to two schools in Palisades Park – the Charles R. Smith Early Childhood Center and Lindbergh Elementary School, and several workshops to Colin Powell Elementary School and George Washington School in Union City.  Thank you to our artists, partners and students for an educational, creative and active summer in the arts!

For more information , please contact Stephanie E. Bostic:

Stephanie E. Bostic

Program Manager of NJ Programs

201-567-1766 * 114

A Celebration of Migration & Diversity in 243Q’s Outdoor Mural

Another Arts Horizons mural is now unveiled at the Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights. This in-person outdoor mural program was part of a special grant award for NYC Summer Rising 2021 made possible by the New York City Artist Corps. Ms. Natalie Alleyne, Lead Muralist, and assistant Lucas Cravo worked specifically with the high school art students onsite to provide meaningful opportunities for artmaking that had been challenging with virtual learning during the pandemic.

Students began with initial visual arts workshops to design individual murals while learning methods for mural design, painting, and scaling work. During the group design process, the team of artists and students had decided on a theme of migration. This theme was picked to reflect the diversity of the neighborhood which is home to many cultures, which is represented vividly by the flags of the many nations. The shadows of the people on the bottom are showing their celebration of “Unity in the Community.” Students, staff, and our teaching artists reflected on why most people migrate and discovered that it is because people search for a better life with wealth and prosperity. The adinkra symbol, Nserewa (which stands for wealth and prosperity), and the cowry shells on the sides echo this idea.  Students participated in several re-designs to help incorporate the input of voices and ideas from other students and the greater school community. 

Thank you to Mr. Gareth Robinson, Founding Principal and Mr. Ryan Armstrong, Art Teacher and Art Education Liaison for welcoming Arts Horizons into your school community.  We are thrilled to see the final mural greet students and community members of Cambria Heights.

About the Artist:

Ms. Natalie Alleyne is a professional artist and an experienced educator who graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan in 1980.  She moved to St. Martin after a post-graduation vacation, and there she discovered new artistic inspiration in the sights, sounds, and people of the island. “The island life, the colors, the texture, it very much resounds in my work,” says Alleyne.  Her work has transpired from figurative form using light and color, to a more textured, abstract pattern. Although figures still play an integral part in her painting, they are used as a vehicle to express emotions. Lines, shapes and texture convey the inner workings of the soul.

For more information , please contact Kiran Rajagopalan:

Kiran Rajagopalan
Director of New York Programs 
201-567-1766 ext. 113

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