Author Archives: Arts Horizons

Spotlight: Growing Up Great with AH Early Childhood Programs

Summer is in full swing now, and Arts Horizons is as busy as ever with the launch of our summer arts programs. We also wrapped up an extremely rewarding and productive academic year of arts education residencies with many old and new partners! Over the next month, we will be spotlighting some our grant-funded programs and early childhood programs. We kick off this series with our early childhood programs at Union Settlement and New York Public Library (NYPL) funded by PNC Bank Foundation’s Grow Up Great initiative. Started in 2004, Grow Up Great is a bilingual initiative to prepare children, particularly underserved children, from birth to age five for success in school and life. To commemorate its 15th year, PNC has invested an additional $150 million to extend the program! We are grateful for this generous grant as it has enabled us to expand our partnerships with both organizations through five early childhood theater and dance residencies at various sites in Manhattan with AH Teaching Artists Lady Rose, Navida Stein, Pat Russell, and Irene Koloseus! They include:

Lady Rose @ Countee Cullen Library (Storytelling)
Navida Stein @ Macombs Bridge & Harlem Libraries (Storytelling)

Pat Russell @ Union Washington Early Childhood Center (Circus Arts)
Irene Koloseus @ Union Johnson Early Childhood Center (Creative Movement)

Storytelling, Circus Arts, and Creative Movement are all integral components of our comprehensive arts education programs for early childhood. These highly interactive artist residencies are curriculum and standards-based to help our youngest students develop skills to participate in the arts, bolster arts literacy and creativity, and improve concentration and coordination. In addition, these programs help facilitate critical thinking skills by introducing students to the historical, social, and cultural aspects of the performing arts. The two storytelling residencies at NYPL focused on boosting literacy through interactive reading integrated with creative movement and music. Pat and Irene’s residencies at Union Settlement used techniques from dance, clowning, and theater to bolster overall motor coordination and concentration skills.

RittaBookEditedLady Rose sings & reads the ABCs at Countee Cullen Library!

Kiran recently visited Lady Rose’s storytelling program at Countee Cullen Library in Harlem. Cynthia “Lady Rose” Roberson is an accomplished singer/songwriter, published author, and a certified library media specialist for grades K-12 based in New Jersey. She introduced children to the “magic of the library” through RITTA BOOK® (Reaching Imaginations Today Tomorrow & Always with Breathtaking Objects Of Knowledge) – a novel literacy concept, mascot, and book she has created. Let’s take a quick look at her story hour!

A diverse and tightknit group of approximately 15 young children with their parents and guardians assembled on a colorful rug to participate in a high-energy and music-filled hour of storytelling with Lady Rose. A large, colorful poster with the story hour’s official mascot, a young girl named Ritta Book, served as the perfect backdrop. Lady Rose even had an adorable Ritta Book doll which captivated many of her young audience members. She began with a reading of her own book, A Journey from A to Z, which introduced many of the important features of public libraries. The highlight was her interactive reading of Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman with illustrations by Andy Elkerton.

Arts Horizons would like to thank Sue Zeigler (Children’s Librarian), and all of the staff at Countee Cullen for their incredible support and for so warmly welcoming us into their library. We would also like to express our gratitude to Karen Ayala, Shadaesha Alexander, and the staff at Union Settlement for helping our teaching artists conduct seamless residencies at Union Washington and Union Johnson. We hope to continue to grow these partnerships for years to come!

It is never too early to start planning for next year with Arts Horizons! We offer high-quality arts education programs for a wide range of age groups ranging from early childhood to senior citizens and in a variety of artistic mediums including:  Visual Arts, Dance, Theater, Music, and New Media Technology. For further information, please contact Dena Malarek or Kiran Rajagopalan.

Arts Horizons
Department of NYC Residencies & Special Populations

Dena Malarek, 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


Spotlight: Arts for ELL+SWD @ JHS 143M

We are thrilled that spring is finally here, but the warm weather and incredible beauty of blossoming trees and flowers are constant reminders that the end of the school year is just around the corner! Before we close out this year, we will be spotlighting some of our spring arts education residencies conducted by our amazing teaching artists. We start with a theater residency at JHS 143M in Manhattan, our new partner school through the NYC DOE’s Arts for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities (ELL+SWD) grant. A list of all of our “Arts for ELL+SWD” partner schools for this academic year can be found here.

Theater is an integral part of our comprehensive arts education programs for literacy development and socio-emotional growth. Our theater residencies emphasize story development, role playing, and character development to bolster literacy and specialized goals in socialization and communication. In addition, they address topics of relevance through improvisation, role playing, stage presence, and character building.

A multifaceted performing artist specializing in theater, burlesque, and dance, AH teaching artist Dawn Crandell has just finished a robust theater residency for middle school students at JHS 143M. Earlier in January, AH program coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan visited Dawn’s highly engaging classes. Let’s take a quick peek!

DawnCrandell143Students participating in a small skit about sadness

Dawn carefully selected a few well-known theater icebreakers, group exercises, and skit scenarios that enabled students of all backgrounds to participate and worked well with each class’s interests. The final performance comprised of activities which classes had favored or excelled at throughout the residency. For example, Dawn’s first class responded very favorably to the classic elimination game “Zip, Zap, Zop.” This theater exercise is designed to sharpen student’s listening skills by having each student call out either “zip,” “zap,” or “zop” in rapid fire succession. On the other hand, Dawn’s second class was particularly responsive to the more physically demanding “Pirate Ship” activity. Students had to quickly “walk the plank,” “jump over logs,” “duck under the sail,” and “create waves” in response to different hand and body movement cues performed by Dawn.

DawnCrandellZZZThe circle shrinks in Zip! Zap! Zop!

We would like to thank Ms. Patricia Gil (Assistant Principal) and all of the faculty and staff at JHS 143M for their incredible support and for so warmly welcoming us into their programs. We hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership for years to come! Stay tuned for the next spotlight on our early childhood arts programs…

It is never too early to start planning for next year with Arts Horizons! Applications for next year’s Arts for ELL+SWD and Arts for Family Engagement grants are expected to open soon with an anticipated deadline in early June. For further information on applying with Arts Horizons as a partner, please contact Dena Malarek or Kiran Rajagopalan.

Arts Horizons
Department of NYC Residencies & Special Populations

Dena Malarek, 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

Wincey Terry in New Milford for Black History Month

Wincey TerryBryant, professional narrator and singer is a native of Newark, NJ. Wincey has been an Arts Horizons teaching artist since 2006. This versatile artist has an extensive repertoire. Offerings include arts-integration professional development training for teachers, and also performances in Black History, Women’s History, Latin Heritage, Anti-Bullying, Character Education, and many other educational programs that align with the National Core to teach the regular school curriculum through live musical stage plays, dance, and dramatic storytelling.


Wincey is the executive director of Winceyco, a performing arts troupe that combines education with entertainment. Wincey has worked throughout the music and film business with such industry giants as Spike Lee, Bill Cosby, Sting, and Tina Turner. Terry’s television credits include Soul Train, Arsenio Hall, and David Letterman. Her voice can be heard on Sesame Street, Grover Washington Jr’s live cd, Monie Love’s hit single “Its A Shame”, and Cosby show commercials. Wincey is the author of 3 children’s CD book sets on bullying, character, and safety, as well as a cartoon DVD on African American history.

For more information or booking please contact Gloria Page at 201-567-1766 x 120 or gloria @


NYC DOE Arts for ELL & SWD Partnerships (2018-2019)

Arts Horizons is pleased to announce that we commenced our 40th year in arts education as the lead partner with 12 schools in all five boroughs under the NYC DOE Arts Partnership Grants. This will be our fifth season participating in the initiatives for “Arts for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities” and the “Arts for Family Engagement” grants.

We congratulate each of our school partners listed below and look forward to providing quality arts programs with our collaborating educators, staff, and students throughout the school year.

K616 – Academy of Innovative Technology
JHS 226Q  – Virgil I. Grissom School
PS 94X – Kings College School
Q670 – Robert F. Kennedy High School
CIS 303X – The Leadership & Community Service Academy
PS 109X – Sedgwick School
PS 188X @ PS 34X
JHS 131X – Albert Einstein School
JHS 143M – Eleanor Roosevelt School
K507 – Performing Arts & Technical High School
PS 30R – Westerleigh School

K458 – Brooklyn School for Music & Theater

It is never too early to start planning for next year with Arts Horizons! Applications for next year’s Arts for ELL+SWD and Arts for Family Engagement grants are expected to open soon with an anticipated deadline in early June. For further information on applying with Arts Horizons as a partner, please contact Dena Malarek or Kiran Rajagopalan.

Department of NYC Residencies & Special Populations

Dena Malarek, 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

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…

img_4377Scene:  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!

Arts Horizons presents The Redhawk Native American Arts Council

Arts Horizons presented The Redhawk Native American Arts Council at Davison Avenue Intermediate School in Malverne, Long Island on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.  The Live assembly performance presented dances of indigenous cultures to share the rich history and culture of Native Americans with a goal of breaking stereotypes.

A live video interview and performance highlight were featured in Newsday Magazine online and can be viewed here: “Redhawk Native American Dancers perform for LI students.”

fullscreen capture 172019 30849 pm.bmp

We were pleased to receive feedback from Assistant Principal, Stephen J. Benfante to, “express my sincere appreciation for all the great programs you helped bring to our school. For several years, you have helped us organize interactive and educationally enriching assemblies for our students. Your artists are not only very talented, but they are always prompt, professional and, most of all, relate well with children. ”

Arts Horizons’ Live Performance Assemblies are interactive and educational experiences for your school or community center that may include character education, anti-bullying, cultural awareness, dance, music and storytelling.  For more information, contact Gloria, Program Manager of Performances at Gloria @ , 1201-567-1766 X 120.



Arts in Atlanta: AH @ VSA Intersections

Is it fall already? Time really flew by as Arts Horizons was fully engrossed in preparing for our 40th anniversary celebrations, running our summer programs, drafting proposals for our school year programs, and attending national conferences! In fact, AH program coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan was in Atlanta in August for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ annual VSA Interactions:  Arts and Special Education Conference. This conference brought together “professionals in the intersecting fields of arts education and special education” from all over the United States, and it fostered opportunities “to share current information in research, practice, programs, and policy” over two days of plenary sessions, rapid-fire presentations, professional development classes, and hands-on workshops.

One of Kiran’s favorite presentations was a quick, 15-minute talk on the role of peer partners in art inclusion programs for public schools. Presenters Jonathan Hale and Kelby McIntyre-Martinez provided evidence-based research, conducted on students at Sprucewood Elementary and Jordan Valley schools in Utah, for optimizing socialization between typically and non-typically developing students through “cluster units” in integrated visual art classes. A unit consisted of 1-2 peer partners and 1-2 other typically developing students from Sprucewood seated alongside 2 non-typically developing students from Jordan Valley at a table. They are eager to expand their research into developing similar “cluster units” for integrated performing arts classes.

Jonathan Hale and Kelby McIntyre-Martinez present a schematic showing “cluster units” in an integrated classroom

Samantha Davis’s practical workshop on positive behavior supports and other classroom management tactics was equally illuminating. The core of her approach to successfully managing disruptive students, especially those with emotional and behavioral disorders, lies in her innovative adaptation of Polsky’s Diamond in the classroom. This social psychology model was originally developed in 1962 by Dr. Howard W. Polsky to assess group dynamics and fluid social hierarchy among at-risk male youth. Ms. Davis discussed the various social types outlined in Polsky’s Diamond and how their unique behavioral traits appear in and inform classroom dynamics. She also stressed the importance of carefully observing shifts in student hierarchy and incentivizing certain productive behaviors to maintain firm control of the classroom.

Overall, VSA Intersections was seamlessly organized and executed, and almost all of the sessions offered were very well conceived and informative. Other highlights from the conference included a rousing keynote address by spoken word artist and poet LeDerick Horne along with energetic performances and touching testimonials by students from DeKalb School of the Arts in Georgia. There was a concerted effort by the Kennedy Center to be inclusive, and they were mostly successful in terms of discussing strategies to increase access to the arts for and engagement with many different special needs populations. It is important to note that a large percentage of this conference’s attendees do admirable work in low-income and/or urban areas around the country with predominantly Black and Latinx students. Therefore, it would be beneficial to devote several sessions in next year’s conference to discussing nuanced cross-cultural pedagogy for students of color with special needs.

Dekalb School of the Arts’ students performing a Broadway musical number

VSA Intersections was a fitting capstone to commemorate AH’s 4 incredible years of implementing arts education programs under contract with the Kennedy Center’s Department of VSA and Accessibility! For the past two consecutive years, Arts Horizons was contracted for 4 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. We are pleased to announce that we are contracted for 5 music and visual arts residencies through the VSA Arts Connects All – Workshop/Residency Program for the 2018-2019 school year:

  1. Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center (Upstate New York)
  2. Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center (Brooklyn)
  3. Hospital Schools @ Kings County Hospital (Brooklyn)
  4. Hospital Schools @ Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital (Manhattan)
  5. Ps 188X @ PS 34X (Bronx)

Stay tuned for next post in which we officially announce our Arts For ELL+SWD partner schools for the 2018-2019 academic year!

For more information, please contactDena Malarek – Director, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*108; or Kiran Rajagopalan – Program Coordinator, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*113;

%d bloggers like this: