Category Archives: Art Beat

Spotlight: Summer Programs at MMCC Cornerstones

Arts Horizons is pleased to recognize our ongoing partnership with Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) and to highlight our summer arts education programs at 8 of their Cornerstone sites. 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 10 AH Teaching Artists provided such an eclectic offering of engaging summer programming to elementary and middle school children at various community centers in Manhattan and the Bronx. Larry WashingtonIbrahima Camara, and Yako Prodis conducted lively percussion and music residencies at Grant and Boston Secor Cornerstones. Aaron Lazansky, Natalie Alleyne, and D. Cross taught visual arts at Pelham Parkway, Edenwald, and Parkside Cornerstones. Dawn Crandell, Dean Maitland, Ken Fury, and Silvana Marquina conducted dance and movement residencies at Fort Independence, Marble Hill, and Gun Hill Cornerstones.

AH Program Coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan had the opportunity to visit the community centers in Fort Independence, Marble Hill, Edenwald, and Boston Secor to see Dean, Ken, Ibrahima, and Natalie in action. Let’s take a quick peek into their classes!

Dean Maitland is a versatile dancer and choreographer from Grenada, and he is the founder of Arts-in-Motion (A.I.M.) in Brooklyn. His highly informative dance residency at Fort Independence introduced students to various styles of dance including: West African, Afro-Caribbean, Hip Hop, Ballet, and Jazz. Dean then combined various basic movements from each dance style into a scintillating routine that students enthusiastically practiced for nearly 90 minutes!

Dean Maitland leading his class through a warm-up at Fort Independence Cornerstone

Noted break dancer, visual artist, and jewelry designer Ken Fury (founder of the Breaking Institute of the Arts) conducted a dance residency at Marble Hill which focused on the BBoying aspect of Hip Hop dance. Students learned some of the basic break dance freezes and footwork, and they choreographed a small sequence of movements to be incorporated into a final dance. Ken even asked Kiran to demonstrate and teach the students a few basic steps from Indian classical dance!

Ken coaching a student on a pose for a photograph at Marble Hill Cornerstone

An experienced teaching artist and a prolific painter, Natalie Alleyne had students create their own customized t-shirts for her visual arts residency at Edenwald Cornerstone. Students first handpainted their own designs onto blank, white T-shirts using fabric paint. On the last day of the residency, students learned how to tie-dye their painted t-shirts. Natalie shared useful tips such as adding salt in order to help the fabric take the dye along with different ways to fold up the t-shirts to create different patterns.

Natalie Alleyne assisting a student with the tie-dying process at Edenwald Cornerstone

Ibrahima Camara, a master West African drummer, singer, and dancer from Guinea, taught percussion to students at Boston Secor Cornerstone. Ibrahima had his students sit in a large drum circle, and he used a traditional call-and-response method to teach students how to tap four basic sounds on bright blue Loew’s buckets using wooden drumsticks. Enrollment in Ibrahima’s class had unexpectedly increased so much from the first class that there were not enough drumsticks to go around. However, students graciously shared the drumsticks with each other so that everyone had a chance to play along!

Ibrahima demonstrating a rhythm pattern to students at Boston Secor Cornerstone

Arts Horizons is thrilled to see such active participation in the arts at these MMCC Cornerstone sites, 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 and all of the Cornerstone site directors and staff for welcoming us into their programs. We are excited to continue our collaborative work with this amazing organization for the next academic year.

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Ronald McDonald Brings the Beat to Hospital Schools

Arts Horizons is pleased to highlight and recognize the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities of NYC Tri-State Area in bolstering our Art Beat program for this fiscal year through a generous grant. Art Beat is partnership between Arts Horizons and Hospital Schools, a division of the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) that provides educational services for all special education students who are hospitalized for extended stays.  Art Beat provides interactive music and visual art workshops to promote rehabilitation, learning and cultural experiences for special needs students in an arts-rich, safe, creative, and emotionally uplifting environment.

The program merges the fields of art, healthcare, and academics, to create a space of comprehensive education, healing and expression for special needs students with extended, and in some cases residential, hospital stays. This collaborative effort was established in 2009 and has since been integrated into more than a dozen of the NYCDOE’s hospital school locations. Arts Horizons’ aim to expanding our arts education offerings to hospitals through Art Beat aligns well with Ronald McDonald House Charities of NYC Tri-State Area’s mission to “help as many children as possible achieve their fullest potential by supporting programs in education and the arts.” Arts Horizons is grateful for Ronald McDonald House Charities of NYC Tri-State Area’s generous support, and we look forward to nurturing and sustaining this fruitful partnership for years to come.

Our 2017 Hospital Schools programs supported by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of NYC Tri-State Area take place at four hospital sites. Mr. Yah’aya Kamate leads percussion programs at Metropolitan Hospital Center and Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital Center. Mr. Shidaun Campbell leads students in Beatboxing and Dance at Bronx Lebanon Hospital – Fulton Center, and Ms. Tira Bluestone presents music programs to students Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehabilitation Center (part of Westchester BOCES). AH Program Coordinator, Kiran Rajagopalan, had the opportunity to see students play pulsating African rhythms on djembe drums at Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital Center with Yah’aya. He also saw students use their own bodies as percussion with Shidaun at Bronx Lebanon Hospital – Fulton Center. Let’s take a quick peek into their Art Beat classes!

A dancer, instructor, choreographer, masquerade artist, and fire-eater from Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, Yah’aya Kamate is a dynamic performer and a longtime teaching artist with Arts Horizons. For his classes at Metropolitan Hospital Center and Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital Center, he arranged students in a drum circle and taught them some basic hand movements and sound patterns on djeme drums from West Africa. Yah’aya used a variety creative methods for engaging students to play for long periods of time including:  handclapping, numbers signifying where to hit on the drum (“1 2 2 1”), and a carefully constructed sentence embedded with a rhythm to be played (“We walk the big dog now”). Oscar Riquelme, site coordinator at Metropolitan Hospital Center, stated that Yah’aya was an “outstanding residency choice…and an amazing teacher,” and that “the kids were in rhythmic heaven!”

Yah’aya leading students in a drum circle at Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital Center

Shidaun Campbell is a sought-after dancer (Hip Hop, modern, jazz, and African), spoken word artist, and published author who formally joined Arts Horizons roster of teaching artists this year. His sessions at Bronx Lebanon Hospital – Fulton Center focused on beatboxing and elements of Hip Hop dance. The first part of his class began with a simple breakdown of the fundamental sounds in vocal percussion:  “Everyone say ‘base!’ Say ‘ba!’ Say ‘b!’ Now say ‘pbf!’“ This exercise was followed by a “beatbox cipher” in which students gather in a circle and add a single word or sound to a rhythmic pattern in a round-Robin manner. Finally, students learned “tutting,” a basic move in Hip Hop dance directly inspired by the reliefs in Ancient Egyptian art. Gym teacher Eric Gentry noted that it was a pleasure to work with Shidaun because he made sure to “showcase his expertise in dance” so that students “could understand what they can possibly practice into with hard work.”

Shidaun teaching “tutting” to students in his Beatboxing & Hip Hop dance residency at Bronx Lebanon Hospital – Fulton Center

For more information please contact Mr. Kiran Rajagopalan, Program Coordinator at kiran@artshorizons.org or Ms. Dena Malarek, Program Director at dena@artshorizons.org.

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