Category Archives: NYC Department of Education
Born and raised in Taiwan, Chris Lin is a Queens-based visual artist with over 25 years of teaching experience. He has worked with students of all age groups, newly immigrated Chinese ELL students, and senior citizens. Since 2010, he has been an instructor at the Leroy Neiman Art Center (LNAC). Last month, Chris concluded a series of highly successful Saturday morning visual arts workshops as part of an ESL program for parents and families of elementary school students enrolled at PS 46 in the Bronx. This program was possible through NYCDOE’s “Arts and Family Engagement” grant.
This semester, Arts Horizons is pleased to offer the students of PS 46 a wide variety of arts education programs from AH teaching artists Navida Stein (storytelling), Larry Washington (percussion), Suzi Myers (world dance), Silvana Marquina (dance), and Andy Algire (recorder). We are especially grateful for Principal Jennifer Ade-Alexander, Assistant Principal Roxanna Bello-Sullivan, Assistant Principal Mary Champagne, and all of the faculty for their continued support over the years. We are also eager to continue providing an average of 215 students with music, dance, and theater programming with an average of 10 contact hours per student.
AH Program Coordinator, Kiran Rajagopalan, visited one of Chris’s Saturday morning workshops at PS 46 earlier in February. Let’s take a quick peek!
The primary focus of Chris’s residency was on sculptural traditions from around the world. Over five Saturdays, participants created vejigante masks from Puerto Rico, pottery with Mexican motifs, sculptural pop-up books, and animal sculptures commemorating Chinese New Year. The range of materials that participants worked with included: clay, colored cardstock, glitter, and tempera paints. Chris began each session with a brief 10-minute lecture in English on an artistic discipline and introduced specific vocabulary words. Cindy Cabral (ESL teacher) and Karen Ramirez (site coordinator and librarian) then translated his lecture and instructions into Spanish to ensure that communication to all participants was clear. The residency concluded with a formal exhibition of the artwork displayed in PS 46’s state-of-the-art library and an informal reception for the participants and their invited guests.
Parents busy at work painting their pottery at PS 46.
Feedback from both Karen and the participants has been extremely positive for Chris’s residency. Karen commented that he received “rave reviews” from parents and students, and his workshop “is the best they’ve ever had.” She also revealed that participation started off very small during the first session, but enrollment quickly grew to more than 20 regular participants due to positive word-of-mouth. One parent even went home in the middle of one session to pick up her child to participate in the workshop! Both Chris and Karen are eager to do another family workshop at PS 46, and hopefully this time they can enroll more fathers!
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Brooklyn-based visual artist and educator Judy Richardson is currently conducting an AH in-school residency for 3rd and 5th graders at PS 279 in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn. Associated with AH since 2006, Judy is an experienced teaching artist who has skillfully used a variety of visual art mediums to enrich students, teachers, and administrators at over 25 sites.
Judy and Donovan Nelson, another AH teaching artist, are currently engaged in residencies as part of a year-long arts education program at PS 279. This school is a longtime and regular partner of AH, and this program was started last year with Judy and Donovan. Due to the overwhelming success of their residencies, PS 279’s administration decided to continue the full-year arts curriculum with both AH teaching artists to reach grades K-5.
AH’s new program coordinator, Kiran Rajagopalan, visited one of Judy’s classes earlier in January at PS 279. Let’s take a quick peek inside one of her classes!
Students at work making their dolls
Judy’s AH residency closely aligned with what the students are currently studying in American History. In the picture above, Judy is working with the 3rd graders on making dolls in the likeness of three “Heroines in History” – Rosa Parks, Clara Lemlich, and Betsy Dowdy. Students are taught the basics of sewing including how to properly thread a needle and knot the string to begin or end a series of stitches. They are then given yarn, sequins, cloth scraps, and other materials in which to decorate their dolls. One student commented on how she was “nervous at first to sew because” she was “afraid of needles.” However, with Judy’s guidance, she overcame her fear and is now “much more confident” with sewing.
Likewise, Judy’s 5th grade classes are working on creating a large Freedom Quilt using coded patterns created from the Underground Railroad. Students learn the basics of quilting and then create their own quilt squares with hidden messages! These squares will then be stitched together into a larger class quilt.
Sample of a quilt patch made by a 5th grader
Judy’s AH residency will culminate with a wonderful exhibition of the amazing work done by students throughout the spring semester. The 3rd graders, in particular, will introduce their characters during a puppet show interview.
NEXT SPOTLIGHT: Vickie Fremont’s AH residency at PS 85X in partnership with Fordham University
Elizabeth Halverstam, Arts Horizons Executive Director, and Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Populations, were pleased to attend an open breakfast with NYC DOE Schools’ Chancellor Carmen Fariña. The event was held on the morning of March 4th in the Peter Jay Sharp Room of the New York Historical Society for a conversation about the importance our City’s cultural institutions and arts organizations to public education. As a member of the NYC arts-in-education community, Arts Horizons is excited to see the personal commitment of the new chancellor to provide arts experiences rich with culture, opportunity and learning for the youth, educators and families of NYC.
Public Advocate Letitia James and Dr. Sharon Dunn, Vice President for Education at the New-York Historical Society introduced the newly appointed chancellor to a room of Museum Educators, Public Educators, and Arts Organizations. In Dr. Dunn’s years of service with the DOE, Ms. Farina is the first to request and meet with the faces of cultural arts in the city on the agenda of the arts. Ms. Farina spoke heartedly of her commitment to the arts while professing an embarrassment that we are the only county to know so little about our own art history. Meanwhile, NYC institutions hold the ability for students to travel and gain experiential background.
Chancellor Fariña announced Middle School students as a targeted priority, stating research of 7th grade retention affecting a student’s graduation rate: 9th and 10th grade are too late. She wants to direct priority back to American History using cultural institutions to provide experiential learning in addition to text book learning. Her proposal to organize Teen Thursdays would open up the doors of museum and cultural institutions from 4:00 – 6:00 pm on Thursdays for students to access learning and culture. Further using cultural institutions for teacher professional development allows teachers to build content area expertise. A proposed reintroduction of the ‘Culture Pass’ for principals and administrators will allow free access to cultural institutions, instilling personal interests to translate for their students and constituents. Inclusion families will be a priority, making special note that we must make the invitation and experience accessible by offering programs in various languages.
Chancellor Fariña promoted the expansion of after school programs under Mayor Bill de Blasio and declared that the arts will be listed as one of the required elements. The RFP’s for afterschool are being developed. She spoke energetically about the role of the arts to support common core curriculum, art literacy and wants to see more technology related to the arts.
For more information contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Programs and Special Populations at Arts Horizons