After a busy and fruitful school year, Arts Horizons plunged straight into our summer arts education programs in Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island. 10 AH teaching artists conducted five to six week-long residencies at various sites administered by the following community-based organizations: Moshulu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC), Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC), and United Activities Unlimited (UAU). We are pleased to recognize our longstanding partnerships with MMCC and UAU, and we are eager to continue deepening our new partnership with CPNYC. All three organizations have been doing exceptional work to provide spaces that foster educational, recreational, counseling, and/or social programs for children and young adults in New York City’s outer boroughs. After school and summer programming offered by these organizations are 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.
At 7 MMCC Cornerstone sites, our teaching artists provided an eclectic offering of engaging programming to elementary and middle school children ranging from Afro-Caribbean Dance with Silvana Marquina to Percussion with Larry Washington, Jewelry-Making with Ken Fury, Jazz Vocal with Pamela Hamilton, and Visual Arts with Natalie Alleyne, Yako Prodis, and Mansa Mussa. AH teaching artist Ibrahima Camara had a very busy summer as he conducted African dance and drumming residencies for all three organizations!
AH Program Coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan had the opportunity to visit two music residencies this summer – Grace Galu’s songwriting program for MMCC at Fort Independence Community Center in Bronx and D. Cross’s beatboxing program for CPNYC in Brooklyn. Let’s take a quick peek into their classes!
Noted soul vocalist and vocal coach Grace Galu is a new teaching artist for Arts Horizons. Students in her songwriting classes learned all about using figurative language, counting syllables, and crafting narratives. She opened up her classes with a fun icebreaker, “Jump In, Jump Out,” in which students introduce and identify themselves to the class as a “singer/dancer/gamer/etc. for the rest of their lives!” Once they were energized, Grace asked them to name their favorite food or activity – the first class eventually chose ice cream and the second class chose dance. Together, students created short, poetic phrases with adjectives to describe how ice cream and dance made them feel, and these lines were compiled into a short stanza and chorus. Grace then brought out her guitar and sung her students’ songs acapella!
Kiran’s second stop was at CPNYC in Brooklyn to attend a beatboxing class by longtime AH teaching artist and multidisciplinary artist D. Cross. CPNYC specializes in enrichment programing for children of incarcerated parents to “empower them to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system.” The focus of D. Cross’s residency was to introduce students to the basic elements of vocal percussion and music production through the creation of beats for songs. D. Cross assembled the students in a Hip-Hop cypher to facilitate improvisation and conversation through music. Students took turns beatboxing, improvising lyrics, or adding other sounds, and D. Cross layered their vocals into a cohesive beat with the help of a splicer machine!
Arts Horizons was thrilled to see such active participation in the arts at MMCC, UAU, and CPNYC, 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, Ms. Monique Newton, and Ms. Gizzelle Lopez along with all of the site directors and staff for welcoming us into their programs. We are excited to continue our collaborative work with these amazing organizations for the next academic year.
For more information, please contact: Dena Malarek – Director, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*108; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kiran Rajagopalan – Program Coordinator, NYC Residencies & Special Populations (212-268-7219*113; email@example.com)
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