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VSA-VAD: Visualizing & Realizing Artistic Potential in Students with Special Needs

Arts Horizons is pleased to highlight and recognize our arts education programs under contract with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Department of VSA and Accessibility. During this academic year, Arts Horizons has been 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 (VSA-VAD). The schools are:  PS 226M @ PS 76M (A. Philip Randolph) in Manhattan, PS 188X @ PS 34X in the Bronx, Queens Transition Center @ High School for Law Enforcement & Public Safety in Queens, and Hospital Schools @ Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

Through VSA-VAD, Arts Horizons provided approximately 8 hours of instruction per student at each of the schools listed above. 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.” They also aligned well with the Kennedy Center’s overarching theme for this year:  UBUNTU:  Yo Soy…Je suis…I am…Because you are. Ubuntu, which roughly translates to “humanity towards others” in the Nguni Bantu languages of Southern Africa, focuses on art’s unique ability to “create and sustain connections across race, culture, religion, and experience.” An added incentive for students was the opportunity to submit work to be showcased at the Kennedy Center’s “International Art Program for Children with Disabilities” live and online exhibitions in Washington D.C.

Longtime AH Teaching Artist Mr. Mansa Mussa and renowned Staten Island-based visual artist Ms. Sarah Yuster conducted successful and highly-regarded visual arts residencies this year. Mansa is a New Jersey-based visual and performing artist, educator, and consultant who recently celebrated his 20th year with Arts Horizons. Sarah is known for her paintings of urban landscapes and portraits as well as her “Small Truths” film project which documents the experiences of immigration through the eyes of children. AH Program Coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan had the opportunity to visit their classes and observe how they inspired students to showcase their creativity through compelling visual arts projects. Let’s take a quick peek into their classes!

We start with Sarah’s residency for Queens Transition Center at High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety. This District 75 school primarily serves high school students with Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) along with documented cases of violence and/or clinically diagnosed mental disorders. Visual art is effective among such students when it promotes creativity in a minimally triggering or volatile environment. Sarah was a nurturing, patient, and gentle instructor, and she was able to introduce her students to life drawing, action sketching, portraiture, and mixed media. According to Sarah, “once it became clear that [students] could delve into a personal endeavor of their choosing, many of them came in week after week to carefully attend a singular piece.” As a result, Sarah was able to submit several beautiful pieces for the Kennedy Center’s exhibition!

Mansa’s visual arts residency for District 75 elementary school PS 226M at PS 76M was devoted to collage-making. This artistic medium effectively showcases artistic creativity with easy-to-use materials such as stickers, stamps, gluesticks, and porous papers. Therefore, it is age-appropriate and safe for elementary school students with special needs and disabilities. Mansa is appreciated for his sensitive approach to teaching students in Hospital Schools and District 75 as well as his ability to pace classes without unnecessary wasting of time and/or art supplies. In this class, students spent the period adding an additional layer of 3-D objects made from grooved sticks and porous paper to their collages with the able assistance of teachers and paraprofessional educators. He even had students photograph their work using his iPad at the end of class!

Mansa also delivered visual arts residencies through VSA-VAD at PS 188X @ PS 34X and Hospital Schools @ Kings County Hospital. As one of our senior-most teaching artists, he will be representing Arts Horizons at the Kennedy Center’s VSA Interactions:  Arts and Special Education Conference in August!

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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.

Hip Hop History: Songwriting, Beatboxing and Graffiti Art with Mr. D. Cross

CD and hospital braceletThis marks the 4th year of Arts Horizons programs at Mt. Sinai Hospital (Manhattan)  in collaboration with NYC DOE Hospital Schools.  Music and Dance teaching artists visit the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient Services to deliver programs for each designated unit to provide educational, artistic and healing outlets for students in crisis with extended hospital stays.  This program is provided u
nder contract with VSA and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

 

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 Teaching Artist Mr. Derick Cross returns to provide a Hip Hop History program over 10 weeks where students had the opportunity to create music with their mouths (beatboxing), write various forms of poetry, and create Graffiti influenced art, and learn how to make improvised songs versus structured songs.

 

 Mr. Cross describes one of his student’s experiences:  “There was a young lady named Isabella.  I was told not to expect much participation from her. After conducting class vocal warm ups, I had asked the class if any of the participants would like volunteer to take lead in  leading the workshop exercises ,no one wanted to do it. Isabella said that she would do it. She was very successful in leading the warm up exercises. She was very active in the 2 sessions she participaHospitalSchools2ted in. She was also a big source of inspiration to other students.  Seeing Isabella open up triggered other students who were reluctant to share to be more open and “brave” (as one student had stated).”  Mr. Cross continues, “It was great to see the participants use of similes and metaphors in their poetry. I was surprised that sharing the humble New York origins of Hip Hop Culture would inspire the students to share their own personal stories through poetry.”

 

D.Cross Bio

Derick Cross aka D. Cross is a multi-dimensional artist and educator.  Cross is a Queens New York who has called Brooklyn home for over 15 years.  His visual artistry is created in a variety of media including acrylics, oils, & polymer clay. D.Cross’ work has been shown throughout the New York metropolitan area as well locations nationally (Atlanta)& internationally (Sweden& Brazil ) His work is part of the collections of Erykah Badu(Singer), Ed Lewis (Founder of Essence Communications), Ruby Dee (legendary actress) Judith Jamison (Alvin Ailey Director & Legendary Dancer &choreographer) and Bashiri Johnson (Michael Jackson Percussionist & music producer) among others.  As an Arts Educator Mr. Cross has worked with young people from ages 4-21 for the past 20 years .Organizations he has worked with include the NYC Department of Education, Community Works & Arts Horizons.  In 2007 DCross was presented with a proclamation from State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and honored as a notable artist of the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene area.  Derick Cross is currently a board member of The National conference of Artists ‘New York chapter. He is also art director of African Voices Magazine.

D.Cross the Artist on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DCrossTheArtist

 

For more information, contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Populations at dena@artshorizons.org

 

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Grant 2013-2014: Cheryl Walpole and Tira Bluestone bring art, creativity and healing

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“We are very grateful to Art Horizons to have been included in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Grant. I hope our kids can continue to receive this wonderful quality of life grant. It has definitely improved their quality of life here at Kingsbrook,” Says Guerline Nelson, classroom Teacher at P 721K Hospital school site at Kingsbrook Hospital.

Arts Horizons, one of the largest arts-in-education organizations in the New York/Metropolitan area, has been awarded a Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation 1st Cycle 2013 Quality of Life grant to support the Arts Horizons “Art Beat” program. We are pleased to partner with P 721K to provide music and visual arts programs for pediatric students at Kingsbrook Jewish Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn. Student’s here are undergoing extended hospital stays for severe acute care while some of the students are part of the chronic inpatient care for severe developmental and metabolic disorders.

Arts Horizons teaching artists work alongside educators and staff from P 721K, The Brooklyn Occupational Center, to provide continued education to support students individualized education plans while hospitalized. We partner to support the schools mission to enable young adults with developmental disabilities to realize their talents, strengths and capabilities in order to live and work in our community as independently as possible. Through the arts, we provide meaningful experiences for these students to express their capabilities and merge arts, education communication and healing at the hospital school site.

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Music instruction is provided by Ms. Tira Bluestone, who enters her sixth year working with the students of Kingsbrook Hospital.  Her ‘TiraTime’ collection merges original music, books, audio c-d’s and computer learning to provide a multi-sensory music experience for students with special needs.  In the words of Educator Guerline Nelson, “Tira brings all of herself to the kids through her music at the hospital.   She deepens her connections with the kids and breathes life into them.  She definitely has a way to touch the kids in a very transformative way with her music.”

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Cheryl Walpole, Licensed creative arts therapist, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, enters her third year working with the students of Kingsbrook Hospital.  Cheryl aims to provide a sensory art experience for students to participate with the greatest level of independence.  “Cheryl is great.  She exposes the kids to different textures, she allows them to engage with different materials to create art and express their emotions.” Arts Horizons is proud to share the work of our amazing artists and the beautiful arts expressions of the students at P 721 K at Kingsbrook Hospital.  Thank you for the honor and support of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

See the initial grant announcement here.  https://artshorizons.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/arts-horizons-receives-quality-of-life-grant-from-christopher-dana-reeve-foundation/

 

For More Information, contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Residencies and Special Popluations dena@artshorizons.org

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Arts Horizons Visual Art Show at Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center

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Arts Horizons is excited to be featured in the Fall Newsletter for Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center for our  2013 Visual Art Show, led by Arts Horizons teaching artists Nina Tantillo Elton and Marie Diperri in collaboration with the educators and hospital staff.

In the second year of the visual art program, the artists have developed a collaborative relationship with the hospital schools and sunshine home staff.   The artists carefully design the lessons, the materials and staff training to maximize student participation in their own visual arts. Each student works 1:1 to enable them to respond, select, and interact with a variety of visual arts mediums.   The 2013 program met with students and teachers  for 17 sessions for hands-on art workshops. The workshops remain firmly based in the ideal of process over product and each class will continue to emphasize experimentation utilizing collage, painting, drawing, and paper maiche. This curriculum outlines the following themes that depend on the pace, development, and temperament of the children:  The Seasons,  What makes a Landscape? Animals in the Landscape.  The students’ art work and energy at the final visual art show celebration demonstrates the success and excitement for the arts at Sunshine Home.

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For more information about the program, contact Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Programs and Special Populations, dena@artshorizons.org

Arts Horizons Receives Grant From New York Community Trust For Artbeat Program

Arts Horizons, one of the largest arts-in-education organizations in the New York/Metropolitan area, has been awarded a $25,000 grant for its ArtBeat program. ArtBeat brings teaching artists to work with young people ages 11 to 21, in four hospitals throughout New York City.

The one-year grant ensures that ArtBeat can continue to provide music and painting, drawing, quilt and mural-making to special education children hospitalized for orthopedic, psychiatric and other medical issues. The hospitals in the program are Kingsbrook Memorial and Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, Mount Sinai in Manhattan, and Bronx Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx.

“Our partnership with Hospital Schools is an exciting and unique collaboration that merges arts, health care and special education,” says Dena Malarek, Arts Horizons Director, Special Populations and NYC Residencies.

“By bringing professional artists into hospitals, we are helping patients at a critical time by sparking creativity, and supporting learning and healing. Beyond these documented benefits of arts in health care, it is the humanizing effect that arts can bring to an individual, family, and hospital community in the time of medical uncertainty, that is truly meaningful and important.”

The grant from The New York Community Trust is from the DeWitt Wallace Fund for Youth in The Trust. DeWitt and his wife founded Reader’s Digest.

“We hope that this grant brings joy to a special community of young New Yorkers,” said Kerry McCarthy, program officer at The New York Community Trust. “Arts programming has transformational powers and is a vitally important part of the healing process.”

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