Blog Archives

New Addition to the AH Team: Kiran Rajagopalan

Arts Horizons is pleased to welcome Mr. Kiran Rajagopalan to our team as the Program Coordinator for the NYC Residencies and Special Populations Department.

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Kiran in his Professional Avatar
Photo By:  J. Wesley Beeks

Kiran is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, writer, and educator.  Trained extensively in Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) for over 25 years, Kiran has given many acclaimed performances in India, Indonesia, Germany, Spain, France, and the United States.  While living in India from 2007-2014, he organized free dance workshops and performances for underprivileged students in government (public) schools throughout the country.  After returning to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in Performance Studies at NYU, he became a teaching artist in the New York public school system and conducted residencies for 3-8th graders which seamlessly integrate poetry, science, and/or reading comprehension with Bharatanatyam.  He joined Arts Horizons in December 2016 as a program coordinator, and he serves as a liaison between the administrative team in the New Jersey office and the teaching artists and site coordinators for residencies in New York.  He also conducts site visits to assess and evaluate residencies.

Aside from his work in arts education, Kiran regularly conducts workshops, lectures, and demonstrations on Indian classical dance and science.  His “NeuroArt” talks on aesthetics, performance, and neuroscience have been particularly appreciated.  In addition, he is the founder and artistic director of Daya Arts which promotes Bharatanatyam through artist-to-artist collaborations and small ensemble work.  In 2016, he co-founded No Rest in the Kingdom as an initiative to facilitate new conversations between disparate communities of color on issues of gender, race, class, & colonialism in the arts.

kiran-1Kiran in his Dancer Avatar
Photo By:  Santhosh Raj

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

 

Arts Horizons at Face To Face 2014

Arts Horizons was excited to attend the 2014 NYC Arts In Education Roundtables’ Face to Face Conference 2014.   Set in the beautiful backdrop of The City College of New York’s, Shepard hall, the program presented a robust array of quality sessions for all stakeholders in the arts-in-education community.   The day and the issues of arts education were broadcasted in live time through a constant social media connection on twitter, facebook and more further spreading the voice in the power of the arts.

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The engaged presence of key NYC educational and political figures fueled a very hopeful climate for the NYC arts community.  Just a month after Schools’ Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s breakfast with the Arts community, she delivered the keynote address to the 500 persons registered at Face to Face.  Farina energetically makes the case for theater programs in all middle schools for students to have the opportunity to envision and create what they can become.  She advocates for the arts to have a key role in the new social studies curriculum; the role of the arts and illustrations in book publishing in schools; the roll of the arts in our Community and Technical schools.  Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President followed Chancellor Farina with live energy for support of the arts and a plea to involve our communities school leadership teams and community boards.

 

With the recent release from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, he pledged to establish a 4 year goal to make sure every child receives arts education required by state law.  (http://blog.artsusa.org/2014/02/26/a-new-era-for-arts-in-new-york-city-schools/#sthash.tLqBMH64.dpuf) (http://www.billdeblasio.com/issues/education) Doug Israel, Director of Research and Policy with the Center for Arts Education discussed the recent release of the report released April 7th by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. This report provides a first-ever school-by-school breakdown of the state of arts education in the public schools, and overlays that information against the data on the city’s economic landscape. – See more at: http://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/state-of-the-arts/#sthash.3DN0w6ps.dpuf

 

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Arts Horizons is energized to be part of this vibrant community to share, learn and advance the community of arts-in-education in NYC.  For more information contact Dena Malarek, dena@artshorizons.org

Arts Breakfast with School Chancellor Carmen Fariña

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.

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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

dena@artshorizons.org

Arts Horizons partners with ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School

Arts Horizons partners with ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School to focus on Dancers with Special Needs

On the afternoon of Saturday September 7th, Ballet Faculty with Children’s division of The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre held their fall staff meeting. This year a special focus was designated specifically to address special needs of students in the pre-primary program in a workshop with Arts Horizons Director of Special Education and NYC Residencies, Dena Malarek.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School Children’s Division is a ballet program for children ages 4-12 that promotes discipline and creativity while encouraging each child to reach their highest potential. Classes focus on building a solid foundation in ballet technique with an emphasis on proper placement and safe progressions of movement while remaining sensitive to the developmental needs of younger dancers. The workshop presented by Ms. Malarek was designed specifically for the organization and explored how they might best address the needs of young dancers with special needs with the context of expectations in the pre-professional training environment. Participants discussed relevant disability characteristics as manifested in the dance studio environment and targeted strategies for studio instruction, behavioral interventions and organizational accommodations.

Taking this step to address special needs of young dancers in the JKO children’s division speaks very loudly to recognize the potential for young dancers who may have special needs to be given an opportunity in the world of pre-professional ballet. “It is essential for the faculty and staff to have access to this type of professional development so that we can be responsive to the needs of the student body,” Melissa Bowman, Assistant Principal of the JKO School.

Dena Malarek, Director of NYC Programs and Special Education, joined Arts Horizons in June 2008.  She brings with her over 19 years working in the field of disabilities services.   She is certified as a recreation therapist and sits on the steering committee of the NYC Arts and Special Education Consortium.  As a recreation therapist, her work and volunteer experiences span diverse disability genres and artistic/athletic/recreational milieus.   As a former Director of Day Habilitation for adults with disabilities, she managed educational, recreational and arts programs to facilitate goal development.   She further developed skills as a staff trainer in behavioral crisis management.  A key focus of her programs was curriculum development for adults with mental retardation and autism transitioning out of the special education school districts.  Her current major projects with Arts Horizons including the “Special Education Artist Academy for Arts and Autism” and “Hospital School programs” have been recognized with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Christopher Reeve Foundation, NYSCA, and the DANA foundation.  Dena’s skill set as a manager, trainer, recreation therapist, dancer and educator carefully guide teaching artists to effectively collaborate, educate and influence students with disabilities in partnership with school  and community special education teams.  Dena is also a modern dancer who performs in the New York City Modern dance community and teaches modern dance, jazz, ballet  and yoga, to students with, and without, disabilities.

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

 

ARTS HORIZONS RECEIVES QUALITY OF LIFE GRANT FROM CHRISTOPHER & DANA REEVE FOUNDATION

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.

 Founded in 1999 by the late Dana Reeve, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is committed to supporting non-profit organizations that seek to improve the quality of life for people living with paralysis. This year the Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 in Quality of Life grants to 74 recipients in the United States and Canada.

 Arts Horizons will use the $5,745.00 grant to support its ArtBeat teaching artists. ArtBeat is a unique partnership between Arts Horizons, New York City Hospitals, and the New York City Department of Education. The program provides interactive music, theatre, and visual art workshops to promote rehabilitation, learning, and cultural experiences for special needs students with extended, and in some cases residential, hospital stays. The program has been adopted by five hospital school locations in New York City that provide psychiatric and rehabilitative care. ArtBeat merges the fields of art, healthcare and academics to create a space of comprehensive education, expression, nurturing and healing.

Image “We are honored and grateful to have the continued support of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation,” says Dena Malarek, Program Director. Our team of educators, artists, and healthcare professionals is continually eager to give hospitalized children access to create, express, and nurture their creative voice and transform the hospital experience”.

Quality of Life Grants 

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grants program was conceived by the late Dana Reeve to address the myriad needs of children and adults living with paralysis and other mobility impairments and their families. Grants support critical life-enhancing and life-changing initiatives that improve physical and emotional health and increase independence. The Foundation has awarded 2,205 grants totaling nearly $17 million to organizations since the program’s inception fourteen years ago.

 “It is the Reeve Foundation’s esteemed pleasure to award Quality of Life grants that will help the paralysis community enhance their freedom and independence,” said Niketa Sheth, Senior Vice President of Quality of Life of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “We are thrilled to be able to align with organizations that believe in our mission and especially proud of this grant cycle’s reach and depth to fund multicultural programs, women’s initiatives, and support for caregivers and loved ones of injured service men and women.”

 About the Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. The Foundation meets all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and holds the BBB’s Charity Seal. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Reeve Foundation, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Award No. U59DD000838. For more information, visit the Foundation’s website at: ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.

The Spring Music Recital was a proud night

The Spring Music Recital was a proud night for K-3 scholars, educators, families and artists at Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek, Brooklyn, NY.  Arts Horizons is honored to work with this strong team under the leadership of Principal Midgette and Dean Hoard.  The supportive audience, collaborative staff effort and students’ showcase of talents exemplified the school’s mission for standards-based arts education program that promotes superior scholarship and strong cultural arts proficiency.

The April 30, 2013 evening showcased a lively step show under CAACS Professor Jones, Recorder and Piano performance under Arts Horizons Professor Kiah, Violin performance under Noel Pointer Foundation Professor Jones, and a lively dance performance under CAACS Professor Brooks.  The scholars showed exceptional focus, enthusiasm and aptitude for the arts to a packed audience of family, friends and community members.  The evening was further amplified by performances by all the adult educators to highlight their art expertise and the caliber of opportunities presented to the scholars.

Arts Horizons is proud to be part of the 2013 CAACS community and excitedly awaits the Spring Visual Art show!

Contact Dena Malarek for more information, dena@artshorizons.org

Scholars practicing musical selections in Keyboard Class.

Scholars practicing musical selections in Keyboard Class.

Full Chorus of CAA scholars during the grand finale, proudly singing ‘Lean on Me,’ under the direction of Arts Horizons Professor Kiah.

Full Chorus of CAA scholars during the grand finale, proudly singing ‘Lean on Me,’ under the direction of Arts Horizons Professor Kiah.

 A Jazz collaboration of Arts Horizons professor Tim Kiah on Upright Bass and vocals, Noel Pointer Foundation Professor Jamaal  Jones on violin, and  Professor Lamar Robinson on drum set.

A Jazz collaboration of Arts Horizons professor Tim Kiah on Upright Bass and vocals, Noel Pointer Foundation Professor Jamaal Jones on violin, and Professor Lamar Robinson on drum set.

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