Students and teachers celebrated with a special mural unveiling on Thursday, August 12, 2021. Enjoy the brilliant final masterpiece!!!
original post August 4, 2021
Students at East Bronx Academy eagerly began painting a large outdoor mural as part of Summer Rising under the artistic direction of esteemed muralists Vanezza Cruz and SIENIDE. Arts Horizons and East Bronx Academy of the Future are proud to have received this special grant award through the New York City Department of Educations’ Office of Arts and Special Projects, made possible by the New York City Artist Corps. Students filled the recently renovated park area with splashes of color against the backdrop of a new basketball court and park benches overlooking blooming flowers along a colorful walking path. This park gives residents peace and tranquility within a busy South Bronx neighborhood, and the mural is an ideal addition to the school and a great way for the community to come together through the arts.
The mural design process was led by Vanezza with close collaboration from Principal Sarah Scrogin and Assistant Principal Steven Brady of East Bronx Academy as well as Principal Emily Shu of Bronx Envision Academy, a school co-located in the building. Students shared their ideas in special workshops which led to the rich design depicting iconography that represents the school and surrounding community: a knight, cacti, and the subway. The knight [school’s mascot/logo] symbolizes strength, honor, integrity and courage. The cacti represent resilience, endurance and fortitude as they are known to survive in new environments and situations all the while remaining adaptable and strong. Lastly, the subway is a unifying factor for the entire school campus as their building is right next to the 174th Street train station in the Bronx. The stack of books and the apple in the shield echo elements of education. The decorative dark hands symbolize an otherworldly power of protection and guidance, and colored in a way to represent the gamut of skin tones amongst the BIPOC community in the area.
SIENIDE joins Ms. Cruz at East Bronx Academy as an artist and teaching assistant, and together, they carefully guide students to make their mark on the newly primed wall while implementing newly learned techniques in color theory, color mixing and painting. Students from both schools work collaboratively to help bring to life this stunning largescale mural which will be unveiled in a special opening ceremony in August 2021. We are excited to see the final result and cannot wait to share the images of the mural that will cheerfully welcome students, staff and community members back into the school community after a very tumultuous school year in pandemic.
About the Artists:
Vanezza Cruz is a mixed media artist, graphic designer and with an early education in fine arts and music, she graduated Cum Laude from FIT with a BFA in Graphic Design. After working as a graphic designer in the fashion industry, she pursued her MFA in Printmaking at Lehman College. Working as an Art Education Administrator, a freelancer and a muralist, she continues to explore her passions of drawing, binding books, taking pictures, creating collages, and other creative odds and ends. Her work explores ideas of body image and beauty, cultural identity and representations of women.
SIENIDE is a multi-layered artist whose life and is inspired by life and art. Dozens of Sien’s masterfully illustrated murals are scattered throughout the five boroughs of NYC. His public works engage a younger generation of street art enthusiasts with abstract compositions and mood altering color. SIENIDE is an Illustrator, and Professor currently teaching Digital Media Arts at TCI College in New York City.
For more information , please contact Kiran Rajagopalan:
Director of New York Programs
201-567-1766 ext. 113
Arts Horizons is entering its 40th year of providing high-quality arts education programming to children of all ages, adults, and seniors in schools and community centers throughout New York and New Jersey. The 2017-2018 school year has officially ended, and we dedicate this blog post to sharing a review of our incredible year of arts education residencies in New York City. We sincerely thank all of our partners and their dedicated team of educators and support professionals for welcoming us into their sites. We also thank their students and participants for their willingness to share their creative voices and artistic talents. Of course, none of our arts education residencies would be possible without our immensely talented and committed teaching artists. We are extremely grateful to have such an amazing roster of artists who offer such diversity of expressive mediums including: mosaics, collage-making, playwriting, African drumming, musical theater, Hip Hop, graffiti, maskmaking, storytelling, Afro-Brazilian dance, songwriting, photography, music technology, and much more!
Summer 2017 kicked off in high gear with residencies through Moshulu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) at 8 of their cornerstone sites in the Bronx and Manhattan. After a brief break in August, the fall semester promptly began with after school programs through: MMCC, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), and Union Settlement.
Additionally, we started our in-school programs at several NYCDOE schools funded by the Arts for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities” (Arts for ELL+SWD) grant. Through this grant, participating schools “receive funding to create new or expand existing partnerships with arts and cultural organizations with experience serving English Language Learners (ELLs) and/or Students with Disabilities (SWD).” Our visual and performing arts programs for Literacy Development and Socio-emotional Growth effectively engaged these student populations through hands-on workshops that stimulated creativity, vocabulary development, speaking, and other communication skills. We highlighted our Arts For ELL+SWD programs in a series of five posts: CIS 303X, PS 28M, Brooklyn School for Music & Theatre, Robert F. Kennedy Community High School/JHS 226Q, and PS 184M/PS 79M.
We also renewed our VSA Children’s Visual Arts Discovery (VSA-VAD) programs under contract with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at the same sites we served last year: Hospital Schools @ Kings County Hospital, PS 226M @ PS 76M, PS 188X @ PS 34X, and Queens Transition Center @ High School for Law Enforcement & Public Safety.
Sadly, our fall semester ended with the closing of the Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center (LNAC) in December 2017. But we remain committed to keeping the concept of the center and famed artist Mr. Neiman alive through our work via LNAC Without Walls (LNACWoW). Located at a new central Harlem office space at The Pillars on 124th Street, LNACWoW continues our mission of offering quality arts education programs celebrating the rich history of the Harlem community. We have achieved this through expanded programming with Union Settlement and Hospital Schools alongside new partnerships with Boys and Girls Club of Harlem and the New York Public Library.
Therefore, our spring semester was even busier for us as we launched these new programs through LNACWoW and extended our in-school and after school programs through GGE, VSA-VAD, and our Arts for ELL+SWD partners. New and fruitful partnerships were also formed with South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and Children of Promise. We were also thrilled to relaunch programs with several of our longstanding partners including: Hospital Schools, PS 46X, PS 130X, Unique People Services, and Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD).
Please stay tuned for further announcements about our 40th anniversary celebrations and our ongoing summer programs. Have a great summer, enjoy the sun, and stay cool!
We are currently seeking experienced, professional teaching artists for the 2018-2019 academic year. Please click here for more information on how to apply.
Spring is finally in full bloom in New York, and Arts Horizons is preparing for the end of the school year and planning the launch of our summer programs. We are pleased to announce the fifth post of a series in which we spotlight two more of our partner schools in Manhattan that received an “Arts for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities” (ELL+SWD) grant: PS 184M: Shuang Wen in Chinatown and PS 79M: Horan School in East Harlem. This is Arts Horizons’ fourth season participating in this initiative, and we have announced our 10 partner schools for this academic year in a previous post.
Through this grant, participating schools “receive funding to create new or expand existing partnerships with arts and cultural organizations with experience serving English Language Learners (ELLs) and/or Students with Disabilities (SWD).” Our visual and performing arts programs for Literacy Development and Socio-emotional Growth effectively engaged these student populations through hands-on workshops that stimulated creativity, vocabulary development, speaking, and other communication skills.
At PS 184M, three AH teaching artists – Pat Russell, Navida Stein, and Jeannine Otis – conducted residencies for grades 3, 4, and 7 in Circus Arts, Storytelling, and Musical Theater. AH teaching artists Mansa Mussa and Natalie Alleyne have been part of an extensive visual arts program with District 75 elementary school students at PS 79M. Let’s take a quick visit to their classes!
Earlier in April, AH program coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan attended (and videotaped) the final performances of Jeannine Otis’s 7th grade and Pat Russell’s 3rd Grade classes at PS 184M. Jeannine is an award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and author, and she is co-director of Theatreworks USA’s production “Freedom Train.” Pat is a multidisciplinary theater artist and longtime teaching artist who specializes in clowning, circus skills, facepainting, and puppetry.
Jeannine’s 7th grade classes presented “Message Songs,” an uplifting series of student-selected songs centered on the theme of social justice. A student representative from each of the three classes spoke briefly about their song choices and how they related to issues they have experienced at school and in their communities. “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson, “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent, and four songs from the megahit musical Hamilton were performed to a packed audience of students and parents. Jeannine even had a guest drummer, bassist, and spoken-word artist STARDA as part of the ensemble!
Immediately following “Message Songs,” the auditorium was transformed into a circus with the assistance of several parent volunteers who hung up pennants, student artwork, and other paraphernalia. Pat’s 3rd grade classes then paraded into the auditorium and performed tricks, skits, and gags that wowed and amazed a second group of students and parents. Students juggled scarves, balanced feathers, played tug-of-war with an imaginary rope, tumbled on mats, performed magic illusions, and did tricks with hula hoops! The 45-minute show ended with an engaging Q&A in which students asked other students about all of the tricks they saw.
It was a monumental undertaking to coordinate the logistics of these performances, and we thank visual arts teacher Ms. E-Anna Soong for all of her effort in their organization and execution. We also thank the principal Ms. Chiu and assistant principal Ms. Mee for welcoming us into their schools.
Kiran then travelled uptown to visit noted mixed media artist Natalie Alleyne at PS 79M, and he observed her students creating collage portraits with such enthusiasm and concentration. Most students were instructed to create collage portraits using bits of construction paper and gluestick. Several students had already completed their collages in a previous class, and they learned how to use a tile cutter in preparation for next week’s lesson of transforming their collages into mosaics. The paraprofessionals and teachers were critical support to Natalie and her students, and we thank them for their assistance throughout the residency.
For further information on applying for the Arts for ELL+SWD grant with Arts Horizons as a partner, please contact Dena Malarek at 201-567-1766 ext. 108 or email@example.com. The deadline for new applications and renewals is Friday, June 8!
With June quickly approaching, Arts Horizons has been very busy at work with preparations for the end of the school year. We are pleased to announce the fourth post of a series in which we spotlight two more of our partner schools in Queens that received an “Arts for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities” (ELL+SWD) grant: JHS 226Q: Virgil I. Grissom in South Ozone Park and Q670: Robert F. Kennedy Community High School (RFKCHS) in Fresh Meadows. A complete list of all of our “Arts for ELL+SWD” partner schools can be found here.
AH teaching artist Dawn Crandell recently concluded a successful playwriting residency with middle school students at 226Q while AH teaching artist Chris Lin is currently engaged in a year-long visual arts program with high school students at RFKCHS. Let’s take a quick visit into their classes!
A multifaceted performing artist specializing in theater, burlesque, and dance, Dawn Crandell shared her expertise in playwriting with student in Grades 6-8 at 226Q. She successfully piqued her students’ innate creativity through a series of thought-provoking and fun writing and performance exercises. As a result, she compiled many booklets of her students’ incredible short plays and other writings such as this one below written by six 6th grade students:
Chris Lin is a Queens-based visual artist with over 25 years of teaching experience with students of all ages, parents, and senior citizens. At RFKCHS, Chris is conducting arts integration workshops in English literature and traditional studio art classes to high school students. AH Program Coordinator Kiran Rajagopalan had an opportunity to observe Chris’s English class in which students are currently studying the hit Broadway musical West Side Story. This week, Chris is challenging the students to create evocative movie posters which graphically and symbolically depict the musical’s central themes through a variety of mediums such as collage, drawing, and sketching.
It is currently midway through a glorious summer, and Arts Horizons is still hard at work after a successful year of arts education residencies and assemblies! We thank all of our wonderful teaching artists for being such an integral part of the Arts Horizons community. We sincerely value their amazing work in bringing art to so many classrooms, hospitals, auditoriums, gymnasiums, and community centers throughout New York and New Jersey. We also thank all of the site administrators, coordinators, teachers, and support staff at our many partner schools and organizations for welcoming us into their spaces.
We would like to once again highlight and recognize our longstanding partnership with PS 46X: Edgar Allen Poe, an elementary school located in the Bedford Park neighborhood of the Bronx. We are grateful for Principal Jennifer Ade-Alexander, Assistant Principal Roxanna Bello-Sullivan, Assistant Principal Mary Champagne, Librarian Karen Ramirez, ESL Teacher Cindy Cabral, and the faculty and staff for their continued support and dedication to arts education. During the spring semester, six teaching artists conducted successful residencies at PS 46X in a variety of artistic disciplines including: visual art, dance, music, and storytelling.
Chris Lin’s Saturday morning family workshops were a resounding success, and you can read more about his residency here. Award-winning drummer and longtime AH teaching artist Larry Washington conducted a soulful percussion residency with kindergarteners. Theater artist, musician, and longtime AH teaching artist Navida Stein conducted a brilliant storytelling residency with 1st graders. Multi-instrumentalist Andy Algire taught recorder to 2nd graders. Well-known choreographer and actress Suzi Tipa taught many world dance forms to 3rd graders. Noted Hip Hop and Afro-Brazilian dancer Silvana Marquina conducted a dynamic dance residency for 4th graders.
AH Program Coordinator, Kiran Rajagopalan, returned to PS 46X earlier in May to observe Suzi, Larry, and Andy in action! Let’s take a quick peek into their classes…
Larry’s kindergarten percussion class was high-energy and full of surprises! Students not only learned to play a new percussion instrument each week, but they also learned to sing and enact several songs. Baba Larry then requested Kiran to participate in a “freeze dance” with the students, and the students responded with cheers when he showed off his Indian classical dance skills. The class ended with a Carnaval dance party, and students spontaneously formed a samba line and danced to Baba Larry’s sizzling Afro-Brazilian beats!
Andy’s 2nd grade recorder class began with a series of fun warm-up exercises for the fingers, arms, wrists, and shoulders. Andy then brought out his balafon, an ancient West African wooden xylophone, and the students rehearsed their chosen piece for PS 46X’s annual end of the year showcase. Andy thoughtfully guided his orchestra, and the students’ enthusiasm and eagerness to sing and play their recorders were clearly evident.
Suzi’s 3rd grade class studied a wide range of dance styles from Italy, India, Mexico, and the United States. During this session, students were introduced to el jarabe tapatío, popularly known as the “Mexican Hat Dance.” After a robust warm-up, Suzi introduced the fundamental steps of the dance and then quickly transitioned to a challenging sequence of choreography. Despite the hot cafeteria, students pushed through their rehearsal, and they showed off their moves in an impromptu dance circle at the end of Suzi’s class!
We are thrilled to see such active participation in the arts at PS 46X, and we are excited to continue our collaborative work with the school for the next academic year. Stay cool and stay tuned for further updates from Arts Horizons!
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!
Arts Horizons is pleased to welcome Mr. Kiran Rajagopalan to our team as the Program Coordinator for the NYC Residencies and Special Populations Department.
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.