Blog Archives

Retrospective: Arts Horizons in FY 18

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.

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Spotlight: Arts for ELL+SWD in Manhattan

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.

Grand Finale of PS 184M’s 3rd Grade Circus Arts Performance with Pat Russell

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 dena@artshorizons.org. The deadline for new applications and renewals is Friday, June 8!

Spotlight: Arts for ELL+SWD in Queens

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.

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