Blog Archives

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.

%d bloggers like this: