Noted fashion designer, anthropologist, and recycled materials artist Ms. Veronique “Vickie” Fremont has been an AH teaching artist for over eight years. Fluent in five languages (French, Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Italian), Vickie is a highly effective arts educators for English Language Learners (ELLs). She has just finished an AH in-school visual arts residency at PS 85 in partnership with Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education in the Fordham Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. Ms. Joyce Griffen, another AH teaching artist who has been working with us since 2009, is also currently working with PS 85 students in a storytelling program. Joyce is an accomplished actress, jazz vocalist and director with extensive experience in special education.
Arts Horizons is pleased to enter our second year at PS 85 in partnership with the Fordham Center for Educational Partnerships initiative with Community Schools. This continues a longstanding relationship working with the students and educators at PS 85 that dates back to 2007.
AH’s new program coordinator, Kiran Rajagopalan, visited one of Vickie’s classes earlier in January at PS 85. Let’s visit one of her classes
Vickie’s AH residency was aimed at PS 85’s ELL students primarily in grades 3 and 4. She focused on bookmaking so that students had ample opportunities to practice writing in English. In the picture above, Vickie is holding some examples of “The Book of Diversity” created by her students using recycled materials such as cloth scraps, beads, and yarn. Students were also instructed to draw a self-portrait and write on where they come from and how they are learning English inside the books. This was just one of several books the students made during the residency! Other projects included: “The Book of the Favorite Words,” “Book Accordion,” and “Mobile Book.”
Vickie also used her proficiency in Spanish to great effect, and she conducted her classes in both English and Spanish so that communication was clear for each and every student. Mr. Carlos Torres, a teacher at PS 85, was very appreciative of having an visual arts program for students because it “really makes a difference with academic[s]” as it “engages their creativity and relaxes their minds to learn.” Vickie added that her residencies are designed to encourage students to “discover the connection between the hand and creativity.”