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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VSA-VAD: Visualizing & Realizing Artistic Potential in Students with Special Needs

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!

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