Happy New Year from Arts For All! 2014 was a great year for Arts For All and we are looking forward to another year of providing free arts programming for under-served New York City children.
In December, thanks to a grant from the Linden Arts Fund for Children, we held a student art show at Ngam Restaurant in Manhattan. Paintings from a 5th Grade Arts For All Visual Arts Residency were displayed in the restaurant for several weeks. Arts For All took the students on a special field trip where they were each awarded certificates of artistic accomplishment, viewed their art show and enjoyed a delicious free Thai lunch at Ngam.
We are excited to get our 2015 programs started. We have a number of exciting programs coming up this spring including the Creative Works Program, the Video Creation Project, Literacy Through the Arts and the annual Day at the Met field trip.
For the Creative Works Program, we partner with New Alternatives for Children, an organization working with children in the 5 boroughs with medical disabilities and/or chronic illness. In this program, NAC students work with AFA teaching artists to create, produce and perform an original play. Last year, this program was extremely popular with our students. NAC staff reported that one young girl who participated, who is at risk for Non Verbal Learning Disability and who has a history of being bullied, found the program especially valuable as she was able to make friends in a supportive, fun environment.
In February, Teaching Artist Franklyn Strachan will return to the Incarnation Children’s Center to teach the Video Creation Project. The Incarnation Children’s Center is New York City’s only skilled nursing facility providing specialized care for children and youth living with HIV and AIDS. For this 3 day intensive workshop, Franklyn teaches the students filming, editing and script-writing techniques and they collaborate to create a documentary or a narrative short film.
In addition to these programs we will also have poetry, drama, dance, visual arts and music workshops running at several partnering locations throughout the city this spring. Thanks to your support, we are bringing accessible arts programming to over 3,500 under-served children in the New York City each year. We are truly grateful for your support and look forward to updating you on our programs later this spring. Thank your for your continued partnership.
Thanks to your help, Arts For All continues to sustainably grow and offer accessible artistic opportunities to in-need children in the 5 boroughs of New York City. We have a full fall of programs that includes our annual Audience Project Tour. This year, we’re excited to present an engaging production of The Emperor’s New Clothes that originated at the Infinity Theatre Company in Annapolis, Maryland this past summer. We will tour this exciting show to over 2,500 under-served children in New York City. For much of our young audience, this will be their first experience with live theater.
Thanks to the vision of Arts For All supporter, Amy Losak, we’re providing another semester of Haiku programs for elementary students PS 163. This year’s second grade is divided up into two classes. One class will explore haiku poetry through visual arts with teaching artists, Vidho Lorville and Mélissa Smith. The other class will explore haiku through music with teaching artists Robin Cannon Colwell and Darien Dauchan. The previous year’s second grade enthusiastically participated in the haiku programs and created vibrant artworks and songs inspired by the haiku of the late Sydell Rosenberg.
We’re proud to report the Literacy Through the Arts Program is serving grades K-2 at Hamilton Heights Elementary and PS 15 Elementary, thanks, in part, to a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. The Literacy Through the Arts Program builds students’ reading, writing and verbal expression skills through a multi-arts curriculum in theater, literature, music, visual arts and dance. In the Literacy Through the Arts Program, we’re thrilled to report last semester's evaluations includes an 80% increase in literacy skills, a 60% increase in resilience & a 100% increase in self-confidence in certain classes.
This year, for the second year in a row, we’re receiving a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. We’re thrilled that DCA believes in our programs and has chosen to continue our partnership, with a larger grant, for the coming year.
In September, we hosted our annual Professional Development Day which is mandatory for Arts For All Teaching Arts and Volunteers. At the PD Day, we reviewed Arts For All’s evaluation and assessment requirements and hosted interactive presentations by veteran AFA Teaching Artists. This year, we had a special guest speaker, Cliff Gabrielsen, a retired detective with over 20 years in law enforcement who gave a riveting talk on school safety. Mr. Gabrielsen spent significant time with our artists discussing how to be prepared in multiple emergency situations, everything from lockdown situations, to medical emergencies, to fire drills and even bullying situations. Our teaching artists expressed they feel more prepared to react should such emergency situations arise while they are teaching.
We currently have film, poetry, drama, dance and music workshops running at several partnering locations throughout the city. Thanks to your help, we are able to help over 3,500 under-served children in the New York City area build self-confidence, creativity, resilience, teamwork and self-expression through the arts. On the student evaluation forms for Arts For All Dance Teacher, Leslie St Jour’s 4th grade dance class last semester, one student, Kayla, wrote, “I love the dance moves you have taught me. You are talented with grace and heart in your story of wonder. I thank you for all you have done in my life.” Arts For All would never be able to have such an impact on as many children like Kayla without your help. Thank you, once again, for your continued belief in our mission. In world with so many worthy organizations to support, thank you for choosing Arts For All.
Thanks to your unwavering support of our programs, the spring semester at Arts For All ended on a high note! We were able to continue offering several programs to in-need children at our partnering schools, including our annual “A Day at the Met” field trip, the Creative Works Program, and the Video Creation Project.
In May, thanks to our corporate sponsor, Capgemini, we brought over fifty 2nd Grade students from PS 163 and youth aged 10-13 from New Alternatives for Children, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for our annual “A Day at the Met” field trip. The children toured the museum led by a museum tour guide, as well as an exhibit-specific tour by Arts For All Teaching Artists. Students from both groups were eager and enthusiastic to learn about the museum’s classics throughout the day, evidenced by their active participation in art discussions.
Our Creative Works Program led by Teaching Artists Melissa Smith and Darian Dauchan was also a great success. We worked with New Alternatives for Children to provide children experiencing both mental and physical disabilities the opportunity to create their own performance pieces. In her final presentation evaluation report, Melissa noted that the children demonstrated significant growth in both teamwork and self-confidence. NAC staff also reported that one young girl who participated, who is at risk for Non Verbal Learning Disability and who has a history of being bullied, found the program especially valuable as she was able to make friends in a supportive, fun environment. This was a new experience for her.
In May, Teaching Artist Franklyn Strachan led the Video Creation Project, a program designed to teach youth video creation and editing techniques as well as storytelling and creative self-expression. We held May’s Video Creation Project at the Incarnation Children’s Center, a facility providing specialized care for children and youth living with HIV and AIDS. For this project, Franklyn worked with the students to create an original script ( see attached). The students enthusiastically all agreed to work on a zombie movie ( “Kid Zombie”). Franklyn reported back that once again the students were engaged throughout the process and seemed to enjoy the freedom of working on a fictitious script.
This spring, 2nd grade students in our Literacy Through the Arts Program (LTA) at PS15 visited the Tenement Museum: a structure erected in 1863 that once housed working class immigrants. They had previously visited the museum last December for the Tenement’s Cultural Adaptation school program, where students were introduced to the fictional character, Victoria Confino, a 14- year-old Italian girl who lived in 97 Orchard Street in the early 1900s and faced the challenges of adapting her cultural heritage to life in a new country. The student’s two field trips to the museum fueled their interest in developing Victoria’s story further and adapting her into the title role in Cinderella. The students learned historical accounts of immigration in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and also applied their newfound knowledge to create a play based on the character Victoria Confino and Cinderella.
We’re preparing for a busy fall of programs that includes our Audience Project, Tour, the Artistic Residency Program at 17 different locations, and the Literacy Through the Arts Program (LTA) at Hamilton Heights Elementary and PS 15. Once again, thank you for continuing to support our programs! We’re looking forward to another great semester of free programs for in-need children in New York. The Arts For All team wishes you a great rest of your summer!
Spring at Arts For All is bringing many exciting things, including two field trips! The first is our annual Day at the Met, sponsored by Capgemini, which is taking place this Saturday, May 10th. For the past eleven years (with the exception of 2005), Arts for All has organized a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The trip serves to expose youth to the classics, inviting the children and teens to fully explore all the museum has to offer. The children who will attend our 2014 A Day at the Met include: children from New Alternatives for Children, an organization providing specialized care for disabled and chronically ill children and second graders from PS 163, an extremely low income elementary school in the Bronx.
The Metropolitan Museum donates tickets each year to Arts For All to allow a group of in-need children to visit the museum. Participants have a tour from a Metropolitan Museum Tour Guide, an exhibit-specific tour led by Arts For All Teaching Artists, and have lunch together. Capgemini, PS 163 and New Alternatives for Children provide adult chaperones for the visit. Arts For All provides volunteers to spend the day with the group, lead the afternoon tour, and keep the youth company. Volunteers engage the children and help ensure that they have a good experience.
For the second field trip, taking place at the end of the school year, Arts For All is bringing second-graders from PS 163 to the office of Smart Design, an innovative design agency. Smart Design will facilitate a design-oriented art workshop with the students, giving them a hands-on artistic experience and insight into the world of professional design.
Also coming up this month, Teaching Artist Franklyn Strachan will run the second Video Creation Project with children and youth living at Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC), a facility providing specialized care for youth living with HIV and AIDS. Last year’s Video Creation Project at ICC was an exciting, moving experience for both student participants and ICC and AFA staff. We’re excited to offer this program a second year in a row, thanks in part to funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. We’re seeking additional funding for this program and we welcome your ideas on how to support and grow this special program.
Finally, Arts For All’s Haiku Program was recently featured in an article on the importance of teaching poetry, by Suzi Parker on the website takepart.com. You can read that article here. http://www.arts-for-all.org/archives/1968
Thanks so much for supporting our programs! With your help, Arts For All continues to deepen our programs and our commitment to helping in-need children develop self-confidence, self-expression, teamwork, resilience and creativity through the arts.
Arts For All’s 2014 Programming is off to a great start. Programs are up and running at PS 69 on Staten Island where we provide music and drama workshops for First Graders in a Special Education class and an after-school drama program for Fourth Graders who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford an after-school program. Both of these residencies are taught by veteran AFA Teaching Artist, Robin Cannon Colwell.
Literacy Through the Arts is also underway at PS 15 and Hamilton Heights Elementary. Our Literacy Through the Arts Program increases students’ reading, writing, and verbal expression skills through a multi-arts curriculum incorporating theater, literature, music, visual arts, and dance. This program is also aligned with the New York State Common Core Learning Standards.
This spring, we are excited to offer our Creative Works Program again at New Alternatives for Children. Creative Works is a self-expression program for in-need youth ages 10-16 to discover their own stories and express them in a public performance. AFA partners with New Alternatives for Children (NAC), an organization working with children in the 5 boroughs with medical disabilities and/or chronic illness. Through the Creative Works Program, the students create their own original play and perform it for an invited audience of their peers, family and friends. We have offered this program several times throughout the years at NAC and it is always met with great enjoyment by students and staff members alike.
We’re also gearing up for Arts For All’s Annual Day at the Met. Every year, we take a group of 50-60 children on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum. In the morning, children take part in a museum highlights tour lead by a Met tour guide. Children later receive free lunch, and then participate in an exhibit-specific tour in the afternoon led by an Arts For All artist. This year’s Day at the Met will take place in early May. Stay tuned for more details.
Thank you once again for your belief in and support of our free arts programs for over 3,500 in-need children in the New York City area. From everyone at Arts For All, we wish you a creative, productive and healthy 2014!
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