September 12, 2014

Arts For All recently partnered with Play On! Studios and brought almost 50 students in a summer program at SoBro to Play On’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Many of the students were seeing live theater for the first time.

According to Lena Moy-Borgen, Founding Director of Play On!, “the students were great audience members – other patrons even commented on how engaged and respectful the students were during the performance.”

Here are a couple pictures from the show.-2

We hope to have many more successful collaborations with Play On! in the future!

By Robin Chan, Arts For All Intern

August 22, 2014

After years of budget cuts, schools may finally have the opportunity to rebuild their arts programs. Towards the end of June, the City had announced an additional $23 million allocation of funds for New York City schools to improve education in the arts for the 2014-2015 academic year. This is the ideal response to Comptroller Scott Stringer’s report in April, which posed concerns towards the steady decline of funding for arts education in the last seven years. In his report, he had noted that a staggering 28 percent of schools lacked a full-time certified arts teacher, 20 percent have neither a full- nor part-time certified arts teacher, and one in four middle and high schools lack partnership with an arts or cultural organization.

With many New York City schools having limited budgets, they often dedicate their funds to a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, neglecting to incorporate the arts into their curricula. This is particularly positive news for low-income public schools who may either revive old art programs or begin to provide them. The new investment aims to provide thousands of students with music, dance, visual arts, and theater classes. The budget allocation is also an effort to provide equality for all, entitling students to attend a school with a rich curriculum that includes the arts regardless of their residential neighborhood.

Amongst various investments through the budget allocation, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina had announced plans to allot $5 million to the hiring of 120 certified art teachers. An additional $2 million would go towards helping low-arts schools boost their arts programs by hiring borough-based arts teams as outlets of guidance and support. They also anticipate approximately $360,000 to support a partnership at Hunter College to train prospective art teachers to maintain and develop programs.

But why is it so important to integrate the arts into school curricula? According to Americans for the Arts, a non-profit organization similar to Arts For All that strives to ensure a well-rounded education that includes the arts for all individuals, research suggests impressive benefits of an arts education that includes increased student motivation, attitudes, and attendance. Further, “numerous reports discuss the ways that increased access and involvement in arts education encourage students to stay in school, succeed in school, succeed in life, and succeed in work.” Exposing the arts to children at a young age aims to cultivate an outlet of creativity to positively influence their daily activities.

Yet, it is important to acknowledge the distinction between “creativity” and “talent,” more specifically their dissociation. Rather, art is a process that stimulates the mind. Just as reading may eventually expand one’s vocabulary, creating art can similarly pose positive results on one’s overall learning process growing up. This is best done by providing young children with the tools to do so, and with the much-needed funding now available, Arts For All is thrilled that more children will be given the opportunity to explore the arts!

Mural 3Here’s a picture from an Arts For All Chicago mural project.

Audience Project slider 2014

Audience Project slider 2014

Arts For All is excited to announce our 2014 Audience Project tour.  This fall, we will be bringing a free, professional production of The Emperor’s New Clothes  to over 2,500 in-need children in New York City.  This production of the Hans Christian Anderson story was adapted by E Gray Simons III and presented at the Infinity Theatre Company in Annapolis, Maryland earlier this summer.

Please help us bring this show to as many children as possible by making a donation here.



By Robin Chan, Intern
July 28, 2014
Haiku: A Form of Art

Thanks to the generous and unwavering support of Amy Losak, Senior Vice President at Ketchum Public Relations in New York, 2nd grade students at PS 163 in the Bronx continued to explore the form of haiku during the last academic spring semester.  Thanks to Amy’s support, we were able to continue the workshop series in haiku and the visual arts and add an additional program that focused on haiku and music. These programs celebrated the lyrical poetry of Amy’s late mother, Sydell Rosenberg, and also helped students develop literacy and arts skills through the lens of haiku. Rosenberg’s poems served as the foundational support for the students’ learning.

During lessons, students listened to selected poetry by Sydell Rosenberg and explored expression through a vast array of emotional and dynamical experiences. The program focused primarily on haiku revolving around nature, specifically the four seasons. Ultimately, various workshops led to the class composing and performing a song on the seasons based on Rosenberg’s haiku. Four verses of the song incorporated Rosenberg’s haiku, which are shared below:

Standing in the rain

two tree trunks tied together

by a spider’s web.


Hazy summer day

only yellow schools buses

and white butterflies.


Bare branches of bush

holding bright leaves the wind blew,

cupping two seasons.


Winter blizzard –

I donate a carrot nose

for the snowman’s face!

Several workshops taught by Arts For All Teaching Artists Robin Cannon Colwell and Darian Dauchan led to the realization of a song. Particularly, students first became familiar with the haiku form through Rosenberg’s poetry, and eventually composed some of their own. Upon understanding the lyrical form of haiku, they engaged in rhythmic exercises, such as clapping out the rhythm of syllables in poems. Students were encouraged to work together to come up with haiku tableaus, incorporating elements such as soundscaping. Towards the end of the semester, AFA Teaching Artists assisted in developing a haiku that served as the chorus, as well as an accompanying melody, to form an original song in which all students performed and recorded.

Here is the haiku written by the students that served as the chorus for their original song.

Seasons excite me!
Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer
I love the seasons.
Click here to hear to listen to the song, “Seasons Haiku.”

We would like to thank Amy Losak again for her support, teaching artists Robin and Darian for making this program a success and Clayton Colwell for engineering the song “Seasons Haiku.”  As always, we look forward to continue providing our workshops to PS 163 students as well as to other schools!

haikuTeaching Artist, Darien Dauchan, with students in the Haiku and Music Program


By Robin Chan, Intern

July 9, 2014

Through our Literacy Through the Arts Program (LTA), 2nd Grade students from PS15 visited the Tenement Museum, a structure erected in 1863 that once housed working class immigrants. It is now devoted to revealing historical accounts of immigration in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The students had previously visited the museum in December for The Tenement’s Meet Victoria school program, which introduced students to the historic figure Victoria Confino. Their past trip had significantly fueled their interests in both history and the arts, leading them to perform a play presenting Victoria as protagonist. Along with their maintained focus of Victoria as the central character in class activities, the students had imaginatively transformed her role and adapted her into the tale of Cinderella. The class developed their own fairy tale that incorporated details of Victoria’s experience as an immigrant residing in the Lower East Side during the 20th century.

Scrubberella-on-stage2-1024x764LTA Teaching Artist, Shawn Shafner, with 2nd grade students at PS 15.

Miriam Bader, Director of Education at the Tenement Museum, reflects on her experiences with the students, particularly on their performance in the play: “as the students activated Victoria’s story with their sounds and movements, I couldn’t help but think about what the real Victoria Confino would have thought about this development. I am pretty sure she would have liked their adaptation and cheered along with the rest of the audience.”

To read more about the day, review Miriam Bader’s blog post at

June 9, 2014

Thanks to the generous support of our corporate sponsor, Capgemini, Arts For All was able to offer our 11th annual A Day at the Met field trip to over 70 children on May 10th.  The field trip aims to expose children to the classics, inviting them to fully explore all the Metropolitan Museum has to offer. We serve different groups of children each year, and this year our participants were elementary students from PS 163 in the Bronx and teenagers from New Alternatives for Children. Approximately 96% of students in PS 163 live below the poverty rate, while NAC youth are living with medical disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. Students from both groups were eager and enthusiastic to learn throughout the day, evidenced by their active participation in art discussions. In reference to our volunteer organizer Renee Brown’s blog entry on last year’s event, “encouraging the enthusiasm and insights the students have for the art shown is an incredibly powerful
tool in fostering the continuation of excitement for the works of art and culture that they will continue to encounter as they grow and develop into adults.”

Here are some photos from the day. Arts For All would like to thank Capgemini for sponsoring the field trip and providing a team of enthusiastic volunteers. We’d also like to thank the dedicated Arts For All volunteers who donated their Saturday to help spread their love of art to the children we serve!

Met 310268604_10152340238701311_8568573296280117517_nMet 2Met