This past June, Arts For All partnered with Smart Design, an innovative design firm in Manhattan, and brought some of our students from PS 163 on a field trip their office in Chelsea. Smart Design employees, in consultation with Arts For All Teaching Artist, Marissa Woolf, lead students in a visual arts workshop in which the students designed their favorite super hero’s accessories and superpower tools! The workshop also offered our students insight into what one possible career in the arts looks like up close.
Arts For All students and Smart Design employees alike thoroughly enjoyed the day. A huge thank you to Smart Design for sponsoring this day!
Here are some great pictures from the field trip!
September 26th from 5:30-8:30pm, the Chipotle at 19 St Marks Place will donate 50% of purchases to Arts For All when you show them this flyer at the register. This is a simple, delicious way to support Arts For All! #EatForChange!
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.”
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!
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.
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!