“I like the way I’m growing as a person. I never used to listen to anybody. I never wanted to do what I was supposed to do, but now I understand as you get older, a whole lot of things change. You’ve got to move different.”
– CAW Youth Apprentice Deysean Nesbit
The most important connections in our lives are the ones closest to home. This summer, our Multimedia Team created five short films about nonprofits and other organizations that work to improve the quality of life in our city. The subjects include pianos in public places, a grass-roots effort to make improvements to a local city park, an ambitious plan to create murals in Upper Manhattan of 314 North American birds threatened by climate change, and a program that brings soccer and poetry to young NYC residents. Of course, there is also a documentary about Creative Art Works summer Public Art Youth Employment program.
“Migrations” is part of the The Audubon Mural Project, a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and Gitler &_____ Gallery to create murals of North American birds around Washington Heights, where John James Audubon lived during the last years of his life. The project’s goal is to commission artists to paint murals of 314 species of birds which are threatened by a warming climate.
“Corporate art can be very boring, because there’s a perceived expectation of what corporations want, which can be interpreted as sterile or somber. So, don't give us what you think we want. Don't give us stock photos. Be real. Be bold. Be honest. Challenge our expectations.”
Our first set of "lightning interviews" were recorded on only the second day of our summer Public Art Youth Employment program, when our Youth Apprentices were just starting to get a handle on their job responsibilities. We're now past the halfway point, so our young painters and videographers have some experience under their belts. They know their jobs. They know their projects have tight, non-negotiable, deadlines. They know that there are high expectations.
And they are rising to the occasion.
“How can you NOT be optimistic about the future when you spend your days working with young people?” This summer, we’re going to try to bottle the experiences of our Youth Apprentices the way you might catch a firefly in a mayonnaise jar. Between now and the middle of August, we will be posting regular "lightning interviews" on our social media and in our newsletters. Read on for a six flashes of inspiration.
"...Our mural began and we finished the plan,
And I just want to say how proud that I am.
I’m blessed for my God, blessed for my people,
Blessed to be up here rather down there with evil.
Blessed to be on the mural that’s mentioned,
The mural that brings out attention,
The mural that we have invented,
This is our Ascension!"
"...our final proposal to the client was all of our ideas put together... We sorted. We found a way to put it all together, so now everyone’s satisfied with what they see."
CAW Summer Youth Apprentice Cyrell Primo shares her #SummerJobStories and touches on the intersection of music, art and ideas.
A CAW Youth Apprentice is making a difference in the world without leaving his block.
Every morning, Tyrese Kierstedt walks out the front door of his apartment building, hangs a left, goes twenty feet and arrives at his summer job. Tyrese is one of several Youth Apprentices who are painting Creative Art Works' third mural for West Harlem Group Assistance, a community-based development corporation dedicated to revitalizing West and Central Harlem communities. The mural is located on the northwest corner of 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue, half a block north of Communities for Healthy Food at WHGA, a food pantry that promotes healthy lifestyles and provides related services to Harlem residents.
Our 2016 Public Art Youth Employment Program started on July 5th with an orientation at the Oberia D. Dempsey Multi-Service Center in Harlem. Over the course of six weeks, Youth Apprentices will be paid to participate in six mural projects and to contribute to two multi-media or graphics projects at six partner locations. Read on for details about each site.
Most people who pass by our Public Art Youth Employment worksites are nothing short of supportive and encouraging, but on very rare occasions, you encounter a detractor. In this short video, Creative Art Works Youth Apprentice Sophia Ridley shares her story about finding her voice when confronted by an aggressive critic.
We have two stories for you this week. First, thunderstorms did not dampen the spirits of a dozen volunteers from CAW's long-time supporters JLL who visited two of our summer mural sites. Second, students in a CAW integrated art unit at the JCC's Math and Literacy Camp got to explore three ancient civilizations -- including exploring the caves of Lascaux with a torch!
Today the Multimedia Team joined the Youth Employees from Renaissance School of the Arts on a field trip to The Museum of the City of New York. CAW Teaching Artist Assistant Kito Kirtley said she wanted her students to be encouraged to make art of their own.
The CAW Youth Apprentices designing a Mural for Renaissance School of the Arts calls themselves, “Murally Minded.” During a client presentation on Monday, July 20th, “Murally Minded” presented their design to the Renaissance administration and teaching staff and leaders from the local community. CAW Executive Director Brian Ricklin and Program Director Anthony González were also in attendance.
Art is such an immediate way of communicating, because it bypasses language and gets to the essence of an idea. During the second week of the CAW Summer Public Art Youth Employment Program, our Youth Apprentices explored the power of symbols to tell a complex story.
CAW returns to our roots in the heart of East Harlem. This neighborhood, also know as El Barrio, has a long tradition of expressing its vibrant culture through public art. Youth Apprentices will be painting a large-scale mural on the east-facing exterior wall of the Renaissance School of the Arts (RSA). But before they start on the wall, they will participate in a number exercises to sharpen their skills.
The Creative Art Works Multimedia Team is in a unique position. These young people - along with their teaching artists - are charged with telling the authentic stories that emerge from our Public Art Youth Employment Program and to observe and interpret what develops from the interplay of art-making, youth employment, and community engagement. But since the Multimedia team is a CAW employment program in its own right, these Youth Apprentices will be telling their own stories as well, through photography, video, reporting, and blogging.