“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
“One thing I learned painting this mural was patience. I had a lot of arguments with my teammates over the summer, but I had to learn to get over it. We used a lot of tools this summer, but two big ones were compassion and teamwork.”
– CAW Youth Apprentice Floyd Thompson
"Most of us took this job in order to make money, but something else came out of it – we also helped our families, we contributed to the Bronx Renaissance. I learned that when a community comes together and we work hard, we can get something done, and the whole community will be improved by it, they will enjoy it, and they will respect it."
– CAW Youth Apprentice Gabriel Bono
Creative Art Works has produced many fine murals in and around Jacob Schiff School Campus which is home to our program partners, Hamilton Grange Middle School and PS 192. CAW murals inside the campus and along 138th Street include Magic with Logic, Dreams of a Creative Revolution, Migrations, and The More You Give the More You Grow. This summer, our Youth Apprentices added a stunning new mural to this impressive collection. Peace of Our Time celebrates the history and cultural diversity of Hamilton Heights and pays homage to the contributions of migrant communities.
This summer, Creative Art Works hired a Shay Epps, a former Youth Apprentice, to work as our Field Correspondent for our summer Public Art Youth Employment program. Shay was our eyes and ears on the ground, visiting all six of our worksites on a regular basis until she became a familiar presence. Shay demonstrated a gift for capturing candid photos and honest interviews. We asked her to reflect on her experiences.
“This art is magnificent.…when our families see this art, they too will be positive instead of negative. They too will be hopeful instead of hopeless. Your art is beautiful. You are bringing beauty to our families. Your art is interesting. When they're waiting for their cases to be called, they now have something to contemplate. Your art is inspiring. Your art is thoughtful. Your art says “Yes!”
- Bronx Family Court Judge Karen Lupuloff
Wow, I loved that film. It speaks to the work that we do… to help girls write and form their own stories around social justice issues. Because, if a girl can tell her story and save her own life, she can save the lives of girls everywhere. And you do that through this film, and all the other films – you make a difference.
Sculpture is meant to be viewed from all angles. This creates unique challenges for both the artist and the audience. This spring, after-school programs at MS 254 in The Bronx andPS/MS 278 in Manhattan challenged students to expand their definition of what sculpture looks like. The results include abstract sculptures made from nylon stockings, three-dimensional self-portraits, and gigantic household items such as sunglasses, playing cards and headphones.
“Kids at this age can be territorial about art materials. They think in terms of ‘my paper,’ and ‘my paint.’ So, when they are asked to share a single sheet of paper, their instinct is to draw a line down the middle and stick to their side. But when they discover that mixing their colors and joining their lines together can create something unexpected, they warm up to the idea of collaborating.” — Teaching Artist Laura Mychal
Many people have inscribed farewell notes in their classmates’ yearbooks, but how many people can say they left a positive message that will be seen by hundreds of students for years to come? This spring, Creative Art Works is proud to have helped two groups of students not only set their sights on college, but leave beacons of inspiration writ large for others who would follow their lead.
On April 29, 2019, Deputy Director Karen Jolicoeur was delighted to represent Creative Art Works at an oversight hearing of the New York City's City Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations. The subject at hand was the Cultural After School Adventures (CASA) Initiative, which brings high-quality arts partnerships to New York City public schools, particularly in underserved communities. As Karen makes clear in her brief statement, there are many ancillary benefits to CASA programs.
“Kids at this age are perfectly ready to create stories. Characters spill from their brains. These characters might be the product of an active imagination, or a response to something they read in books or saw on TV, or they may possibly be a way of processing their own personal development.”
— CAW Teaching Artist Ayla Rexroth on student-created cartoon characters in the Cartoon and Anatomy program at Hamilton Grange Middle School.
Going back to school to earn your high school diploma can be a struggle; so can wrestling with complex issues of social justice. In a CAW integrated art class at Innovations Diploma Plus High School in Manhattan, students are challenged to do both.
Creating a short animated video is a whole lot of fun. It’s also a whole lot of work. Bringing a few seconds of animated video to life requires hours of planning, patience, and persistence. In this Creative Art Works’ after-school program, students learned the many skills needed to bring their creative vision to life.
The self-portrait project is among our most joyous; it goes straight to the core of Creative Art Works’ mission to equip, connect, and inspire NYC kids through the artistic process. Above and beyond learning technical drawing skills, our students explore their sense of identity. As they learn how to render themselves within a setting of their choosing, they imagine their place in the world and the contributions they will make to it. And wow, do we love what they see! Their optimism -- their sense of power and possibility for the future -- is all a delight to behold, and fills us with hope.
As part of our work with schools, we often invite parents to enter more deeply into the learning environment through Family Engagement workshops. These weekend and evening events allow parents to explore art-making firsthand – to experience the curiosity, creativity, and even joy inherent in the process, and to witness it in their children. We can't send a CAW Teaching Artist to your home to lead a Family Engagement workshop, but we can do the next best thing. This week’s blog includes instructions for a simplified printmaking project that you can do at home with your kids. Save it for a snowy afternoon, or make some Pinterest-worthy holiday cards today!
Sometimes, good things come in threes. This past November, several Creative Art Works students and Youth Apprentices earned recognition from local, national and international organizations. We are beyond proud of our young people and we would like to share their accomplishments with you.
During a demonstration of an integrated art project, the Creative Art Works board of directors got to make their own kinetic sculptures inspired by the work of Alexander Calder. The response was so enthusiastic that we’ve decided to share with you four art projects you can do at home with your family and friends.