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.
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“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.
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!
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.
Creative Art Works is offering an after-school art-making program for second-grade students at PS 192 in Hamilton Heights. We sat in on a class on making self-portraits that engaged a very energetic group of young artists on many levels. Not only did students this literacy-based program have an opportunity to make art, they also developed public speaking, problem-solving, fine motor and observation skills.
All art-making is an act of communication. The processes that surround exhibiting artwork — the development of artists’ statements, the receiving of feedback and recognition — are essential elements in supporting the development of a sense of agency: the belief that intentional, creative action can transform the world around us.
Home is where the heart is, and CAW’s heart has been in El Barrio ever since we began offering arts programs there 30 years ago. We are excited to be offering a new art workshop for families with young children at Artspace PS109 every Saturday in February.
“Kids at this age want to tell their own stories. The cartooning class gives them the skills and the opportunity to do that.”
CAW Teaching Artist Tom Palmer
“To be honest, I’m excited that my name will be on it and it’s in my neighborhood,” she said. “But it’s also great to know that we could build back from what happened a few years ago and create something beautiful.”
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.
Each Public Youth Employment Program has a unique personality, depending on the participants, the client, the theme of the project and even the weather. Today we have two different perspectives about youth employment, one mature and reasoned, and one young and joyful. I hope you enjoy both of them.
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!
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.