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Summer Programs

Seeing the Big Picture

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Seeing the Big Picture

“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

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Every Day Is a New Day

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Every Day Is a New Day

“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

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One Big Family

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One Big Family

"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

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Love. Compassion. Community.

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Love. Compassion. Community.

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.

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An Unforgettable Summer

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An Unforgettable Summer

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.

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Positive. Hopeful. Confident.

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Positive. Hopeful. Confident.

“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

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Make a Film, Make a Difference

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Make a Film, Make a Difference

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.

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Shout Out to Our Students

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Shout Out to Our Students

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.

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Short Films, Worthy Subjects

Short Films, Worthy Subjects

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

So Much More

So Much More

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.

Summer of Love at The Winter Garden

Summer of Love at The Winter Garden

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.”

We Are Family

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We Are Family

“The family that I’ve created outside of my blood
Molded me into the person I want to be
And the greater idea is that my life has just begun
And my train ride ain’t over yet.”

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Rising to the Top

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Rising to the Top

The 18 Youth Apprentices who designed this mural wanted to offer a message of hope and unity to the young people of the South Bronx, and to inspire them to pursue their passions and make healthy life choices. This message informs the symbolism of the mural. As a storm clears behind them, two PAL kids, supported by lily pads, work together to unlock the magic of their potential futures. The water illy symbolizes resilience and strength, as it gestates in the mud and rises to the top of the pond to bloom as a beautiful flower.

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Lightning Strikes Twice

Lightning Strikes Twice

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.

Six Reasons to be optimistic

Six Reasons to be optimistic

“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.

Meshack Merills Brings Down the House

Meshack Merills Brings Down the House

"...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!"

On the Job with CAW Youth Apprentice Cyrell Primo

On the Job with CAW Youth Apprentice Cyrell Primo

"...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.