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empowerment

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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A Place of Shelter

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A Place of Shelter

This summer, Creative Art Works is offering drop-in classes for children, pre-teens, and teens, at the Children's Center in Lower Manhattan, an ACS short-term housing facility. The temporary nature of residency at Children's Center means that young people can only participate in a handful of classes, and their experience and skills vary greatly. It's a challenging environment, but we have the right people for the job.

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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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Community: Well-Done with a Side of Fries

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Community: Well-Done with a Side of Fries

The management team of the popular burger franchise Shake Shack commissioned Creative Art Works to produce a mural that will wrap around the front and side of their new location on 125th Street in Harlem because they recognize the power of CAW’s Public Art Youth Employment programs to connect stakeholders – including our Youth Apprentices – to their communities.

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The Best Day I've Had in Months!

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The Best Day I've Had in Months!

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!

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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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Many Hands Make Light Work

Many Hands Make Light Work

CAW Youth Apprentices from Queensbridge Houses and Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement came together one Saturday to beautify "Baby" Park in Queensbridge. An outpouring of community support created a memorable day and a mural that will last for many years.



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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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.

A Time and Space to Be a Kid

A Time and Space to Be a Kid

This fall, Creative Art Works is offering some of New York City’s most vulnerable youth an opportunity to connect with themselves and their community, develop their own voice and, simply enjoy a healthy and creative experience. CAW is providing two after-school art programs to young children and teens living in the Children’s Center, a transitional residence run by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) for young people who are awaiting foster care placement.