“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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”