Creative Art Work's' newest mural, Momentum, was commissioned by Dock 72 and a partnership between Boston Properties and Rudin Management. It celebrates the past and anticipates the future of Dock 72 and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At 10 feet high and 150 feet long, the grand scale of the mural will be visible from the Manhattan Bridge and across the East River when it is installed along a ferry slip this fall.
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.
“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.
Stop-motion animation is a multidisciplinary art form that incorporates writing, sculpture, painting and digital video techniques. For this project, students wrote short scenes, built miniature sets, and designed characters using modeling clay. That part of the process is limited only by the imagination of the artist. Animating the characters, by contrast, requires patience, planning, and communication.
West Harlem has witnessed tremendous historical and cultural changes over the past decades, and senior residents of Randolph Houses on West 114th Street have stories to tell. Creative Art Works, in collaboration with West Harlem Group Assistance, assembled a team of fourteen Youth Apprentices, recruited from residents of Randolph Houses and students from Innovations Diploma Plus High School, to interview and photograph the elders of Randolph Houses and capture oral histories of this dynamic neighborhood.
Kids at ACS Children’s Center are experiencing extraordinary circumstances at a young age, yet they remain resilient and they persevere. They are generally kind and loving to each other and adults. They have open hearts. These are also really smart. They are curious and eager to share their knowledge & interests. And their desire to create is palpable. Children seem to find their way into the art room.
As an undergraduate, I studied with Stanley Whitney, who taught me to embrace the unpredictable nature of color. Stanley said you have to admit that some things are beyond your control. When your paints don’t do what you want them to do, you have to turn that into an opportunity. That’s one of the axioms in my classroom, “There are no mistakes in art!”
In the internet age, when social media platforms allow young people to instantly broadcast their thoughts and opinions to the world with a just a few taps on their smart phone, face-to-face conversations can seem quaint, if not downright low-tech. Yet impromptu speaking is a skill that both kids and adults use every day in school, with friends and family, and on the job. In January, students in CAW after-school art workshops had a chance to talk about their art to friends, family, teachers and administrative staff in RL (real-life) at culmination events.
Any parent who has ever read a picture book to their child knows that some days the child will insist that it’s their turn to tell the story. As young children look at pictures, they naturally tell stories about what might be happening. They do this with their parents, their siblings, their classmates and their teachers. By constructing their own meanings about what they see, children become active creators of their own knowledge.
How can a social media post help students better understand the motivations of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird? What qualities do Greek gods share with everyday heroes? These are questions that students in Creative Art Works' integrated arts programs are contemplating with this fall.
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.
Art can engage kids and adults alike in self-care – in physical activity, mental health, and personal safety. As clearer and crisper air seems to finally be arriving in NYC, Creative Art Works will be continuing, and in some cases expanding, many of our successful programs in Active Design and Mental Health by Design.
"...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!"
When we first met the Youth Apprentices of the 2017 Multimedia Team, most of them were complete beginners. It was the ambitious task of these young documentarians to tell the stories of our Youth Apprentices on our five summer Public Art Youth Employment projects. In just six weeks, they had to find their ideas, master skills, and tell amazing stories. We are totally blown away by the short films they created.
"...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.
Several of CAW’s literacy-based programs this spring invited students to explore point of view, mood and identity as represented in classic works of art as a means of better understanding these same devices in writing.
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.
Daniel’s Bergman was hired as Creative Art Works’ new Program Director to build on our legacy of creative youth development. Daniel has thirty years of experience as an arts educator and administrator in schools, nonprofits and museums. His career has been dedicated to the power of inquiry-based, hands-on arts education.
What follows below are excerpts from an hour-long conversation in which we talked about CAW’s mission, the difference between teaching art and creative youth development, teaching art with integrity, and the up-side of failure.