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Art as an Agent of Change

A Message from Karen

“Back to school.” Those words evoke a lot of mixed feelings: excitement and anxiety, joy and sadness, reflection and anticipation. I know it’s an emotional time for my kids, and they are not shy about sharing their thoughts.The start of the school year shines a spotlight on one of the biggest pressure points of raising children as well – in some ways we wish our kids would stay kids forever, but we are also aware that our real job is to raise healthy and successful grown-ups. 
This is the same aspiration that drives everything we do at Creative Art Works. I often tell people that, at Creative Art Works, we are not in the business of developing professional artists – we are in the business of developing more capable adults. Art is the tool, the catalyst, we use to do that. Watching an art project emerge in front of your eyes provides visible proof of your own progress, which builds confidence and demonstrates that effort can lead to success.

Art teaches us that there is more than one way to approach a task and that there may be more than one correct answer to a problem. Art offers visual and kinesthetic learners and non-linear thinkers a chance to blossom.
This back-to-school season, Creative Art Works is providing in-school, out-of-school time and community programs in public schools, libraries and community centers across Upper Manhattan, including classes in portfolio prep, integrative learning, cartooning, visual narrative and multimedia.

We are introducing a recently developed curriculum called Art Around the World at our free Saturday programs at the Inwood Public Library and the United Palace of Cultural Arts. We are also particularly excited to be developing a new integrative learning program in Anatomy and Physiology at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School. These and other CAW programs are helping our young people to look both inward and outward, building the creativity, confidence, and collaborative and critical thinking skills they'll need as they venture out into the world on their own.
I am excited to tell you about some of the great things CAW is doing this fall, as well as to take a glance back at some of the public art brought to life by our Youth Employees in recent weeks. Of course, none of these vital programs would be possible without the generous support of our donors. Your contributions make a world of difference.

Yours truly,

Karen Jolicoeur
Director of Development

PS: At 9:00 AM on Sunday, November 8th, I will be part of a team of runners participating in the Generosity 5K, a race to raise money for Creative Art Works. Please consider running with us or supporting any of our dedicated runners. Thank you!

You can find out more about the Generosity 5k HERE.
We Need Runners!!!

Join us for the the Generosity NYC 5K Walk/Run!
Raise funds for Creative Art Works!
Win glory and great freebies for yourself!

Exploring the World Around You

This fall, Creative Art Works introduced a recently developed curriculum to our free Saturday art workshops at the Inwood Branch of The New York Public Library and the United Palace of Cultural ArtsArt Around the World invites students to explore representative works of art from different cultures.  
Through hands-on projects and related readings, students develop visual literacy and begin to make connections between themselves and the world around them. While each unit works as a stand-alone project, the lessons in the Saturday program are designed to build upon each other.
“We start with self-portraits in the first lesson, then move to family portraits in the second, and a community mural in the third,” says Program Manager Lance Paladino. “The fourth lesson, entitled “From the Center Out,” is an exploration of mandalas from all over the world. This project serves as a segue for the students to discover world communities and the artwork the people in those communities make.”

This virtual world tour began with stops in Mexico and Texas. In the first class, students looked at the work of  Frida Kahlo as inspiration for their own self-portraits. For the second class, the young artists learned about the work of narrative painter Carmen Lomas Garza from her books Family Pictures (Cuadros de Familia) and In My Family (In Mi Familia).  Then the students created their own family portraits using a watercolor with crayon resist method. Future classes will explore art from the Dogon people of West Africa and the Inuit of Greenland.

Classes continue through the winter. Please download and post a flyer for Inwood Public Library in ENGLISH HERE and in SPANISH HERE. For United Palace of Cultural Arts, you can download the flyer in ENGLISH HERE and in SPANISH HERE. You can also share our Facebook Post HERE

Exploring the World Within

Creative Art Works Teaching Artist Beata Drozd is teaching Students at A. Philip Randolph Camps High School to draw blood (and hearts and lungs and kidneys). Beata helps students in Dr. Miriam Cusak's Honors Anatomy and Physiology class connect to what they’ve learned about the human body through integrated art projects.   

APR Principal David Fanning says, “There’s buzz around the school about this program. I’m sure CAW's Medical Illustration Lab will help students in the medical track distinguish themselves when applying for college and scholarships.”
Students began by painting the organelles of human cells, such as the nucleolus, mitochondria, ribosomes and endoplasmic reticulum. (You remember those from high school, right?). Later, students created 3D models of the abdominal and thoracic cavity. In subsequent weeks, they will be using mixed media to create the organs that fill those cavities. The art is powerful tool for the students to develop a deeper understanding that each organ has a specific function and also works as part of a larger system. 
Beata says, “Even though most of these students have little or no previous experience with creating art, they are so focused and determined to do well. That makes for a great class. And “Dr. C.” is a great partner.” 

Beata studied painting at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at the University of the Arts London and video and photography at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. She began her career painting portraits for many prominent New Yorkers and creating commissions for such establishments as The NY Friars Club and The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. Beata also teaches art at the Lyceum Kennedy French-American School and other institutions.  

CAW will be launching a Pinterest page that will chronicle the ongoing development of this program. The first post of medical models is scheduled, appropriately, for the end of October – just in time for Halloween!


Painting Near a Path Less Traveled and at the Crossroads of the World

CAW Youth Employees created more murals this summer than in any previous year. A pair of late summer mural projects provided additional work for two teams of “CAW All-Star” Youth Employees. The young people selected for these late summer programs were all CAW veterans, most of whom live in or near the neighborhood where their public art was created.   
"The Creative Keepers" in front of the new mural at the entrance to Isham Park. Back Row: Teaching Artist Assistant Kito Kirtley, Johanna, Alsyssa, Elsie, Camila, Kiara. Front Row: Ellington, Trevonna, Teaching Artist Jocelyn Goode-Morgan, Nicole.

The first of these two murals was at the Broadway Entrance to Isham Park in Inwood. The mural celebrates the diversity of the Inwood community and the beauty of the neighborhood’s green spaces. Read more about the history of this mural site in an excellent article by Lindsay Armstrong on by clicking HERE. Check out photos of the project on the CAW blog HERE

The second of the late summer murals was completed at one of the most visible locations in Upper Manhattan – the plaza below the Harlem-125th Street Metro North Station, now known as Uptown Grand Central“Harlem Sunrise” was painted as part of a larger plan to activate the space under the Park Avenue viaduct in collaboration with New Harlem East Merchants Association (NHEMA) and the New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYCDOT) DOT ART program. NHEMA is spearheading efforts to transform the underused space into a vibrant pedestrian plaza with community programming as well as capital improvements. 

CAW Executive Director Brian Ricklin, CAW Youth Employees Qiana Hill, Ashanti Albert, Christopher Mitchell, Jhoan Castellanos and NY City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito at the official unveiling of "Harlem Sunrise."

The mural unveiling was attended by members of the New York City Council who are sponsoring the revitalization of East Harlem. Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Council Member Inez E. Dickens both addressed the crowd. Other notable attendees included NYCDOT Assistant Commissioner of Urban Design + Art + Wayfinding, Wendy Feuer; NYCDOT Program Coordinator Courtney Whitelocke; representatives of Manhattan Community Board 11, The Office of the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewerand staff and board members of NHEMA.  

You can hear a one-minute clip from radio station WFUV in which CAW Executive Director Brian Ricklin discusses the importance of “Harlem Sunrise” HERE.

CAW Teachers and Students Join Artists from Around the World to Make Monumental Offerings in El Barrio and the South Bronx

Creative Art Works was proud to participate in MonumentArt, an international mural festival that brought together nine outstanding mural artists from around the world to paint monumental works of public art in the South Bronx and Manhattan’s East Harlem/El Barrio neighborhood. CAW Teaching Artists and Youth Employees participating in the creation of three MonumentArt murals with internationally acclaimed artists Elizam EscobarLuis Vidal and Viajero  

Viajero's mural on immigration and community at PS 102 in El Barrio.

On October 9th, CAW hosted a related community art-making event that explored the subject of immigration and community in conjunction with Viajero’s multimedia mural, which depicts a young boy in a giant paper boat. Participants from the neighborhood around Jacques Cartier Elementary School (PS 102) were invited to inscribe scores of colorful paper boats with a personal message to represent the many voices of the people who live in the El Barrio Community. Viajero (a.k.a Adrian Daniel Roman) will incorporate these boats into his final presentation.
We particularly like the sentiment expressed on one boat, which read, “Home is the place where we make memories.”
You can find out more about MonumentArt on our blog. You can read more about the community art project at PS 102 on our Facebook Page.    ​

CAW Celebrates Dia de los Muertos at Hope Community's Fall Fest 2015

Creative Art Works joined Hope Community, Inc., for Fall Fest 2015. Nearly 100 kids dropped by CAW's free art table on 104th Street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington to decorate drawings of traditional Mexican Day of the Dead skulls.   

Despite its morbid-sounding name and proximity to Halloween, Dia de los Muertos (November 2nd), is actually a celebration of familial love. The holiday celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. One of the traditions central to this holiday is the creation of self-portraits in the form of sugar skulls. These whimsical caricatures are presented as gifts to remind the recipient that life is sweet but also short, so love your friends and family while you may.

We really enjoy making art in our lives, and we love sharing that joy with our extended family -- the communities of Upper Manhattan!

Support CAW in the Generosity NYC 5K

Generosity NYC is a 5K Run/Walk that will raise funds for Creative Art Works. The race will take place on November 8th, in beautiful Riverside Park on the Upper West Side. Participants will receive free tee shirts, baseball caps and participation medals. CAW staff will be on hand to cheer on the runners.   

You can support the runner or the team of your choice by clicking HERE.
Or, if you feel like a real challenge, you can participate in the race yourself or join an existing team by going HERE. Click on the CAW logo and then click on the button that says, “register.”

Come run with us!
Donors can pledge any amount they wish to support a runner. For individual race participants, there is a registration fee of $20 and a minimum raise of $200. For more information, call CAW at (646) 424-0392 or email

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Creative Art Works Creative Art Works provides dynamic visual arts and multimedia experiences to New York City youth. Students are never charged for participation. Our in-school and out-of-school-time classes, community art-making events, and public art youth employment programs build confidence, unlock a love of learning, and create profound connections between our young people and their communities.
Copyright © 2015 Creative Art Works, All rights reserved.

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