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“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech if possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.”
-- Margaret Atwood

From Program Director Daniel Bergman

Student with Models of Human OrgansThrough all our creative youth development programs, we provide opportunities for young people to discover their voices and to make artwork that is personally relevant. It is the task of every serious artist to find his or her voice: to discover and nurture the inner landscape of ideas, emotions and experiences and develop the visual vocabulary to make them manifest. Voice isn’t a passing fancy, nor can it be imposed from the outside. Instead it is an expression of the unique qualities of each individual.

Finding one's voice is a process. It involves trial and error, imitation, iteration and innovation, grit, determination, careful thinking, and a healthy dose of guidance from teachers and peers. That is the literal definition of education: to draw out what is already inside the student and help them develop and form their own ideas.

We take this notion of voice seriously. As the school year comes to a close and our programs begin wrapping up, we honor each residency with a culminating event centered around youths voices.

At celebrations over the past few weeks, many young people took center stage and thrilled us with their poise and eloquence, as they reflected on their art work, their learning, and the impact authentic art-making has had on their sense of self. Others — some first timers, others with special needs, or just with a sudden bout of nerves — struggled to remember what they had planned to say, or battled fits of giggles, or wrestled with balky microphones. It was inspiring to see how the gathered communities rallied to support those whose voices were just beginning to emerge. At each event, if a young person became flustered, someone — a friend, a family member, a teacher or teaching artist — would call out, "You've got this!" And then everybody would applaud to show their support. Buoyed by their communities, these young artists found the courage to speak their truths, to give voice to their experiences, to shatter the powerlessness of silence.

Andy Levin, Karen Jolicoeur and APR Student Kevin SmartThis month, we present to you stories about process from our in-school and out-of-school time classes, stories that reveal young people developing a sense of empathy, a sense of community, and a sense of self. 

Yours truly,
Daniel Bergman
Program Director

Art Lights Up Literature

Integrated art programs bring assigned texts to life

Student with art workSeveral 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. 
The Visual Narrative class, which was made possible through a grant from long-standing supporter West Harlem Development Corporation, was offered to both eighth-graders at Hamilton Grange Middle School and ninth-graders at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School with the intention of creating continuity across grades. The challenging reading selections included The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time offers a look inside the very literal mind of a 15-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome. To understand point of view, students in the Visual Narrative Program offered the world a figurative glimpse into their own minds with symbolic self-portraits. 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower deals with the search for self-identity in the face of adolescent traumas. These subjective portraits aim to capture the inner emotions of the characters in the book. 
Fuerza PaintingStudents in the Dual Language Learning program at APRCH used art to explore the literary device of sense of place. About half the students in this bilingual immersion program grew up with English as their primary language while the other half are English Language Learners and Spanish heritage speakers, but all of them live in a multicultural community, and many of them have family in other countries. 
For their final project, students created a painting that represents their home (or "hogar" in Spanish). They then wrote artists statements in both English and Spanish that explain how their painting relates to their sense of personal identity and their place in the world. 
Paintings based on the literary concept of "sense of place" by students in the Dual Language Learning program at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School. 
"During this project, I gave my best to make a powerful painting, to combine color, paint, drawing, sketching, and to learn from Ms Jaffia and from my classmates... My experience in this art program has been full of laughter, learning and hard work.  Now I see my classmates not only as friends but as my complementary colors." 
- Kimberly Geraldine
Dual Language Learning Integrative Art Lab

In a Perfect World

Students in after-school Urban Design program design a neighborhood that meets their needs

Take a walk around the neighborhood: See the Isaac Newton Middle School students' vision for their community in 35 seconds.
Students in Creative Art Works' after-school Urban Design program at Isaac Newton Middle School are getting hands-on experience in providing for the varied needs of a community. When asked to re-envision their neighborhood, they made provisions for housing, recreation, education, commerce, transportation, energy, public health, and other services.

Working individually or in pairs, students constructed models of schools, shops, playgrounds, parks, apartment blocks and streets complete with bike lanes and pedestrian bridges, and then collectively assembled these structures into a single model of a holistic neighborhood. 
"I designed a science museum and placed it next to the school so teachers can take kids there, because science is about facts, and there’s not enough facts in the world these days."
- Isaac Newton Middle School Student
You can take a virtual walk around the neighborhood by clicking HERE or on the photo above. The clip is only 35 seconds long, but the vision of our students is breath-taking. 

The Urban Design program is offered in conjunction with Citizen Schools

Wearing Your Heart on Your Feet

Sneaker Design programs offer young people an opportunity to create their own personal brands

Zebra SneakersThere’s a lot of one-of-a-kind footwear gracing the streets of Harlem this week, thanks to after-school Sneaker Design Programs at Global Tech Prep, Isaac Newton Middle School, and the NYCHA Polo Grounds Cornerstone Community Center. The program at the Polo Grounds, offered in collaboration with the Police Athletic League, included a marketing component as well.
Blue and Yellow SneakersStudents drew inspiration from fashion trends, top designers, and existing sneaker brands to design unique wearable pieces of art. Working meticulously through all the phases of the design process, students started with concept drawings before progressing to 3D models in clay, then, finally, transferring their favorite design idea onto an actual pair of sneakers. The reward for their hard work and patience was to walk away in a pair of wearable artworks. 

Students presented their final sneaker designs, as well as all the associated prototypes and concept designs, at celebrations at each venue. 

Meet the Artist

Niera Simmons walks us through her design process

We took a few minutes to talk with first-time designer Niera Simmons about her first pair of designer sneakers at last week's launch party at the NYCHA Polo Grounds Cornerstone Community Center. Niera is 17 years old and a senior at Frederick Douglass Academy. This was her first experience with a CAW Program. 


So, you are graduating soon. What's up next for you?
I got accepted to City Tech, so, hopefully, I’ll go there and get my associate degree. But I might transfer to Alfred State (SUNY College of Technology). I’m thinking of studying liberal arts, because it’s a little bit of everything, so it gives me a better view of everything and all the job choices out there.
What did you like best about the Sneaker Branding Program?
I like that I was able to express my feelings through drawing and there wasn’t a wrong way or right way to say something; it was based on your own feelings.
Tell me about your logo? I see a sun rising over an open book.
The sun represents new beginnings, and the book has sparkles coming out of it to represent imagination.
What inspired the design of your sneakers?
When I think of imagination, I think of cartoons, because they are always unexpected and they are not typical. So, my design is based on Adventure Time, which is my favorite cartoon. The character I choose to illustrate is Marceline the Vampire Queen and vampires are mostly known to come out at night, so the whole orange and brown sunset colors are based on that.
Are you ever going to wear these sneakers or are you going to try and keep them brand new forever?
I’m definitely going to put these in a glass box, because this is my first pair of designed sneakers. Maybe if I make more, I’ll wear those, but this pair is special, so I’m never letting anyone touch them! 

Encouraging Teens to Talk Back 

Students in Food Countermarketing program take aim at sugary drinks

Countermarketing is the use of commercial marketing tactics to promote pro-health messages, and discourage behaviors such as smoking or consuming unhealthy foods. This spring, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute invited CAW to participate in a counter-marketing program at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School.

Under the guidance of Teaching Artists Liza Cucco and Miah Artola, students concentrated their efforts on the harmful effects of sugary drinks, which have been associated with negative health outcomes, including tooth decay, sleep disorders, obesity and diabetes. Working in teams or individually, they created posters for a collaborative campaign aimed at reducing demand for these harmful drinks. 

Drawing with Your Ears

Blindfolded drawing exercise in Forensic Art Program produces surprising results

The Forensic Art class at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School, which is integrated with the science curriculum, encourages “lateral thinking,” or solving problems through an indirect and creative approach. 

As part of a unit on how environment influences individual perception, CAW Teaching Artist Abraham Salazar challenged students to “draw by ear.” Students listened to instrumental music with their eyes closed and allowed the rhythm and melody to direct their hands as they drew with colored markers on paper. Next, they examined their “blindfolded” drawings to find a point of interest to expand upon or emphasize. At each stage of the process, students paused to discuss their unique experiences. 

New Board Members

Creative Art Works Welcomes Jamie Watson and Bevin Savage-Yamazaki

Jamie Watson was a 2017 Creative Art Works Benefit for Kids Co-Chair. After attending a tour of our Midtown murals and observing several of our programs, she became an ardent supporter of, and advocate for, our work. 

Jamie heads her own company, Watson + Associates, which provides architectural and design services to corporate and nonprofit organizations. Her clients include Duquesne Capital Management, First Manhattan Company, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation. Jamie received the 2015 Jessica Cosgrave Award, given to alumnae of Finch College who have distinguished themselves in their careers and contributed to their communities. She shares her passion for the arts with her husband, Emmett Watson, whose career was in capital campaign and planned gifts at The Museum of Modern Art and Columbia University. Jamie and Emmet created a named education fund at MoMA.
Bevin Savage-Yamazaki is a Firmwide Arts & Culture Practice Area Leader, Senior Associate, at GenslerGensler is a vital corporate sponsor of CAW. Bevin has been a Benefit Co-chair since 2016, but was inspired to increase her involvement in Creative Art Works after touring some of our youth-created art. She was moved by Creative Art Works vital role of nurturing students by helping them to define their personal and community identities.

Bevin has worked with renowned artists on various projects in Europe and the US and on the construction of the contemporary art museum Dia:Beacon, in Beacon NY, and on large-scale installations with the New Museum. Bevin helped develop a community engagement process to help NYC branch libraries better program and connect to their surrounding communities. She is currently working with the Ford Foundation on the renewal of their landmarked building in New York City.

Summertime, Summertime...

The July 4th weekend will be here before you know it, but the fireworks really start on July 5th! That's when CAW launches our summer Public Art Youth Employment Program. Check your inbox in five weeks, when we'll fill you in on our new mural sites, our multimedia team and our guest artists. It's going to be hot!
Equip. Connect. Inspire. 
Copyright © 2017 Creative Art Works, All rights reserved.

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