Monthly Archives: December 2010

Arts [NEED] to Grow

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This article, “Muslim Voices of Philadelphia,” from Philantopic, a blog by Philanthropy News Digest, describes a really exciting film project that is currently happening in Philadelphia.  This collaborative oral history media project is sponsored by the Scribe Media Center.

Here at Arts to Grow, we are all about bringing the arts to young students and inspiring them to love learning while they develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and innovation.  Well, someday these kids will grow up and we hope that their education will enable them to do great things.  

The film project in Philly is just one of thousands of examples of ways that the arts are used for a greater good, such as a social commentary or a documentation of history. In this case, the film finds a creative means of expressing the culture and experiences of Muslims in America.  It fosters a sense of community among the citizens of Philadelphia and promotes the appreciation of diversity through film.  A great use of the creative arts!

Creative Film Project Inspires the Appreciation of Diversity

Student Art Show at Riverdale Neighborhood House

Last week, the visual arts class at Riverdale Neighborhood House, taught by Miguel Cossio, hosted an exhibition of their work. The exhibit showcased works many mediums, including watercolor, acrylic paint, clay and wire sculpture, and monoprint. Attention to lighting and shadow, three-dimensionality, and color relationships were evident in the students work, and it was clear that these budding artists really put their all into these pieces! Each student took a turn talking about their work to the audience, and reflecting on what it was like to experiment with new mediums and techniques. Here are a few highlights from the exhibit. As always, check out our Flickr page for more photos from our programs!

Final Performance at P.S. 7

This fall’s theater class at P.S. 7 on Jamaica Ave in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, wrapped up the semester with an outstanding final performance last Monday night for parents and friends. Our newest teaching artist, Gardiner Comfort, taught four groups of 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. Each group had about 25 students and met once a week from September through December. In just 10 short sessions, students had the opportunity to learn introductory theater skills, focusing on character development, vocalization, movement, and stage direction.

For the culminating performance, each group showcased a specific theater exercise that they had learned in class. The performances gave each student their own opportunity to be in the spotlight, as well as demonstrating how the group works together as an ensemble. The students tested each other’s improv skills with prompts such as “act like a bear,” “tomatoes are being thrown at you,” and “tragic death scene” which were acted out in a variety of creative and humorous ways.

A great end to a great semester at P.S. 7!

Jordan Grubb blogs about partnering with ATG for the 2010 Winter Formal

“As the 6th Annual Winter Formal approaches, I’m getting more and more excited to raise money for such a wonderful organization.  In years past, this event has been a night to gather people from my academic and theatre communities together to share a night of holiday fun.  For the first time ever, I’m harnessing a wonderful and supportive community of friends and fellow artists and collecting donations for a charity.  From the beginning, I knew I wanted to help a charity in the arts, but when I researched organizations, the plethora of options became slightly overwhelming.  When I came across Arts to Grow, though, something just clicked.  Reading the stories on the many children who are artistically unnourished struck a definitive cord.  Coming from a school myself where arts programs were routinely discounted, I understand how difficult it can be to find support.  As a working actor today, I can’t imagine growing up in a world without a stage.  Through the arts, I’ve met some of the most interesting people, experienced some of the most unique moments, and found a strength within myself that, without a shadow of a doubt, gave me the courage to know thyself and become a true individual.  On December 19th, as we are ringing in the holiday season, I want to bring attention to the fact that there are kids out there with a burning desire to learn.  Some of these kids want to be engineers.  Others may want to be scientists, construction workers, or what have you, but there will always be a group of students who want to be artists, and if we can’t give them the proper education in that field, we’re depriving them and ourselves of a bright future.  There’s a lot of work to be done from now until Sunday, but I know it’s going to be one of most memorable nights of the year.  I’ll keep you posted.”


“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”  ~Twyla Tharp


The Honor Roll

“The Arts Action Fund graded the members of the U.S. Senate on their support for the arts…we used criteria like voting in support of the arts, joining the Senate Arts Caucus, and more. Senators had 3 opportunities to vote on the arts during the past 2 years—from including the arts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to supporting public art along our nation’s highways to ensuring museums received federal funds. Your senators had the chance to stand up for the arts and many of them rose to the occasion.

Whether they speak out in support of the arts, are aware of the economic role the arts play and the well-being they provide in their state, or simply quietly cast their vote, each of the 13 Senators we have featured received an A+ to B+ on their support for the arts. And they aren’t the only ones – in fact there are 37 who received a B+ or above on our Congressional Arts Report Card.”

NY and NJ made the honor roll!

Frank Lautenberg, NJ: A+    

Robert Menendez, NJ: A+

Charles E. Schumer, NY: B+ 

Kristine Gillibrand, NY: A+  “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is aware of the great impact of the more than 335,600 jobs in the arts in New York but has also made sure the arts are accessible to those that aren’t intimately involved. New York Museums Salute Memorial Day was an effort conceived by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Alliance for the Arts and the Museums Association of New York to allow free admission to all active duty service members and veterans at more than 130 participating institutions. It’s creative thinking and support for local and national ideas like this that earns Gillibrand a spot on the Senate Arts Report Card Honor Roll.”

“Sadly, there are also many who failed in their support of the arts. You can learn more about what it means to fail the arts and who these Senators are in the Dirty Dozen feature of the Congressional Arts Report Card.  Whether they blatantly speak out against the arts, say they support the arts and then vote another way, or simply don’t know the economic role the arts play and the well-being they provide in their state, each of the twelve Senators we have featured received an F grade on their support for the arts. Sadly, there are more than twelve Senators who failed the arts this year, in fact there are twenty-eight who received an F on our Congressional Arts Report Card.”

Text and pictures from Americans for the Arts Action Fund.

2010 Report Card Grades Senators on their Commitment to the Arts