Monthly Archives: July 2012

Free Friday! Check Out Free NY/NJ Events!

1. Saturday, July 28

Magic Herb Garden Workshop
Future horticulturists and the next generation of celebrity chefs alike will want to make sure they’re in attendance: this children’s herb workshop at Socrates Sculpture Park teaches kids how to cultivate common cooking herbs right in their own kitchens. After a taste test, kids get to plant and decorate magic herb gardens (using two-liter bottles they can take home). With the skills they learn in the workshop, from noon to 3pm, they’ll be able to tend to their herbs and even use them in their favorite meal—with some culinary help from Mom or Dad, of course.

2. Sunday, July 29

GlassLab at Governors Island
GlassLab brings skilled artists from the Corning Museum of Glass to a mobile glassblowing studio on Governors Island, where they’ll demonstrate the demanding process of creating objects from the material. Sessions take place from 1 to 2:30pm, 3 to 4:30pm and 5 to 6:30pm. To get to Governors Island, take the free ferry from the Battery Maritime Building. While you’re there, explore the island on foot or by bike.

3. Tuesday, July 31

Summer on the Hudson: Shape Up with Yoga
Call it yoga with a view: instructor Jan O’Connell leads enthusiasts through poses on the Hudson River waterfront in West Harlem Piers Park. For the uninitiated, there are a number of benefits—not only does yoga stretch and tone your muscles, it also has a way of making stress melt away (which may be just what you need at 5:30pm on a Tuesday). No prior experience is required, but yoga mats are not provided, so it helps if you have your own to bring along.

[Free NJ events below] 

4. Hereford Inlet Lighthouse 

First & Central Aves North Wildwood (609) 522 4520  
The newly landscaped Lighthouse Cottage and Herb Gardens have won many awards and are visited by thousands each year for Free.

5. David C. Shaw Arboretum

17 Lafayette Place Freehold NJ (732) 431 7903
Open daily, from 8am to dusk. See many cultivars of plants and trees and have a picnic in the picnic area all for Free


Art Helps Increase Literacy

By Randy Kennedy

In an era of widespread cuts in public-school art programs, the question has become increasingly relevant: does learning about paintings and sculpture help children become better students in other areas?

A study to be released today by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum suggests that it does, citing improvements in a range of literacy skills among students who took part in a program in which the Guggenheim sends artists into schools. The study, now in its second year, interviewed hundreds of New York City third graders, some of whom had participated in the Guggenheim program, called Learning Through Art, and others who did not.

The study found that students in the program performed better in six categories of literacy and critical thinking skills — including thorough description, hypothesizing and reasoning — than did students who were not in the program. The children were assessed as they discussed a passage in a children’s book, Cynthia Kadohata’s “Kira-Kira,” and a painting by Arshile Gorky, “The Artist and His Mother.”

The results of the study, which are to be presented today and tomorrow at a conference at the Guggenheim, are likely to stimulate debate at a time when the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind has led schools to increase class time spent on math and reading significantly, often at the expense of other subjects, including art.

Click below to read more!

Free Friday! Check Out Free NY/NJ Events!

1. 2012 Essex County SummerMusic Concert Series Continues Friday at Brookdale Park!

2012 Essex County Free SummerMusic Concert Series continues Friday, July 13th, with a tribute to Journey & The Four Tops, featuring musical groups Separate Ways and Standing in the Shadows at 7:30pm at Brookdale Park. The free annual concert series brings various dynamic groups of musicians to perform at locations throughout the historic Essex County Park System, providing residents with fun, family, friendly entertainment.

Brookdale-Park.jpgBrookdale Park

“Pack a blanket, enjoy the cool evening breeze and dance to the sounds of classical, rock and roll, jazz, big band, Latin and more. We have an amazing line-up that is sure to entertain and impress,” DiVincenzo said.

2. Cape May County Park & Zoo

Rt 9 and Crest Haven Rd Cape May (609) 465 5271 
Over 100 species of wildlife are housed in the beautiful setting of this well maintained zoo. Food concessions are available as well as Picnic areas. Open Daily year round 9 – 5 Admission is Free

3. The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens 

Mountainside park – Upper Montclair NJ
Hilly terrain and wondrous homes are the setting for this beautiful park. See over 4,000 varieties of Irises. Because of its stunning visual and historical appeal, the “Iris Gardens” has been designated a National Historic Site. The best time to view most in bloom is late May into June.This is another greatFree attraction in NJ 


African Burial Ground

One of Lower Manhattan’s most fascinating, and controversial, stories of recent years circulates around the new African Burial Ground National Monument site. It began when a construction project in 1991 uncovered a burial ground of slaves – more than 400 caskets were found – from an age when New York had more slaves than any American city outside Charleston, South Carolina. Outside you can see part of the site now enveloped by buildings, and the compact visitors center does a masterful job at retelling African-American history in the city. See our 76-Second Travel Show episode on the museum’s opening. 290 Broadway between Duane & Elk Sts, Lower Manhattan.


10. General Ulysses S Grant National Memorial (aka ‘Grant’s Tomb’)

Also called ‘Grant’s Tomb’, the $600,000 granite structure that holds the remains of the Civil War hero and 18th president (and his wife Julia) is the largest mausoleum in the US, and is patterned after Mausolus’ tomb at Halicarnassus, making it a plagiarized version of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Riverside Dr at 122nd St, Morningside Heights.

Advocating for Arts in the Classroom

Academic discipline or instrument of personal change?

By Mark Bauerlein 

Every chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts must advocate for arts education. The arts need a voice in power, say people in the field, someone in the corridors of influence to argue the benefits of teaching the nation’s students about classical and jazz music, ballet, and sculpture. With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) emphasizing math and reading, business and manufacturing leaders calling for workplace readiness in our graduates, and politicians citing lagging international competitiveness in science and math, the Arts Endowment chairman must utilize the bully pulpit more than ever before. Dance, music, theater, and visual arts show up ever further down the priority ladder, and arts educators feel that they must fight to maintain even a toehold in the curriculum. The Arts Endowment chairman, they insist, must help.

It is no surprise, then, that in a November 2009 profile in the Wall Street Journal, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Rocco Landesman offers pointed remarks when arts education comes up. Examine closely what he singles out about the field:

When [Landesman] starts talking about his ideas for integrating the arts in education, his rhetoric becomes less bipartisan: “We’re going to try to move forward all the kids who were left behind by ‘No Child Left Behind’—the kids who have talent or a passion or an idiosyncratic perspective. Those kids are important too and they should have a place in society. It’s very often the arts that catches them.”

The emphasis falls on the unusual student, the difficult kid, not on the arts as a subject for study. Landesman doesn’t defend arts education as a rigorous discipline that builds concentration and requires practice, practice, practice. Nor does he say, We need arts education to keep alive the legacy of American art—Thomas Cole, Martha Graham, Duke Ellington… He doesn’t highlight the provocative stuff with something like, We need arts education to train young people to comprehend innovative, boundary-breaking art. Instead, the purpose is salvation. Some students don’t fit the NCLB regime and other subjects don’t inspire them. Talented but offbeat, they sulk through algebra, act up in the cafeteria, and drop out of school. The arts “catch” them and pull them back, turning a sinking ego on the margins into a creative citizen with “a place in society.”

Read More at Education Next!

School arts programs face decline in funding, student participation, survey says

Almost all New Jersey students are being offered some arts education, but not all are taking advantage of it and spending has declined, a report released last week finds.

“There appears to be a narrowing of instruction,” said Bob Morrison, project director for the New Jersey Arts Education Census Project 2011. “The recession has played a role, but we don’t know yet if that is a temporary condition or a long-term negative trend we have to address.”

The 2011 Census is an update to the first survey done in 2006. The current survey results have been posted in an interactive database that allows the public to look up every participating school in the state. All but about 30 schools completed the 2011 survey, and based on the results, 97 percent of students have access to arts education, up from 94 percent in the 2006 survey.

Morrison said socioeconomic factors seem to play more of a role in the current survey, with more affluent districts offering more arts education, but excellent programs can be found in low-income districts. Locally, Absegami High School in Galloway Township, Egg Harbor Township High School, the Texas Avenue School in Atlantic City, Stow Creek Township School in Cumberland County and Stafford Township Intermediate School in Ocean County ranked in the top 10 percent of schools in the state.

Absegami dance teacher Lisa Zeuner knows very well the impact of the recession on arts education. Her program was cut, then saved in 2010 as the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District grappled with a tight budget and crying students pleaded with the school board. On Friday, her Flowmotion class presented its 10th anniversary program at the school.

Among the performers was Kevin Yu, a senior who had no formal training until he joined the introductory dance course as a freshman. He will graduate in June and attend Rutgers University, majoring in dance.

Click the link below to learn more!

Free Friday!

Check out our free events in the NJ/NY Area!

Full Moon Hike at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Moonlight isn’t guaranteed, but there’s plenty to learn about New Jersey’s Great Swamp and the natural world at night on this full-moon hike through an area of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge that is usually off-limits to the general public. Maybe we’ll hear barred owls, or flying squirrels, or even coyotes calling out in the dark! Sharpen your senses as we play some games designed to learn more about what it means to be out after dark without a flashlight. To ensure your participation in this event, please PRE-REGISTER right now at Registration is limited to 20 participants. Permission to access the Management Area of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is granted only during the time specified (7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) and only in the company of the designated GSWA guide.

July 6 from 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
32 Pleasant Plains Rd, Harding Twp, NY
Contact Great Swamp Watershed Association for more information 
973-538-3500 or

2. In NYC, we have a free summerscreen at McCarren Park. NYC!

July 11: Cruel Intentions (1999)
July 18: Raising Arizona (1987)
July 25: Dirty Dancing (1987)
August 1: The Princess Bride (1987)
August 8: Top Gun (1986)
August 15: Audience Pick

3. Queens County Farm Museum

73-50 Little Neck Pkwy. (Floral Park—Little Neck Pkwy/73 Rd)
Queens, NY 11004
phone: 718-347-3276 | fax: 718-347-3243
A working farm within city limits? Enjoy a taste of the country when you visit this museum, situated on the largest remaining tract of farmland in the Big Apple. Nestled within the 47-acre property are historic farm buildings, greenhouses, an orchard and herb garden, farm machinery, and goats, pigs and other animals. Open year-round, this gem of a spot hosts hayrides for the kiddies on weekends (weather permitting), and special events like wreath-making workshops, antique motorcycle and auto shows and the annual Queens County Fair.
4. Sports Cars, Toys, and Comic Book Expo!

Over 125 tables of the hottest collectibles on the planet! Featuring: Sports cards, Non-Sports cards, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic, Pokemon, sets, supplies, unopened packs and boxes, toys, games, comic books, coins, beanie babies, videos, posters, jerseys & much more. If you’re looking for it, it’s probably here! Celebrity appearance autograph session! FREE admission! There’s something for everyone!

July 6 – 8
Wildwoods Convention Center
4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260
Contact Rob Gomberg for more information

5. June 12–August 9

Madison Square Kids at Madison Square Park
This series of family-friendly shows at Madison Square Park features some shows that adults may enjoy, too. For example, Bubble do Beatles (July 17) perform (naturally) Beatles classics. For more info, visit