Monthly Archives: July 2013

New mural conceived by fourth graders in Glen Rock 

Richard E. Byrd Elementary School in Glen Rock unveiled a new mural this spring, with the help of an Arts in Education grant.  The grant empowered  integration of science, social studies, research and art processes with a concentration on fourth grade students.  This mural is designed by these students  depicting Admiral Byrd’s expedition to the South Pole.


Middle School Students Find their Voices and their Passions


Now in her 7th year working with Arts to Grow, theater teaching artist Patricia Runcie, has been able to help hundreds of students learn and grow through the arts. She recently shared with us stories of a few of her students this year.

Ashley began working with Arts to Grow’s Musical Theater program and TA, Patricia Runcie as a 5th grader who needed work on her volume and diction, Kezia now a 6th grader began working with Patricia last year and needed to learn how to focus and concentrate during rehearsals, and a third student Sheyla, today a 8th grader has been working with Patricia since 6th grade when she was  very shy on stage and showed lack luster energy when in character.

Patricia had Ashley do warm-ups and instrument exercises to increase the size and challenge of her vocal part and stage presence. Now in 8th grade and near the end of her fourth year, Ashley has gone from an ensemble member in the chorus to a lead role this year with her own song! No longer is she the shy 5th grader, we could hardly hear talking into the floor! And forget about singing by herself in front of others! Now she commands the stage and has great diction, singing with confidence and panache.

Kezia was given techniques to help her slow down and focus on breathing, all the while encouraging her progress. She also completed concentration exercises. Kezia’s attendance was consistent and her level of commitment to proper rehearsal work habits increased.  This is now Kezia’s second year. As a 6th grader, Kezia’s  is now already exhibiting significant improvement. When it is time to rehearse she works hard to maintain focus and is doing great work creating her characters. Last year she was moody and ill prepared, but this year she has matured, is ready to work. As a testament to Kezia’s hard work, this year she plays two speaking roles integral to the plot and was selected as a dance captain. She also holds the added responsibility of being an understudy for the Tin Man.

Sheyla received support in ensemble through exercises to build character skills and analysis and to create the fourth wall. Her level of commitment to objective and intentions of a character increased the caliber of her roles over the years. The encouragement and support of TA, Patricia Runcie and peers was paramount.



Now after three years with ATG, Sheyla, now an 8th grader has the best diction and volume in the entire group! Previously, she would literally hide behind her hair while onstage and mumble through her lines at the same pace and pitch. She now shows clever character analysis and speaks clearly and openly. Previously, Sheyla has played soft-spoken characters. But this year she took on the commanding and intricate role of The Wiz. Her range as an actress has expanded over the life of the program and so too has here confidence and leadership.

Lowy’s Frame the Future Program partners with Arts to Grow

We are excited to announce our newest cause marketing alliance with Lowy – Masters in the Fine Art of Framing & Conservation since 1907.  Larry Shar, president of Lowy said “We have big plans for Lowy’s Frame The Future”,  ”At the end of the semester, we’ll mount an exhibit of the children’s artwork and host an auction of their paintings at Lowy’s atelier, with the proceeds going to Arts to Grow for future programs. Plus, people will be able to visit our website and see the artists of tomorrow today!”

Larry Shar told us “I’ve spent my entire life in the New York arts community and feel it is very important to give back. By sponsoring these classes, we help ensure the future of arts education, and foster future artists.”

Our partnership with Lowy’s will support a visual arts program this summer giving one additional class of students the chance to learn, create and expand their minds through the artistic process.  We’re looking forward to a long-term association with Lowy’s that will make a huge impact in the lives of NYC area kids and the chance to share the very special craft of framing and conservation.

Julius Lowy Frame and Restoring Company is a 106 year old, family-owned business specializing in museum-quality antique and custom frames, as well as painting conservation and restoration.

Lowy’s Manhattan atelier houses the world’s largest collection of antique frames, currently numbering over 5000. Lowy’s clients include private collectors, auction houses, museums, galleries, fine art dealers and artists alike. Sotheby’s, Christie’s, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Prado, the Rockefellers, Gagosian Gallery and Acquavella Galleries are Lowy clients.

Future of art education hangs in the balance

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This could be a pivotal year for art in school, with the upcoming mayoral election.  Arts to Grow joined over 30 local arts organization to engage the mayoral candidates on a conversation about the future of art education.

Eight candidates engaged in this dialogue and started on a discussion on how to concretely integrate art education in schools.  Unfortunately, not all candidates engaged in this conversation, and the future of art education still hangs in the balance.

To learn a little more about Arts to Grow’s advocacy efforts and what you can do you help, check out this link.

Arts raise performances across disciplines


Ginnie Lupi, executive director of the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, recently expressed the importance of arts education in schools.  Arts are not “extras”, but it is integral to students academic successes across disciplines. Ginnie reviews that according to research, students who participate in the arts for at least three hours a day, three times a week for at least one year are:

  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.
  • 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math or science fair.
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools.

Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, many arts programs have been viewed as “extra” and have been cut.  Arts to Grow deeply understands the importance of arts education, in schools, taught by teaching artists.  This year, we served our 2000th students.  But we can aim to do more.  Join us!

Success story in Alaska

Students at Glacier Valley Elementary in Juneau, Alaska are undergoing an educational experience that seems to be paying off. Juneau, Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) is an El Sistema-inspired program, based in teachings in Venezuela  that uses the power of music to motivate and inspire young children.  Music builds critical habits that empower the children to persevere   It’s hard to master a song- but they get to enjoy the end product.  Such practice builds confidence in children as they face different challenges.  Since putting this program in place, the students who were failing were now passing.