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  • Art for Progress is pleased to present its 2nd annual music and arts festival, Artists4Equality which will take place on Friday, June 28th through Sunday 30th at Solar One Park on NYC’s East River (East 23rd Street). Artists4Equality will feature three incredible days of music, performance and installation art from exciting emerging artists and more established headline acts.

    Solar One Park is the perfect outdoor summer venue for the festival which will kick off on Friday evening June 28th.  The opening night will feature live music performances from some of the most exciting emerging talent in NYC including the super talented Ellis Ashbrook, while Saturday’s focus will shift to DJ and electronic music culture with DJ Hector Romero headlining the evening. On Sunday, NYC Cielo resident DJ Tedd Patterson will headline the night as both live music and DJ’s share the stage.

    Cutting edge performance and installation art will be featured all three days as we turn the park into a virtual adult playground of art & music.

    Confirmed Artists: Hector Romero, Tedd Patterson, Ellis Ashbrook, Kim Holleman, Idgy Dean, Andy Slate, Gatto, Roxy Cottontail, Kevin Graves, Daniel Maldonado, Cat Del Buono, Berette Macaulay, Dennis Sebayan, Comandante Zero, Sindy Butz, Bonesugar, Atilla the Hun, Sal Leone, Sherri Aliberti, Barry Komito, Chaisley Lussier, Caridad Sola and many more TBA..

    Artists4Equality will take place on gay pride weekend in NYC and will feature many artists from the LGBT community.

    The festival doors will open at 4pm each day and close at 11pm. Limited tickets will be $10 in advance and $25 for all three days. Special early bird tickets will go on sale next week for $8. Stay tuned for more details!






  • On Tuesday March 12, the AFP music program at Humanities Preparatory Academy was fortunate to host Jeremy Danneman of ParadeOfOne for a special multimedia presentation to students. Mr. Danneman is a truly unique artist with a poignant social message that made a palpable impact on the students and their perspective on art, music and world events. The presentation involved showing students slides, playing both live and recorded music, and discussing his experiences having visited Rwanda and Cambodia, two countries that have been recently ravaged by genocide. He shared stories about and recordings of musicians he was fortunate to encounter in these locales, and collaborations he performed with them, despite having possessed no other means of communication with them save for an interpreter. His enthusiastic explanations of his motives for doing this type of work and colorful retelling of his experiences illustrated beautifully the potency of music and arts to bridge social divides, and to introduce a new, living meaning to cultural exchange and painful, but important world events. The presentations culminated with live performances by Mr. Danneman on saxophone and clarinet, and in one case included myself playing guitar in an impromptu musical improvisation that tied together the power of all the skills that students have been learning in class for the past semester. AFP would like to thank Mr. Danneman for visiting our classes, and look forward to hosting him again soon along with a musician from Cambodia, whom, coincidentally, has his picture and story on a public service poster in the hallway of the school!


  • This weeks AFP Art Ed blog entry features student, drummer and musician Jansen Bennett. Jansen was already an accomplished musician and world music enthusiast before we even met at the beginning of the school year. Having traveled to India with his mother, an accomplished actress, on a number of occasions, he developed a keen ear for the music of that region and a comprehensive knowledge of the instrumentation, musical concepts, and reverential spiritual focus that characterize and differentiate it from our own. Jansen plays percussion, including tabla (two drums, played with the fingertips,  tuned to high and low pitches that are used in traditional Indian classical music), ghatam (a clay pot with three different tones), mridangam (a two sided drum from southern India), dholak (a northern Indian double sided barrel drum), and drum set; kemenche (a Turkish bowed instrument from the Black Sea region), guitar and bass. He also plays a variety of mouth harps (yes, like Snoopy), which come primarily from different regions in India, but some are from Italy or Hungary. An avid participant in the after school program, Jansen brings an openness and enthusiasm to Humanities’ music program that are rare in a high school student.

    Interestingly, Jansen was also born 26 weeks premature. That’s not a typo, and makes him a miracle of modern medicine. He also lost his birth mother early in life.  He sometimes is frustrated by the superficiality of high school social dynamics as a result of his deeper perspective on life and his slight physical differences, but I feel that if more of the students at school would take cues from Jansen about what is really important, they would learn a lot about how to be a more completely realized person in adulthood rather than focusing on the priorities usually held in highest regard in high school like popularity, fashion and acting cool.

  • This week’s update on the Art for Progress art education programs features a brief introduction to some of the students in the AFP music programs, as well as some photographs by Paula Parker from the AFP visual arts programs, including student artwork.  Sherif, a senior at Humanities Prep, moved to New York City from Cairo, Egypt last summer, and was always an eager student in my music class throughout the past semester.

    Sherif spent most of the first several weeks of the semester playing a D chord rather roughly on the electric guitar. Although I continuously suggested that he learn another chord, he continued to focus on the D chord, lifting one finger at a time to hear the variations. Since he seemed to derive such joy from that one chord, I encouraged him to listen to the tone of the strings and demonstrated to him that there were different sounds that could be evoked coaxing them out of the instrument rather than hacking at the strings. Sherif has since developed his D jam into a more coherent developing piece, and after I lent him one of AFP’s classical guitars, he recently exchanged it for an electric guitar and is avidly practicing at home. Sherif fulfilled his arts requirements last semester, but continues to come by the music room at every opportunity and is a regular participant in the Tuesday afternoon student/faculty jam, playing drums, guitar, and occasionally gracing the microphone with his own inimitable brand of freestyle rapping/storytelling. Ever the eager student, Sherif has become among the most dedicated and capable music students at Humanities, and never fails to crack me up.

    Christian Tapia was also a student in my music class at Humanities Prep last semester, and also, despite his having already fulfilled his arts requirements for graduation, is constantly coming by the music room to continue his musical development. He had been trying to learn piano since a year before the AFP program started. He reportedly would visit the music room every day and be kicked out, often receiving detention as a result. he was even told by the former dean of his middle school, “If you don’t know how to play, then don’t play.” Upon recognizing Christian’s enthusiasm and drive last semester, I lent him an AFP digital piano, and he reports to me regarding his progress on a daily basis. Among the most diligent and focused music students in the school, Christian now participates in the Tuesday jam every week as well, introducing new songs every week that he is working on learning. Lately, he has been focused primarily on developing original compositions. well as developing original compositions. Christian is also a participant in the NYPD Explorers program for high school students.

    Please enjoy some examples of student artwork from the AFP visual arts program at Landmark High School.

    Until Next Time

    -Barry Komitor
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