Art for Progress arts education programs have been doing great work this winter, with visual arts programs in place at Landmark High School and Quest 2 Learn NY and music programs at Quest, Humanities Prep, Hudson High School for Learning Technologies, and, most recently, at James Baldwin High School, all in Chelsea.
The Humanities music program, led by teaching artist and musician Barry Komitor, has added an after school student/faculty jam on Tuesday afternoons to two regular classes per day, enabling students to apply the knowledge and skills they develop during school music classes. In a dynamic group environment, they learn an entirely different set of skills and considerations. The group has learned “Zombie” by The Cranberries, and “Twist and Shout”, among other songs, and has regular blues and freestyle jams. Komitor also teaches drums after school at Quest 2 Learn on Mondays, and has begun offering guitar and piano lessons after school three days a week, subsidized by grant monies thanks to the Sansom Foundation. These lessons are to serve students from former AFP programs in the Bronx and Brooklyn, which lost support or funding, including: Christopher Columbus High School Campus in the Bronx (which comprises Bronxdale High School and Pelham Prep as well as the Collegiate Institute for Math and Science [CIMS], all providing students that are participating) and The Academy for Conservation and the Environment in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Lessons are available one of the days to students from the Humanities program as well. Students from different schools and communities have recently begun to stop in on each other’s lesson times and exchange information about what they have learned. It’s pretty cool…
Komitor and AFP would like to extend special thanks to drummer Mike Severino for donating a variety of instruments including the vintage 1970′s Slingerland drumset used in the Quest classes and by the Hudson rock band.
Sansom Foundation grant funds have also enabled AFP to loan acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, violins, and bass guitars to several students who have shown dedication and perseverance, and we plan to acquire a variety of new instruments in the coming weeks, depending upon what this semester’s new students are interested in learning.
The Baldwin music program, taught by mandolin player and singer Elio Schiavo, leader of the bluegrass band Six Deadly Venoms, began this January and serves students who have been redirected from other high schools for disciplinary reasons. Thus far they have been doing stellar work, meeting during school four days a week as well as after school two days. Schiavo also leads the after school rock band program at Hudson on Wednesdays and teaches guitar after school at Quest 2 Learn on Thursdays. The Hudson rock band recently played three songs, which were the highlight moment of their school dance; playing two Ramones songs and “Use Somebody”, by Kings of Leon.
The Visual Arts program at Landmark High School, in it’s 5th year, has continued to evolve and expand as well. Here is a contribution from Art Teacher Paula Walters Parker:
“Right now at Landmark things are going well. The school is changing, and the students are more invested in their work. Just walking through the halls feels different. We have beautiful artwork from our students hung on the walls; we have real learning in the classrooms, and we have more students that are more dedicated to the artistic process. Last year we had students’ work displayed in the AFP shows; we had students apply to a PS art competiton, and we also went on trips to galleries and the Guggenheim Museum. We even had a student who was accepted in Pre-college Academy Program at Parsons/The New School!
This year we continue to work on artistic discipline while exploring more inspirational aspects of what the city has to offer. We have gone on small inspirational trips to galleries in Chelsea while building an on-line gallery for the school. The students are learning from the visits what it takes to run a gallery, and taking the information back to school to help them create the first official on line Landmark Arts Gallery.
In class we are working toward student-inspired projects. We have a short time-span but we are working diligently towards this goal. In the process we are careful to arm the students with the artistic knowledge, skills and discipline it takes to accomplish such an ambitious project. We teach basic techniques and create exercises to build line quality, patterns, compositional elements as well as exploring knowledge of color theory; then the students create the masterpieces.
We continue to help the students applying for scholarships and internships as well.
The students have created some great photography, watercolor landscape paintings and still life paintings, as well as Sumi ink drawings, celebrity portraits and mix medial paintings, and there is more to come;)”
-Paula Walters Parker
Parker also teaches elementary school visual art at Quest 2 Learn