Category archives: Artist Community

  • With an unprecedented climate of change and concern dawning in the United States, Art for Progress arts education programs are more essential than ever. AFP is embracing the ever-growing need for alternative and supplemental art, music, theater, and fashion programs for young people representing the voice of true expression in our city. Once again this has been an exciting semester for existing Art for Progress arts education programs in New York City’s public schools, and there are some new programs in the works for the second half of the school year.Our flagship music program at Humanities Preparatory Academy, which includes school day sessions as well as after school, is flourishing and has produced and cultivated a bunch of wonderful talent this semester. Everyone at the school is looking forward to the talent show on February 16th, which will include solo vocal and instrumental performances, and a variety of ensemble pieces and even a dance number.  AFP’s after school program at the James Baldwin School is also going strong and was well represented in the recent school-wide talent show on Friday, January 20. Students from both schools have been working hard after school every day, choosing songs and rehearsing. Especially impressive is the spirit of mutual encouragement among the students as the shows approach.As for AFP’s Young Adult Music Enrichment Program, tracking is nearly completed on Bronx rock band Statik Vision’s full-length album, and we are preparing [...]
  • Art for Progress’ after school music enrichment program at Hudson High School for Learning Technologies was especially inspiring this spring semester because of a dynamic group of multi-talented, and eager students. The program was reinstated this spring thanks to the efforts of principal Nancy Amling. The program had been inactive for the fall semester because a lack of funding, Ms. Amling was influenced in her decision to restart the program by an exceptional young student and musician named Terelle. Terelle’s enthusiasm and hunger for new knowledge were the ultimate catalyst for the formation of the program.Tarelle wanted to learn about how music works beyond the shapes he was learning on the guitar. Hudson HS currently offers a beginning guitar class as a part of the school’s regular curriculum. The class is focused on the mechanics of playing the instrument, but like most beginning guitar classes, it did not address the underlying music theory necessary for students who to build their skills beyond the basic guitar vocabulary.The group of students that comprise the AFP after school program at Hudson range from 9th-12th graders, and are led by Terelle.  He expressed a desire to learn some more universal musical concepts in order to set up a foundation upon which to develop their musicality. They were made up of aspiring singers, guitarists, pianists, and bass players of varying levels of experience. We explored the construction of scales, chord building and common[...]
  • The Art for Progress music program at Humanities Preparatory Academy, now in it’s fourth school year, is the flagship of AFP’s arts education programs. Instituted in the Fall of 2012, the program serves two classes of 12-18 students four days per week, with each day’s lunch period serving as an additional class period enabling students to seek further instruction or individual practice time. The class is open to students of all high school years (9-12) allowing a rare occasion for teens of different ages to interact on a level playing field in a collaborative setting.There are also two after school sessions per week, which give students an opportunity to either practice alone, or to join in group music-making, which is the ultimate intention of all AFP music programming. Faculty also participate, further enriching the overall experience of the students, and the teachers learn just as much as the kids!The goal of the program is for every student to be able to play at least one complete song. Toward this goal, all students learn the basic mechanics of music in general, and to develop proficiency on least one instrument. Although much of the class time is spent building and developing skills, the focus of the program is ultimately on giving students the tools to express themselves.The semester begins with discussions about students’ musical interests and experiences, with everyone having an opportunity to choose a song by an artist or group that they like to share wi[...]
  • NURTUREArt's group show Sextant looks to our sense of reality and place as constructed from memory, history, and objects. While a serious subject, some works are able to retain playfulness, an example being Igor Ruf's video work The Cave (2015). The artist as actor recites the same lines over and over as he moves and dances around a cave space. Subtitles indicate that he is saying he has bananas and a guitar, among other basic necessities, and he doesn't need much else. We see Ruf repeating names and asserting his identity, and it's unbelievable in its goofiness. He touches on the ability objects have in shaping our memories and how those moments cumulatively form the perception we wish to have for ourselves, and for others to have of us, and he maintains a lightheartedness throughout. Calum Craik has two pieces in the show that also examine, as he writes in an artist's statement, "a hazy memory, actual events, and experience." He is more interested in pop culture, however, as he feels that "everyday objects act as vehicles to question and imagine...documents, photographs, and raw materials act as a mechanism to reconsider truths, events, or invent new possibilities." This certainly rings true in Lesiure (2013). A space blanket, shiny and geological-looking, is situated across a small image of a California pool that lays flat on the floor. Above this image hangs a small bowling ball resembling the earth. This creates a shadow on the lower left corner of the p[...]
  • Bushwick Open Studios wrapped up a while back and this year featured a lot of wild installations, fantastical sculptures, and a return to painting. While I was there, I stopped in Pablo Garcia Lopez's studio where I saw his work that mixed all of the three. A couple of weeks later, I went back to sit down with him and talk about his practice and transformation into an artist.Garcia Lopez did not begin working professionally as an artist until recently - his background is actually in neuroscience. He holds a PhD and still teaches classes. One of his published papers on Santiago Ramon y Cajal, known to many in the field as the father of modern neuroscience, plays heavily into his artistic practice. Cajal moved away from the accepted comparison of the mind to machines, and rather pursued the idea of comparing the mind to nature, specifically plants. Cajal said, "The cerebral cortex is similar to a garden filled with innumerable trees, the pyramidal cells, that can multiply their branches thanks to an intelligent cultivation, sending their roots deeper and producing more exquisite flowers and fruits every day." Writing in the 19th century, his words come into play much later in the silk sculptural installations by Garcia Lopez.After learning of his background and interest in this matter, I was immensely curious as to how exactly it manifests in the artist's religiously charged works. He explained that his use of silk relates to the individual fibers of the brain, and [...]
  • https://vimeo.com/124416402As we arrive at the conclusion of another school year, Art for Progress arts ed programs are developing and evolving in new ways. The music program at Humanities Prep has been flourishing, and we recently held a student and faculty talent show, showcasing the wealth of talent that has been incubating within the school. Performances spanned a wide range of instrumentation and repertoire, and even included some original pieces and songs written by the performers. AFP's Young Adult Enrichment Program has now spawned three bands, which are now gigging around NYC. Statik Vosion, the core project of the program, also recently played alongside my own band, Bad Faces at the AFP live music series “We Deliver” at The Bowery Electric on Manhattan's storied Lower East Side. Other projects are in the works for the summer, including a recording project to produce an EP release for Statik Vision and a music enrichment program in partnership with the Upper West Side JCC which will provide music instruction for under-served elementary school students. I taught the classes last year and if was a blast!At Humanities Prep, in Chelsea, I have been teaching music to high school students for the past three years. Some of the talent that has been emerging from the program is truly unbelievable. I have seen a number of students who had never played an instrument before become capable, and even inspired players, while others have come to me with some experience and s[...]
  • Art for Progress is proud to announce their upcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing. One of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies, Much Ado also takes a complex look at love, relationships and searching for "self," This production will use the classic language of Shakespeare in a modern setting - demonstrating the relevance of the writer's work in present day. This incredible show will also feature some of NYC's finest actors, comedians and public servants all on stage for a good cause. After production costs - all profits will go to Art for Progress's Education Program - helping young people tap into their artistic abilities.Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street), (212) 691-1555SHOWS:Friday, May 29th - 8:00 pm Saturday, May 30th - 8:00 pm Sunday, May 31st - 7:00 pmFriday, June 5th - 8:00 pm Saturday, June 6th - 8:00 pm Sunday, June 7th - 7:00 pmTo purchase tickets for $25Director: Alexis Confer Producers: Frank Jackson (Art for Progress), Jennifer Park, Erin Marsz, Demetri Kofinas Stage Manager: Angelica KatzCast: Erin Marsz, Jerrod Bogard, John Purdy, Kevin Bartini, Langston Belton, Clio Contogenis, David Shakopi, Sam Parrott, Eric Ryan Swanson, Ellen Cheney, Chablis Quarterman, Natalie Hoy, Matt Mykityshyn, Cecilia Faraut, Allison Guerra, Anders Adams, Kezia Tyson, Xiomara Rolon, and Conrad Cohen. "Creative Culture Accelerating Social Change"
  • Barcelona-born Brooklynite, pianist Eva Novoa  has produced two cds, her debut Trio (with Masa Kamaguchi on bass and Marc Lohr on drums), and Quartet (with Ernesto Aurignac on alto saxophone, Masa Kamaguchi on bass and André Sumelius on drums), both released on the label Fresh Sound New Talent. Before moving to Brooklyn, she lived many years The Hague, Netherlands, studying, and eventually teaching at Koninklijk Conservatorium.  It was in Holland, that she not only learned Dutch curse words,  she also how to live in shitty weather: "It's much worse than New York. It may rain 6 days out of 7, she says while chatting in her kitchen, over espresso and Spanish shortbread cookies. "Wherever you go, you're soaked, shoes are dripping water."Find out about her beloved fashion accessories after the jump, and learn more about this gifted musician at EvaNovoa.com.Jacqueline Colette Prosper, @yummicoco   Floral Infinity Scarf I found this floral scarf on my way to work at a musical theatre in Holland. In a country where there's so much wind, and you're on your bike, your scarf eventually flies away.So you just do this [EVA MAKES A DOUBLE LOOP WITH THE CLOSED-LOOPED FABRIC], and you don't lose it. It's really warm! In Holland, you always have to wear a scarf. even in the summer. The weather sucks, and you have to wear something [warm], or else you'll get sick.    Vintage Little Black Dress From Grandma For the anniversary of the mus[...]
  • This week, Brandon Ballengée, artist/ biologist/environmental activist, is preparing to transform the Feldman Gallery booth at The Armory Show into a space to mourn the massive extinction of species. It's an incredibly weighty topic, often referred to as the Holocene or Sixth Great Extinction, which continues at an alarming rate. In promotion of this important showcase, called "Frameworks of Absence," I requested to interview Ballengée, asking him to share with Art for Progress his favorite personal fashion items. After hesitating, Brandon said "oh well, that would be fun!"Pioneering in ecological art, Ballengée has been described by the critic and curator Kim Levin “as taking these issues to a new level of intensity.” His work has been included in Documenta 13 (Germany), Prospect 2, (New Orleans), 3rd Moscow Biennale (Russia), Biennale for Electronic Arts, (Australia), and the Venice Biennale (Italy). And, Ballengée was awarded a Conservation Leadership Fellowship from the National Audubon Society’s Together Green Program in 2011-2012. "Frameworks of Absence" features physically cut images of missing animals from historic prints and publications printed at the time in history when the depicted species became extinct. A portion of proceeds from Ballengée's "Frameworks of Absence" will support the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) efforts to defend and protect endangered wildlife and wild places. To find out more about this thrilling exhibition, go t[...]
  • Katya Grokhovsky has been climbing up the ladder of success within the art world for the past five years. Most recently the School of the Art Institute of Chicago MFA graduate's work was featured in the Huffington Post in an article entitled “Ten Badass Emerging Female Artists You Should Know.” This coincides with Katya's work in the show Immediate Female is on display through March 8th at Judith Charles Gallery. It is Katya's tremendous work effort and the bold subjet matter of her art that is helping her to make waves.Currently Katya is the artist in residence and teaching assistant at the New York Studio Residency Program in DUMBO. She is also working with the Philadelphia based gallery and performance space Vox Populi as their curatorial fellow in addition to with her own online platform. I recently spoke with Grokhovsky about her work, feminism and where she thinks the role of interdisciplinary artists fits into today's ever evolving world.Anni Irish: What do you think it means to be an interdisciplinary artist in today's art world?Katya Grokhovsky: I am still grappling with the various labels attached to being an artist today. I see the term interdisciplinary even though I use it as a band aid--an explanatory metaphorical bridge for all the various mediums an artist utilizes in their practice. I am more inclined to think of disciplines as fluid, mediums as transitory, ideas as central and genres as limitless.AI: So do you think that means that labeling [...]
  • Given the racial landscape of the US in recent months surrounding the decisions in both the Michel Brown and Eric Garner cases, RESPOND which is currently on view in Brooklyn at Smack Mellon, really gets at the heart of the matter. Smack Mellon organized the show given the public response to the controversial verdict in the grand jury decision not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Garner. Garner was killed on July 17th in Staten Island when a New York City police officer put him in a choke hold.Smack Mellon directors Kathleen Gilrain and Suzanne Kim, changed their exhibition schedule to accommodate this show. The show features the work of two hundred artists and the gallery received over six hundred submissions for the exhibition. The 200 pieces of art fill the Smack Mellon space to an overwhelming capacity. Almost every square inch of the gallery is being occupied by a work of art. Many of the works are displayed salon style in the two story high gallery space. The works in the RESPOND show are diverse and feature a range of artists and mediums including video, sculpture, installation, photography and even textile work.Skinned by Hannah HartGiven the show's theme and the overwhelming response to the call for work, the pieces featured in the exhibition are on point. Some of the artists featured in the show include Dread Scott who has also had work shown at the Whitney Museum of Art, Heather Heart who currently has work on view at the Brooklyn Museu[...]
  • My husband Sean Sonderegger is a gifted musician and teacher. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Originally from Los Angeles, he lives with his wife (me) and toddler in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Sean describes his style as "90s West Coast meets academia," pairing dress shirts with Dickies pants. He admits that he still dresses the same way that he used to when he was 20 years old in L.A., wearing blue jeans and novelty shirts. But always paramount in his choice of dress, the clothes must fit loose: "I've always worn baggy clothes, I like baggy clothes. If I could pull off wearing a caftan or some traditional clothes that were super-flowing, I would probably do it. But then again, I would probably gain, like, a hundred pounds because I just wouldn't give a fuck."Click on link below to listen to some of Sean Sonderegger's music, and then find out more about this madcapper's most prized fashion items after the jump.https://soundcloud.com/seansonderegger/sean-sonderegger-ensemble-eat-the-aircomposed-sean-sondereggerjoanna-cooperJacqueline Colette Prosper, @yummicocoNovelty Tees I like my novelty t-shirts, especially two from a Bill Laswell collection for Ropeadope Records, which includes a "Machine Gun" shirt from, I think,  a Peter Brötzmann album.It's not the original graphic that's used on the cover. People that don't know the record have no idea what it's about. Somebody came up to me[...]