Category archives: Visual Arts

  • Within recent years, Brooklyn has become a place that many artists have flocked to. One such artist is Dianna Carlin, who has been active within the Brooklyn arts scene since 2000. Carlin who is better known as Lola Star, has become a local celebrity through her popular Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Disco. Dreamland Roller Disco first opened in 2010 and combined Carlin's love of rollerskating and the glamor of Coney Island for a wide audience to enjoy. However, the skating rink sadly closed in 2010. After four years of searching for new location, Dreamland recently reopened in Prospect Park's Lakeside Rink. Each Friday Lola Star will host themed skating parties in the new location. This week's party will be based on the 1980 film "Xanadu” staring Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly and Michael Beck. With more dance parties on the horizon, Carlin is “excited” to have Dreamland up and running again. The skate parties are scheduled to go through the end of August but Carlin hopes to offer more parties in fall and winter months. I recently spoke with Carlin about how she got the name Lola Star, how she has adapted to the changing face of Brooklyn and what role community activism has played within her work. Carlin got the nickname because, “I use to skate around my parent's basement listening to Barry Manilow's 'Copacabana' on repeat and dreamed of being a rollerskating star. My parents would yell downstairs 'What are you doing down there Lola?'” This was in reference to the [...]
  • As a relatively new member and contributor to Art For Progress I wanted to take this opportunity to explain what drew me to the organization and what it has meant to me over the past year and a half. I also, wanted to congratulate all of those who have helped the organization to serve the local community for 10 years. That is truly an amazing feat! As we look ahead to the second half of the summer, I thought it might also be a good idea to give a little preview of what to expect for the rest of the summer from our local music scene in NYC. Firstly, any great organization is made up of great people and I realized early on that AFP was no exception. The dedication of the teachers and volunteers was evident from the first event I attended and has not waned since.  This first event was a workshop at the gallery of an AFP artist called NOoSPHERE ARTS. The workshop was aimed at introducing young children from the LES to music, art and photography. At one point in the day two young kids started making music, one on the cowbell and one on the keyboard. It was at this moment that I truly understood the impact of what AFP was doing and the passion of the teachers who dedicate their time to this organization. AFP is a true grassroots effort and that was one of the things that attracted me to it. This past fall and winter we organized a monthly live music event called “Homegrown,” that featured local acts from the NYC area, ten in total. The quality of the music was a testament[...]
  • This spring AFP Arts Education Programs are celebrating the completion of our eighth school year serving NYC Public Schools with exciting, confidence building visual art and music classes and after school programs. AFP Arts Education Programs at the James Baldwin School, Humanities Preparatory Academy, and Hudson High School all expanded this year, and we continue to provide after school music programs at Quest 2 Learn, and at Hudson High School for Learning Technologies. Students at the James Baldwin School asked for an after school program where they could learn music production and beat-making, so AFP implemented a program that brings aspiring producers, rappers and singers together to learn the skills necessary to create professional quality recordings. Humanities Prep's Music Program had unprecedented success this year, introducing a number of talented students to their first instruments, and fostering the continued development of returning students through after school opportunities. In general, AFP has helped to cultivate the creative culture that is now a primary component of the school. Many students and faculty performed in a talent showcase to end the school year on June 6th. Sophomore Abril Tiburcio brought the house down with her interpretation of Lana Del Rey's "Ride", while 2014 valedictorian and class president Michelle Bello sang The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." They were backed by Tiana Bush on bass, and Genesis Castillo pounding out the infect[...]
  • MISSION Art For Progress' Arts Education Community provides under-served youth with dynamic artistic programming that promotes reflection and self-expression. By connecting youth with working artists, their communities and each other, we hope to transform the way they see themselves and the world around them. PHILOSOPHY While public schools in New York City have been working hard to meet federal and state mandates for student test scores, arts education programs have become scarce. At Art for Progress, it is our mission to reverse this trend by delivering quality Arts Education programs to the students of New York City’s public schools. Our programs are designed and implemented by professional educators and teaching artists who have a wealth of experience in arts education in public schools and community-based after school programs. In addition, Art for Progress works closely with teachers and administrators at client schools to design programs for students that deepen their understanding of core subject areas. Through arts education, students make connections between material covered in class and their community; they will explore other cultures and examine human experience from a variety of perspectives and artistic forms. Art For Progress Music Program In 2008 the our Arts Initiative became official when teaching artists began residencies in New York City public schools. The first beneficiaries of this innovati[...]