ARTS IN EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT: Recapping An Exciting Year

Before we dive into another school year, we’re excited to share our accomplishments in 2013-14. BAC Arts in Education had programming in all 5 boroughs including 95 school-based residencies and workshops, 23 creative aging programs in senior centers and 89 performances at schools, senior centers and parks. These programs served nearly 15,000 students, teachers, parents and seniors and provided 464 gigs for artists!

This year, we also welcomed some new faces to our AIE Team. Sarah Gepigon joined BAC in January as longtime Arts in Education Coordinator, Deborah Field, stepped away from BAC into the field of occupational therapy. Sarah’s enthusiasm and sense of humor brought some fun to the administrative paperwork processes. We will also soon be welcoming a new Arts in Education Manager as Rebecca Potts moves out of the country to accompany her husband to Prague. We look forward to introducing another new member of the AIE team soon.
In celebrating this year’s fantastic work with BAC teaching and performing artists, and wishing a bittersweet farewell to Debby and Rebecca, we captured some of the artists’ favorite moments, lessons learned, and praise from classroom teachers.

The Chorus at Prospect Hill Senior Center led by teaching artist Renee Manning performs. Photo: BAC.

The Chorus at Prospect Hill Senior Center led by teaching artist Renee Manning performs. Photo: BAC.

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BAC Arts in Education Spotlight: Photovoice

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Red Hook students attend class at BAC in DUMBO. Photo: BAC.

This summer, 38 young adults participating in “PhotoVoice” have been exploring photography as a means of visual storytelling. Through funding from the New York City Mayor’s Office Center for Economic Opportunity, and in partnership with the Red Hook and Brownsville Community Justice Centers, BAC is working with teaching artist Brenna McLaughlin as well as teaching artists Russell Frederick and Sam Barzilay from United Photo Industries (UPI) to provide 2 participatory photography residencies. The artists have taught technical skills in photography while also sharing the historical and social context of photography with a focus on social justice.

Participatory photography gives youth the opportunity to connect in a visual dialogue that often excludes them. This project engages students through a series of workshops and class critiques, empowering students to craft visual stories from their own unique perspectives. Each student selected their final projects to engage the public on topics that inspire or concern them. In addition to exhibits in their neighborhoods, student work will be exhibited alongside professional artists from around the world as part of Photoville in DUMBO from September 19-29.

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Student artwork by Monica Hawkins (left) and Keson Simon (right).

During the final Brownsville class on August 16, one student expressed the impact of this program: “This is a stepping stone for my career. I’m more confident going after what I want. There are people in Brownsville who wants good – not just old people. We, the young, we’re the future.” Other responses to the teaching artist’s question, “What did you learn or gain from this class?” included:

“I learned how to get along with people – interact. I got a better understanding of how to complete something – really work.”

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Brownsville students. Photo: Russell Frederick.

“I got to work with people in a community I used to think of as small, but now I see as big – and I see what an impact we can make. I also learned how to use my camera – not just using it, but control it to make what I want. I learned what a network is.”