Monday, April 26, 2010

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it," - Henry David Thoreau

Wow. It's been a crazy past few weeks, and it's about to get crazier! I'm in finals for school, finishing up projects (due at the end of this week), and then I have an independent study to take in the May Term, and then I'M DONE WITH SCHOOL! (Until I start applying to grad schools in the fall...) It's also been a busy few weeks at work- the kids I work with are preparing for their culminating events in June, lesson plans are being rearranged, choreography is being re-worked, and I've found that the attention span of children has an inverse relationship to the temperature outside (and the temperature has been rising, so their focus has been DROPPING- I can't blame them- I like being outside too)!

Things have also been wonderfully busy with my Miss Greater NYC schedule! Last weekend, I had the opportunity to partner with NY Care's Art Explorers in Chinatown's Columbus Park Pavilion. They run a FANTASTIC free kids' arts program for anyone who's interested in stopping by. Above is a photo of myself with some of the other volunteers and our artwork from the day (volunteers can make art, too)! There will be another free arts session this Saturday, 5/1, from 2:30-4p in the Pavilion on the corner of Baxter and Bayard in Chinatown if you're interested! We'll be making Mother's Day inspired crafts! 

Located in the heart of Chinatown, the Columbus Park Pavilion serves as foundation to organize and strengthen the community.  This neighborhood center offers a wide-range of free activities to the public.  From outdoor events such as live Chinese music and movies-in-the-park to indoor programs such as Art Therapy, Mama & Me, and of course Art Explorers, the center appeals to children, teenagers and adults of all ages.

In the Art Explorers program at Columbus Park, kids from around the city visit the center and work with the volunteers on various arts and crafts.  Each themed-session generally revolves around a season or holiday.  Standard art projects can range from basic crafts (painting, coloring, beading) to more creative activities (origami, masks, puppets) or to special sessions (Easter eggdying, Tie Dye t-shirts, etc.). 

Later that day, I had a meeting with my dear friend and Mind the Art Entertainment president, Christian DeGre, and we continued to hash out details for our upcoming Shakespeare program, which will meld performing arts with the NYS ELA standards to be implemented in public high schools in NYC. I. CAN'T. WAIT.

That same day, I had an interview with Joe Antol about my experiences with pageants and preparations for the Tough Mudder race on May 2nd. The Tough Mudder folks were very excited to have a Miss America hopeful competing in their endurance race, and have sent some press my way- it's been great to chip away at the pageant stigma while discussing how I stay healthy, and how I'm getting strong for the upcoming race (using kettlebells with my AMAZING fitness sponsor- Ellen Stein- below is a photo from one of our workouts)!

I intern and train with Community Word Project in their Teaching Artist Training Internship Program, and I was honored to volunteer at their 10th Annual Benefit this past Tuesday. The event was held at the National Arts Club  (if you've not ever been inside this building, then you're missing out. Think Addams family home meets the Louvre meets a catacomb meets five star restaurant). The National Arts Club was kind enough to donate their amazing space, so all the proceeds went directly to CWP's programming. The evening was magical- students from several sites (including mine- go PS 27!!!) came and performed pieces they'd created with Community Word Project, the performance area was decorated with murals created during residencies, and there was an impressive silent art auction. It was also great to catch up with some of my friends that I hadn't seen since our training sessions ended a few months ago!

Paperwork for Miss NY was due this past week (OY), and I'm overjoyed to say that I've satisfactorily completed everything except for turning in my transcript (so HURRY UP, SUNY ESC...). Friday evening, Claire, Cassie and I hopped in a van with our director, Rene, and his friend Casey, and we headed up to Albany for workshop! After a few early snags (trouble with car rental, difficulty on 17 in Jersey, a little off-roading in our minivan and both mine and Claire's phones dying) we made it to Albany! After a brief visit with my sister, Kieren and her roommate, Amy, we hit the hay, and were up early the next AM for a full day of workshop! It was great to see so many familiar faces, and to meet all the new contestants. Congratulations to the Miss NY board for a smooth and well organized day. 

Before I headed back to NYC, I did a photoshoot with my friend Monica from MoDezinz and her friend Danielle from D Leguire Photography. My mom had given Monica some cool vintage clothing that we had no use for, and we spent the AM at my Aunt & Uncle's house in Amsterdam shooting outdoors! It was great to meet Danielle and see Monica again and to spend the AM with my mom (who took photos of the photographers photographing me), but it was also very special because I grew up playing in the field, pond and woods on my Aunt & Uncle's property, and it was such a trip down memory lane! I even dragged everyone into the woods to find "Mermaid Rock" (my sisters know what I'm talking about)- it was still there!
The lone forsythia bush near the pond.... AMAZING color!

An awesome 1950's wedding gown someone had given my mom years ago...

Oh, Hey, 80's prom dress...

A lot of exciting things are coming up this week! Thursday is the Emerging Leaders in Arts Education Meeting. Saturday I'm appearing at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Opening, and then Sunday I run the TOUGH MUDDER! AHHHHHHH!!! I'll keep you posted!