Tuesday, June 29, 2010

School of the Future OPENS THURSDAY!


july 1st - july 4th

School of the Future OPEN FOR BUSINESS this Thursday!

School picnic, class registration, folk music, inauguration ceremony, food sculpture, bball, and WE HAVE NO POWER!
Thursday, 7-10pm | Sgt. Dougherty Park, Brooklyn Join us for a celebratory opening ceremony and picnic at Sgt. Dougherty Park this Thursday. Help us salute pedagogues past and present as we raise the School of the Future flag and christen Brooklyn’s first intergenerational free school to open in a public park for one month of unschool programming. Music, food sculpture, dome building and an irrational sense of togetherness and joy in a public space. Every week around this time, for all of July, you'll receive the week's schedule.
Please rsvp and join us! Propose a class or just come teach one! It's the only way you'll graduate to the next level.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Miss NY 2010- Claire Buffie!

I promise a lengthier post in the next few days, but I wanted to quickly put up a CONGRATULATIONS to my friend, Claire Buffie, for earning the job of Miss New York 2010. I KNOW Claire has what it takes to market the Miss NY Organization and promote her incredibly important platform, and I look forward to watching her accomplish great things as she represents us all this year as Miss NY.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Message from Empire State Partnerships

Yes, you can have an impact on how students experience the arts in New York!

Yes, the steps below are easy!



We can STILL affect the budget!
Budget negotiations in Albany are still in the FINAL phases. NYSCA local assistance funding is in the Education bill which is still in the process of negotiation.

CALL the legislative leaders ASAP:
Assemblyman Shelly Silver at 518-455-3791
Senator John Sampson at 518-455-2788.

Ask that they restore the proposed $16.5 million cut. The current cut on the table is 40%, which will reduce NYSCA funding from $41.6 million to $25.2 million.

Also call your legislators and ask them to speak up in conference committee in support of the same NYSCA restoration. On these calls be specific about what the loss of revenue will mean for you and YOUR COMMUNITY: loss of jobs, programs and certainly the closing of organizations that serve the legislators' district.

If you would like to know how much NYSCA funding went to your legislator's district, 

Click on all programs, then the year 2010, and finally the number of the district.


Epic Theatre Ensemble invites you to the

2010 Citizen Artist Conference

July 12 & 13

John Jay College, NYC

Ø Are you someone who is (or wants to be) integrating social/political questioning into your teaching artistry?
Ø Are you someone who is (or wants to be) connecting your passion for political engagement with your passion for arts-in-education?
Ø Are you someone who wants to learn more about Epic Theatre Ensemble’s Citizen Artist program?

The conference will be an enriching, interactive experience – where participating members of the arts and education community will immerse themselves in Epic’s methodology and techniques which place theatre at the center of dialogue.

REGISTRATION FEE: $50* - includes 2 full days plus a one-hour consultation & Epic’s comprehensive Citizen Artist Curriculum Guide.

For more info and to Register: 



Spencertown Academy Arts Center and the Columbia County Historical Society invite area educators to participate in "Seeing History," a summer institute offering innovative strategies for integrating arts and humanities into the English Language Arts and Social Studies curricula.

Monday, July 19 - Wednesday, July 21
9:00 to 12:00 each day, with an optional luncheon and discussion from 12:00 to 1:00.

Teachers of Grades K-12, school administrators, museum educators, and librarians are encouraged to attend.

Tuition is free.

Educators will learn new ways to use art and artifacts as catalysts for critical thinking, thoughtful writing, and meaningful cultural connection.

The artworks and artifacts in the “Seeing History” exhibition will serve as primary sources for the program. Additionally, an archeologist-guided session at the Van Alen House will provide an opportunity to apply the skills acquired in the institute towards a rediscovery of this important local landmark.

For more information, contact






In an effort to examine the needs of arts educators across New York State and determine the best path forward, NYSAAE invites you to participate in a brief survey about Common Ground.

The survey should take less than three minutes to complete and asks a series of questions about you and your preferences for future conferences.

One lucky respondent will be selected at random to receive a credit for $100 toward registration at the next CommonGround conference!



Any teacher- an art teacher, an English teacher, a math teacher, a 2nd grade teacher, a high school gym teacher, etc.



Remember: It’s polite to ask permission before planting a wet one on the cheek of your favorite dancer, painter, poet, actor, sculptor, filmmaker, musician, composer, choreographer, director, writer, designer, or other maker-of-art.



OK, give ‘em a hug, too! They could probably use one.




Thursday, June 24, 2010

Miss NY Day 3 and Interview!

The week is flying by! Yesterday was day 3 of Miss New York, and we spent most of the day rehearsing for what I can GUARANTEE will be a phenomenal production! All of the contestants are stunningly beautiful, the production numbers are FIERCE, the space is immaculate and the set is gorgeous. What more could you ask for? 

We took a lunch/ fun break between rehearsals to visit Town and Country Lanes in Guilderland. I LOVE BOWLING. And I'm terrible at it (my high score yesterday was a 68), but it was really nice to spend some time relaxing and having fun with the other contestants. 

I bowled a strike! (I rolled two gutter balls in the next frame...)

With my fellow contestants at Town & Country Lanes for a bowling party!

It was a busy day, but Kent was nice enough to let us out of rehearsal a little early to rest up for interviews. I'm the 12th contestant, and had my interview at around 10:30a today. The judges are very friendly, which goes a long way in making a contestant feel comfortable. I'm excited to see them again on Friday and Saturday!

Free Playwrighting Program for NYC Teens!

Dear NYC teachers,

Urban Arts Partnership and The New Group present the 2010-2011 Life Stories Playwriting Collective, a free-of-charge playwriting program for NYC High School students.  This exciting program meets on Saturdays* and provides selected students with the opportunity to create and develop their own plays under the guidance of an experienced instructor and master-classes led by award-winning and internationally renowned playwrights.  This one-of-a-kind experience will culminate with the production of all original plays at a 42nd Street theater, which Urban Arts Partnership will then incorporate as Master Works in our 2011-2012 Theatre Arts Curriculum.

There are only 10 openings for next year’s “Life Stories Playwriting Collective”, and we are anticipating a very competitive selection process.  If you’re a teacher and work with high school students please nominate up to 2 young artists who you think might benefit from this unique program.  The nominated candidates should read the attached flyer and apply for an opening by no later than July 16, 2010.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with question about this exciting opportunity!

All best,
Alex Sarian

P.S. *MTA MetroCards, Breakfast & snacks are provided for FREE.

Alex Sarian
Program Coordinator

Urban Arts Partnership
414 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10013
P: 212.966.5881 x 09

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Congratulations to City Councilmember Jessica Lappin!

City Councilmemer Jessica Lappin Discusses Her Work with The Center for Arts Education on WPIX-TV

I wish I had heard about this sooner!!!!

The circus has done some great things for the Coney Island community (which I, as a close neighbor, really appreciate) and this is just one more! Know any great Coney Island-based kids who'd deserve to win this? NOMINATE THEM! QUICK! Nominations close on Friday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 2 and a few photos!!

Thank goodness for good friends with good cameras! I left my charger in Brooklyn, so until Friday, I'll be relying on the kindness of other contestants (Claire) to help me capture some of my favorite moments this week. 

After breakfast this morning, we split up into groups and headed out to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Our tasks ranged from baking cookies and scaling scaffolding to paint (my group) to building a staircase. Everyone from Habitat for Humanity was so welcoming and enthusiastic, and the contestants were all very grateful to give something back to the Albany community!

We rushed home to eat lunch and freshen up for our afternoon trip to our New York State Capitol Building. It was exciting to meet/ reunite with our local legislators while spending time inside one of the most beautiful buildings in New York.

Claire, Cassie and I at the Capitol!

After the Capitol it was off to visit some lovely young women at Girls Inc. We received a very warm welcome from Gail who heads up the Albany Girls Inc., spoke to the girls about the Miss America Organization and how it's impacted our lives as contestants, and then pins, crowns and sashes started flying as we crowned our honorary successors (or replacements... Janiah would make an amazing Miss Greater NYC...See below...)

We ended the day with dinner and then our first production rehearsal with the fabulous Kent! Tomorrow is more rehearsals AND bowling. AWESOME. 

They're listening...

I wanted to briefly share with you a response to my recent inquiry to Senator Gillibrand about creative educational opportunities specifically for early childhood. It's heartening to hear about money being made available for improving our education system (and at a time like this, even little rays of hope are necessary... HELLO NYS budget cuts...)

June 22, 2010

Dear Miss Sheridan,

Thank you for writing to me about the importance of early childhood education.  Research has shown that high quality early learning programs improve cognitive, social, emotional, and language development, necessary skills for a successful life. 

In the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, there are several funding initiatives directed at early childhood education, including $500 million allocated for Title I preschool programs.  Additionally, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) provides $300 million in competitive grants to State educational agencies to raise the standard of quality for all programs.  Although SAFRA has not been introduced in the Senate yet, I will support the legislation when it comes to the floor.

As a mother of two young children, I know firsthand the importance that early childhood education plays in preparing our children for a lifetime of learning.  I have been a strong supporter of early childhood education initiatives during my time in Congress.  In the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations for Labor-Health and Human Services, I joined my colleagues in requesting an additional $20 million in funding for early childhood professional development, as well as increasing the Head Startand Child Care and Development Block Grants by $1 billion each.  By investing in quality, research based education for our children at this early entry point, we lay the foundation for future successes.

Thank you again for writing to express your concerns, and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation and concerns you may have.  For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely yours,
Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator

At MISS NY!!!! A brief update...

I'M AT MISS NY 2010! And I'm so excited. The contestants are some of the coolest people I know, the volunteers are terrific, the SUNY Albany campus is gorgeous and the Albany community has been so welcoming thusfar!

I'll make this brief, since I'm on a public computer in the common room...

Yesterday, we arrived, checked in, had a brief meeting, then were whisked off to the Albany Aqua Ducks Tour! SO FUN! We came back to our apartments to change and then took a trolley to Angelo's 677 Prime for dinner. If you've not been to Angelo's 677 Prime yet, GO. Now. Seriously. The food is amazing! Angelo is an awesome guy, and we're so grateful to have been invited back to his restaurant for this year's Miss NY week! We returned to our apartments to change into pajamas and then met with some board members to discuss what would be expected of the next Miss NY. A tall order, but I can assure you there are PLENTY of girls who are up for it! :)

Claire and I after our delicious steak dinners from Angelo's 677 Prime!

Today, we'll be spending the morning with Habitat for Humanity, then visiting our State Capitol and then spending time with Girls Inc. before beginning rehearsals with the fabulous Kent (choreographer/ producer)! I've learned A LOT from him over the years, and I'm excited to absorb as much as I can in my last year!

If you're interested in supporting the Miss NY Organization in an affordable but significant way, please consider voting for me (or anyone, really) in the Favorite Contestant Competition! It's $1/ vote, it's EASY, and it's a great way to show your love for the organization and the contestants!!! Vote as many times as you'd like for as many girls as you'd like from now until Saturday at 12p!

Lastly, I'll leave you with a little media coverage! Thank you to WRGB CBS 6 Albany for their coverage of the contestants last night!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A summer of doing what I love...

I'm a lucky girl. I've been bursting at the seams with excitement- my summer is taking shape, and I couldn't be happier with how things are playing out. I'm thrilled to be involved with some wonderful arts and education related projects! AND I get my afternoons, evenings and weekends free to enjoy summer in New York. What more could you ask for?????

I'll be continuing my work with the YWCA, though for the summer we'll be at PS 90 in Coney Island (I regularly teach at PS 209 in Sheepshead Bay). I'll continue to teach dance and work the other awesome arts specialists as we prepare the kids for a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! This was the first play I was involved with, and my experiences playing Violet Beauregard (the one who turns into a blueberry) served as the preliminary groundwork for my interest in becoming a professional artist. I'm thrilled to spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday AM's in Coney Island dancing and creating theatre and art with some of the awesome students I've worked with this past year.

I've also joined my friends at Block Institute to bring them Building Blocks, a dramatic arts program for their summer sessions and respite camps. This is an especially exciting opportunity because Todd, of Block Institute was one of my judges at Miss Brooklyn 2009. After the pageant, he approached me about using my work with my platform to help Block Institute create more arts opportunities for the individuals they serve. I spent months developing Building Blocks for the Block Institute, and am thrilled to be able to implement it into their summer programming! We'll be working on an adaptation of Lewis Caroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I'll be spending my Thursday and Friday mornings working with the awesome students and staff at Block Institute!

AND, as I've mentioned in earlier posts (like this one, and this one, and this one) I'm ecstatic to be working with the School of the Future- a free, intergenerational arts-based school that provides unique learning experiences to the public. I'm currently signed up to teach the following courses:

Inner Beauty/ Individuality: What would YOUR sash say?
Saturday 7/17, 12p-2p
DESCRIPTION: Teacher: Keelie Sheridan (Miss Greater New York) Open to all, targeted at ages 5-18) What should you be recognized for? What makes you beautiful? We want to know! Join some local pageant queens for an afternoon of recognition as we celebrate our individuality and create pageant-style sashes to commemorate what makes you awesome.

Irish Ceili Dance
Saturday 7/31, 12p-2p
DESCRIPTION: Teacher: Keelie Sheridan (Miss Greater NYC) Ceili (Irish square dancing) centers on social unity, utilizing pairs and groups to create patterns and sequences. The steps are easy, the music is addicting, and the fun is contagious.

Check out the School of the Future's newly published course calendar for a full listing!!!

Don't be jealous! Well, OK, be A LITTLE jealous...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

For those who argue against the importance of providing students the opportunity to be creative...

What Chief Executives Really Want

by Frank Kern
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
provided by
A survey from IBM's Institute for Business Value shows that CEOs value one leadership competency above all others. Can you guess what it is?
What do chief executive officers really want? The answer bears important consequences for management as well as companies' customers and shareholders. The qualities that a CEO values most in the company team set a standard that affects everything from product development and sales to the long-term success of an enterprise.
There is compelling new evidence that CEOs' priorities in this area are changing in important ways. According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value (NYSE: IBM - News), CEOs identify "creativity" as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.
That's creativity—not operational effectiveness, influence, or even dedication. Coming out of the worst economic downturn in their professional lifetimes, when managerial discipline and rigor ruled the day, this indicates a remarkable shift in attitude. It is consistent with the study's other major finding: Global complexity is the foremost issue confronting these CEOs and their enterprises. The chief executives see a large gap between the level of complexity coming at them and their confidence that their enterprises are equipped to deal with it.
Until now creativity has generally been viewed as fuel for the engines of research or product development, not the essential leadership asset that must permeate an enterprise.

Needed: Creative Disruption
Much has happened in the past two years to shake the historical assumptions held by the women and men who are in charge. In addition to global recession, the century's first decade heightened awareness of the issues surrounding global climate change and the interplay between natural events and our supply chains for materials, food, and even talent. In short, CEOs have experienced the realities of global integration. The world is massively interconnected—economically, socially, and politically—and operating as a system of systems. So what does this look like at the level of customer relationships? For too many enterprises, the answer is that their customers are increasingly connected, but not to them.
Against that backdrop of interconnection, interdependency, and complexity, business leaders around the world are declaring that success requires fresh thinking and continuous innovation at all levels of the organization. As they step back and reassess, CEOs have seized upon creativity as the necessary element for enterprises that must reinvent their customer relationships and achieve greater operational dexterity. In face-to-face interviews with our consultants, they said creative leaders do the following:
Disrupt the Status Quo. Every company has legacy products that are both cash—and sacred—cows. Often the need to perpetuate the success of these products restricts innovation within the enterprise, creating a window for competitors to advance competing innovations. As CEOs tell us that fully one-fifth of revenues will have to come from new sources, they are recognizing the requirement to break with existing assumptions, methods, and best practices.
Disrupt Existing Business Models. CEOs who select creativity as a leading competency are far more likely to pursue innovation through business model change. In keeping with their view of accelerating complexity, they are breaking with traditional strategy-planning cycles in favor of continuous, rapid-fire shifts and adjustments to their business models.
Disrupt Organizational Paralysis. Creative leaders fight the institutional urge to wait for completeness, clarity, and stability before making decisions. To do this takes a combination of deeply held values, vision, and conviction—combined with the application of such tools as analytics to the historic explosion of information. These drive decisionmaking that is faster, more precise, and even more predictable.
Taken together, these recommendations describe a shift toward corporate cultures that are far more transparent and entrepreneurial. They are cultures imbued with the belief that complexity poses an opportunity, rather than a threat. They hold that risk is to be managed, not avoided, and that leaders will be rewarded for their ability to build creative enterprises with fluid business models, not absolute ones.
Something significant is afoot in the corporate world. In response to powerful external pressures and the opportunities that accompany them, CEOs are signaling a new direction. They are telling us that a world of increasing complexity will give rise to a new generation of leaders that make creativity the path forward for successful enterprises.
Frank Kern is senior vice-president of IBM Global Business Services.

J Taylor Salon- Official Hair Sponsor of Miss Greater NYC

I'll be the first to admit, I am the beneficiary of some incredible kindness, generosity and support. I've worked hard to build lasting relationships with some local businesses, and I'm so very grateful that many of them have agreed to offer their support as I prepare for the Miss New York 2010 competition!

A HUGE thank you to Joe of J Taylor Salon, for once again taming and reviving my sometimes desperate hair! Joe is truly a color/cut magician- he didn't do anything too drastic, which was exactly what I wanted. I look and feel like myself, but better!!

Joe is one of the VERY few people I trust with my hair (which explains why it hadn't been touched by a stylist in almost a year... oops...)

J Taylor Salon
8505 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Joe also donated a free haircut to the winner of my Miss NY 2010 Ball raffle basket- worth the price of a few raffle tickets, to be sure!!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Going to the Miss NY 2010 Ball? BID ON MY BASKET!

Attendees at the Miss NY Ball will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for baskets created by the contestants, which will be raffled off to raise scholarship funds. My NYC-themed basket will be awesome! A HUGE thank you to the following businesses for their generous donations, and to Ellen Stein for her assistance and tremendous donation-soliciting skills!

A Family 4-Pack to the TIGERS: Tracking a Legend exhibit in South Street Seaport

Two Passes to the Greenwood Cemetery Tour in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn

A Family 4-Pack to the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Illuscination Circus in Coney Island, Brooklyn

A YEAR LONG family pass to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

One Dozen Bagels from Bake City Bagels- 357 Avenue X (Btwn E. 1st St and West St.), Gravesend, Brooklyn

An autographed copy of Brooklyn author Melanie Hope Greenberg's book, Mermaids on Parade, about the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

A Mug from WNYC Radio, NYC

4 Field Box Seats at a Brooklyn Cyclones home game, Coney Island, Brooklyn

The following full-sized products, donated by Oasis Day Spa NYC
terme di Saturnia Thermal Sun SPF 30 Eye and Lip Contour
terme di Saturnia Thermal Sun Spa Self-Tanner
Guinot Institut Paris Soothing Leg Gel
Avance Age Defyer
Avance Purifying Mask

A New York Sports Club T-Shirt, Pair of Shorts and 30 Day Guest Pass, New York, NY

A Free Haircut from the fabulous Joe of J Taylor Salon, 8505 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

An awesome I <3 NY T-Shirt and NYC Postcards! (DISCLAIMER- the shirt isn't used- I just wore it for the picture- promise!)

I'm seriously considering buying tickets to try to win my own basket...

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Super Fabu Extended Weekend!

My crazy awesome past few days, in a nutshell...

On Wednesday, I flew to Albuquerque to see my beautiful friend, Kira Hirschfeld, the current Miss Albuquerque who will compete for the title of Miss New Mexico on Friday, June 18th. I'll be honest; I kind of FORCED Kira to become involved in the Miss America Organization. We've been friends since we met at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2004, and over our years of friendship I've come to realize that Kira is a perfect fit for this program. She's fiercely intelligent, extraordinarily talented, passionate about her community, and gorgeous. She placed in the Top 10 last year (her first year of competition), and I think she has the potential to take it all this year! I'm so excited for her!!!

Kira and I being supermodels during a hiking trip in beautiful New Mexico!

I had originally intended to be there to watch her compete at Miss NM, but after some date changing, I ended up visiting the week before, which turned out to be just as great because I got to help her get ready and spend time with her before she left for Miss NM! Be sure to keep her in your thoughts and send good vibes her way!!!

Kira and I going to hear Le Chat Lunatique- AWESOME Albuquerque-based musicians.

I arrived in Newark at 6p Sunday night, and after a luggage-fiasco and mad dash from Penn Station, arrived just in time to speed-dress and take part in the 2010 Inaugural Mr. New York Pageant, organized by NYC Pageants (a HUGE shout out to Claire, Cassie and Rene)!

Visting titleholders with our awesome MC for the evening- Chris Saltalamacchio! From left to right- Inga, Me, Claire, Chris, Cassie, Jennifer, Mallory, Faren and Jackie- THANKS for your support, ladies!!!

Mr. Staten Island (and now Mr. NY) performing talent. He. was. amazing.

Congratulations to Jeoffrey Watson, Mr. Staten Island, for his well-deserved win! He's going to make an awesome Mr. NY! Also congratulations to ALL of the contestants- these guys were WONDERFUL. We couldn't have hoped for a better group, especially in our first year! I also want to thank all of the wonderful volunteers (judges, concessions, stage assistance) who helped make the event possible!!!

With the dashing Mr. Greater NYC and high score winner in On Stage Question- my dear friend, Daniel. He cleans up nice, doesn't he? (See my post about us running the Tough Mudder... Yep, it's the same guy!)

AND another special thanks to my multi-talented adopted mom/ booking manager/ fitness sponsor, Ellen Stein, for volunteering to judge!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Interview Series: Arts-In-Education- Roberto

As many of you know, I'm a teaching artist, and I work with cultural organizations to provide arts opportunities for students in NYC public schools. I've found the insights of my colleagues to be both inspirational and enlightening, which is why I'm excited to announce a new interview series- Arts-In-Education, where I'll speak with arts educators about their experiences in the field. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

Image by Roberto Carlos Soto

First up- Roberto Carlos Soto. I met Roberto while interning/ training with Community Word Project. Here's what Roberto had to say...

What art forms do you practice?
Photography, drawing, printmaking, mixed media.

What art forms do you teach?
Mostly poetry and drawing

How did you begin teaching?
I started in college as a Professor Assistant, and then I knew that my path in life was to teach.

What age groups do you have experience working with? Are there specific age groups you prefer?
By now I have worked a little with every age group--from K through College.
Preference is relative, sometimes I feel there is nothing better in life than to witness the uninhibited creativity of a second grader. Sometimes I have the need to transmit conceptual knowledge that is more suited for college students and would like to be teaching a college class. Every group has its charms and challenges, and I truly enjoy them all.

What settings have you taught in (school, studio, conservatory...etc)?
Only in schools: Grade Schools, Middle and High Schools and College.

How do you think the role of a teaching artist differs from an art teacher, or an artist who teaches workshops or at a private studio?
To me the difference is not that important. Technically teaching artists are active practitioners of their art form, which would ideally bring another element into the classroom for the benefit of students. However, every art teacher I have ever had in my life--including my full-time High School artteacher--practiced their art form in their own time...so are we ALL teaching artists?

In your opinion, are there benefits/pros to being a "teaching artist" (rather than an art teacher/ private instructor)? If so, what?
I believe that being a teaching artist allows you more flexibility in terms of managing your time and your personal projects/art making. 

In your opinion, are there limitations/cons to being a "teaching artist" (rather than an art teacher/ private instructor)? If so, what?
Yes, the cons are the lack job security, health insurance, and paid vacations.

What role do you feel the arts should play in education?
Well, of course I don't even think we can call something "education" unless it includes the arts, not only as a supplementary subject, but as an essential course that is offered throughout our entire education. 

Do you think certain arts are more highly valued in education? If so, why?
If we don't take into consideration ELA. I think all other art forms suffer from neglect. I also think music is often times more valued in schools, but I don't know exactly why. Visual arts tend to be the most neglected. I think many people don't find utility in the visual arts, and therefore see them as peripheral to an education process.

What are your feelings on teaching art for art's sake vs. integrating art into curriculum as a tool to teach other subjects- is one more valuable than the other? 
I believe teaching art for art's sake is just as important as teaching math for math's sake. Not every student will become a mathematician, but the math skills they learn in school will help them in their everyday lives. By the same token, not every student will become an artist, but having those skills will help students make sound judgments during their lives. Art is not about a right or wrong answer, it's about learning to discern, reason, examine qualitative relationships, problem solve and learn to accept multiple perspectives and viewpoints. All these are essential in the education of a child.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Dinner Party and Fundraiser for School of the Future

It hurts my heart that I have to miss this fundraiser (I'll be out of town), but if you can, DEFINITELY stop by to support the School of the Future (see earlier post)- I'm so excited to be involved in this project!!!!

Romantic Sunset Dinner in the wake of an Ever-Nearing Future: A Fundraiser and Dinner Party for School of the Future

Please join us on June 11th from 7-10pm to celebrate School of the Future, an intergenerational free school that will open this July for one month in Brooklyn.

Everything will seem insignificant next to the sunset by the river, and will reverberate off of the FDR, including: Live music, tamales, summer salads and sangria will be served while the sun sets along the East River in Stuyvesant Cove Park. $5 gets you unlimited Sangria and a view, $10 a dinner of hot tamales and summer salads and a view, $20 gets you all of that PLUS homemade ice cream and infinite gratitude.

 Date: Friday, June 11th 2010
Time: 7-10p
Location: Solar One

To learn more about how to support and get involved in School of the Future please visit www.schoolofthefuture.org 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Meet and Eat with Miss Greater NYC and Wafels and Dinges!

I had a wonderful time on Saturday at South Street Seaport with my friends from Wafels and Dinges. Special thanks to Thomas (the Wafel Guy), Sonia (who runs the South Street Seaport cart) and Joe (my favorite wafeleur) for making the event possible. Wafels and Dinges made a generous contribution toward my Miss NY expenses, and I'm so grateful for their support!

Near the new Wafels and Dinges cart at South Street Seaport.

Happy customers!

With a few of the awesome wafel guys.

With Sonia, who runs the South Street Seaport cart.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My mom is superwoman.

Pageants can be expensive. This is no secret. In addition to travel expenses, promotional materials for your platform, time (which is money) and fundraising, there's the pageant wardrobe- a massive, looming, multi-faceted entity; the acquisition of which leaves you feeling like a hero in a Greek tragedy on an epic quest.

That's me, retrieving the final piece of a super awesome pageant wardrobe that makes me feel great! And the sword means it's free! (Who's going to ask you to pay for something when you're holding a sword?) Ok, fine,  maybe it's Jason the Argonaut retrieving the Golden Fleece. You get the idea, though...

Interview outfit, opening number dress, talent costume, swimsuit, evening gown, on stage question dress, jewelry, shoes.... Scary, right? Now multiply that by three (my sisters, Kieren and Courtney, are also competing for Miss NY this year). I'll be honest- the wardrobe has always and forever been the thing about pageants that most intimidates me. Money has always been an issue, and admittedly, it's unfortunately easy to get caught up in what everyone else is wearing, and how beautiful and new their wardrobes look, and who designed what, etc. etc.

Instead of high-end designer wardrobes, Kieren, Courtney and I are incredibly lucky in another way! We've got supermom! She sews! She alters! She bedazzles! She's taught us to look at a piece of clothing and see what it could be, instead of just what it is now. I am the queen of reworking pieces I already own, and my mom has the technical know-how (or experimental courage) to make it happen. And I just have to give her a quick shout out, because she is currently kicking her superpowers into overdrive to get everything done by June 21st. For the upcoming Miss New York competition, my mom is making my swimsuit, Kieren's swimsuit, Courtney's talent costume, my talent costume, and my interview dress. For real. Additionally, she'll be nipping/ tucking/ stitching/ adorning anything else that we found that needs a little lovin' to make it extra special!

I'm taking suggestions for a VERY NICE (yet affordable) thank you to give/ do for my mom once the craziness of this month passes- suggestions?