Reflections From Our Leadership
In addition to the resilience demonstrated by the students, their families, and our teaching artists, it was inspiring to watch the ArtsConnection’s extended community rally in support of arts education in 2021. This organization is a public-private partnership, whose programming is made possible in part by the generous donations from individuals, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and other local, state and federal government partners. A well-rounded curriculum includes a dynamic arts education, and, thanks to our patrons, ArtsConnection made this a reality for thousands of public-school students in NYC over the past year.
Debra Peltz, Chair, Board of Directors
As we navigated the uncertainty of the last school year, we understood that most, if not all, of our work with young people would need to happen virtually. More than ever, we prioritized healing-centered learning, which focuses on uplifting students’ voices. I’m so proud of how our committed staff and artists adapted their lessons, finding creative ways to support educators and keep young people excited and engaged. A year of remote learning did not mean less learning; in fact, it made visible just how hungry young people are to develop their skills and express themselves. Students’ commitment to their education in 2021 reassured us not only of the importance of ArtsConnection’s work, but also how much young people in New York City value it themselves.
Rachel Watts, Executive Director
Our Board of Directors
Debra Peltz, Chair
Linda LeRoy Janklow, Founding Chair
Lisa Plepler, Chair Emeritus
Robert A. Pruzan, Vice Chair
Robert W. Downes, Treasurer
Theodore S. Berger, Secretary
Patricia Morris Carey, Ph.D.
Lynne S. Katzmann
Iris Lior Posternack
Louise Hartwell White
Hon. Gonzalo Casals, Ex-Officio
Exploring New Artistic Pathways
As the COVID-19 pandemic entered its second year, student safety remained the priority. Virtual learning helped foster a sense of digital community while still keeping students healthy. It also presented students with the opportunity to embrace a rapidly digitizing world, exploring how art can be both created and shared in 2021. Whether it was elementary school students creating GIFs or high schoolers presenting their art through virtual exhibitions, ArtsConnection students used technology to tread both community and individual expression. These are just a few examples of how students used their voices.
Elementary students created their own GIFs (Graphical Interchange Format), moveable images that proliferate social media that are arguably the most popular form of digital art. 5th graders selected subjects near to their hearts, such as nature and dragons.
Homemade puppets were a particularly accessible and effective way for students to express themselves remotely, utilizing a mixture of at-home and provided materials.
Students also tried their hands at stop-motion videos, crafting their own characters, plots and settings. This exercise in storytelling resulted in a wide variety of student perspectives and aesthetics, including entertaining narratives about colors and animals.
High schoolers reached deep into their creative toolbox with Arts-Making TRaC, where they collaborated on audiovisual works exploring “changing systems.” Pictured here is a still from “Poisoned Prisons,” which saw the students utilize illustration, poetry and animation to investigate self-selected themes of inequality, policing and opportunity in America.
“I was wrongfully mistaken for a crime I did not commit,
But yet I was still taken to where I needed to admit.
I wanted to get extra payment,
But got tricked by an uncover agent.
Having shown my resentment,
Still no one believed I was innocent.”
The fourteen-week program culminated in a 3D virtual gallery presentation broadcast via Zoom, exemplifying how technology can support the collaborative process and help young artists communicate their ideas.
After a historic year of civil protest, it should come as no surprise that social justice was at the forefront of students’ minds. Our Teens Curate Teens (TCT) program sees high schoolers curate, produce and mount an exhibition of their classmates’ artwork. Each year, teens select the theme. During the 2021 school year, it was Black Lives Matter. The student work was urgent and provocative, providing young people with the avenue to reflect on the social issues of our time.
Our organization believes in facilitating liberated learning environments, in which the students are presented with the intellectual room to explore their own interests. New York City’s youth have a lot to say, ArtsConnection strives to provide space, in and out of the classroom, for their voices to be heard and amplified.
This year also marked the launch of two exciting new digital platforms...
GIVE, in collaboration with colleague organizations, a free online resource created by teaching artists for teaching artists in support of vibrant arts experiences for classroom settings where students with disabilities and general education students learn together.
Culture Connected is a new program which links local families and students to New York City’s performance and exhibition venues. This program seeks to erode the social and financial barriers to art access for the most historically disenfranchised New Yorkers.
2021 In Review
Thank you to our partners in education. We are grateful for your collaboration.
Fiscal Year 2020: Revenue and Expense Breakdown
Hover cursor over financial charts to reveal details.
Financials represent fiscal year 2021, spanning September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021
- NYC Department of Education: $1,110,414
- Federal: $456,151
- City, State: $611,750
- Foundation, Corporate: $771,376
- Individuals: $346,904
- Special Events: $545,606
- Program Services: $3,009,081
- Support Services: $799,376
- Total Revenue: $3,842,266
- Total Expenses: $3,808,456
- Surplus: $33,810
In the spring of 2021, ArtsConnection secured and expended a $666,864 loan through the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. At the close of the fiscal year, the loan remains reflected as outstanding debt as the organization prepares the application to await lender approval that the conditions for loan foregiveness have been met.
Many thanks to all of our generous supporters. Due to space limitations, we cannot list all donor names here, but all of your contributions are deeply appreciated. (Donor List September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021)
Tickets for our High 5 Tickets to the Arts Program provided by 5 arts & cultural partners: Allied Global Marketing, American Symphony Orchestra, Japan Society, Passage Theatre Company and The Shed. A special thank you to David Monn and his team for their in-kind services towards the annual gala. Gala beverage gifts provided by Josephine Magliocco/Empire Merchants.
ArtsConnection is the recipient of public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council through the Cultural After-School Adventures initiative. ArtsConnection also receives discretionary funding from the City Council. Thanks to City Council Members Adrienne E. Adams, Mark Gjonaj, Robert Holden, Peter Koo, Brad Lander, Keith Powers and former City Council Member Andrew Cohen.
A special thank you to the following government organizations for their generous support.
Annual Report Featured Artists and School Partnerships
Leah Alfred, grade 11
Alysia Charles, grade 11
Isabella Diaz, grade 12
Alejandra Fernandez, grade 10
Alyssa Gutierrez, grade 11
Wiktoria Klimczk, grade 11
Chu Yi Lei, grade 12
Dena Lin, grade 10
Bao Lu, grade 12
Osayamen Okungbowa, grade 9
Ariadna Silva, grade 12
Josue Silva, grade 10
Ayesha Siyar, grade 11
Lara Somotoff, grade 12
1st grade students from PS63Q
5th grade students from PS230K