Summer Rising finishes with a bang, the back-to-school event you can’t miss… August in review!

Students ring in the end of Summer Rising with a series of pop-up performances across NYC! 

Students of International HS @ Prospect Heights pose with a puppet they conceived, designed and operated.

It was very hot day on August 18th, when the students of International High School at Prospect Heights marched into Dr. Ronald McNair Park. Onlookers began to gather as the high schoolers—dressed in bright colors with some holding drums, others massive puppets—circled the courtyard and danced. It was Carnival in summer…just one of many pop-up performances held across the city to celebrate the finale of Summer Rising.

Over the past six weeks, students in all five boroughs participated in the innovative multi-arts program, which saw K-12 students learn through music, dance, theater, puppetry, media and visual arts. ArtsConnection hosted such residencies at 17 schools this summer, culminating in pop-up performances across New York City.

Not every student at the International High School initially connected with the theme of Carnival—a celebration which is traditionally held before Lent, but has since enjoyed a cultural life well beyond its religious roots—puppeteer and teaching artist Sara Jane Munford told us. But this served as an entry point for the group to discuss what parades looked like in different parts of the world. “[The puppets] were a little bit of everybody’s idea,” she explained, “we laid out all of the students’ sketches next to each other, and we talked about what we liked the most about each one.” The final puppets were an amalgamation of all the students’ designs, an exercise in collaboration which continued on the day of the performance when the students moved 8-foot puppetsin unison.

The students were all smiles as passersby stared in awe at their creations. Faculty and family cheered as the puppets and dancers rounded the park, only a few hundred yards from the steps of the Brooklyn Museum.

Meanwhile, students of P396K in Brownsville also embraced summer themes. Since the school specializes in providing dynamic education for students with disabilities, ArtsConnection teaching artists found creative ways to translate traditional summer experiences to the classroom: students swam in fabric of the “ocean,” and touched beach balls and kinetic sand. Program Manager Daniel Levin sums it up best: “When teaching artists, school administration and staff team up at a place like 396K, there are really no limits to what students can experience through the arts and through the contours of their own imagination.”

Student rides a “wave” at P396K. 
Congratulations and bravo to all the students who participated in Summer Rising! We’d like to extend a big thank you to the schools and arts faculties who facilitated these residencies. See you next summer!
Summer Rising was made possible through NYC Artist Corps grant funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Arts and Special Projects.

Teaching Artist Spotlight: Dionne Kamara

Photo courtesy of Todd Jones.

Few artist-educators truly embody the title like Dionne. The NYC-based movement instructor teaches dance to people of all ages nationally and internationally, and has been working with ArtsConnection since 2002.

Originally from Jamaica, upon moving to the United States, she attended Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. In 1996, she joined Urban Bush Women (UBW), an acclaimed dance company which centers Black women’s perspectives. Though she no longer tours with the company, she continues to work with the groundbreaking collective.

Her teaching practice and methodology builds on the work of Anne Green Gilbert and is grounded in Brain Compatible Dance Education and neurodevelopmental patterning for infants. In workshops and classes, Dionne facilitates and supports creative exploration and skill development in a holistic learning environment. She strives to provide each student with the tools they need to grow and develop to their highest potential through movement.

“Dance is for everyone and anyone,” she writes. You can learn more about Dionne’s life and work by visiting her website.

UBW, 1997. Photo by Bette Marshall.

9/18: ArtsConnection to celebrate the
start of the new school year in the Bronx! 


ArtsConnection Teen Programs invites you to join us on Saturday, September 18 at the Bronx River Arts Center from 2-4pm for art-making activities, hip-hop dance sessions and a live spoken word performance. Learn about upcoming Bronx arts opportunities, enjoy snacks and enter the raffle for back-to-school prizes!

All are welcome, teens especially encouraged!
To RSVP, click here.

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