This past year was the school’s 3rd year with Artists In Education program (AIE), and they’ll be joining us again next year as an AIE school. Each year, the school has worked with teaching artist Kit Sailer on three different visual arts projects. This current school year (2016-17), Kit worked closely with the Principal, Darleen Gearhart, and the art teacher, Nelson Alvarez, on a project that was created by the 6th and 8th grade students. The students created a mosaic mural using glass tiles. The inspiration for the design came from music. Principal Gearhart arranged for rap artist President Philson to join the residency for a brief period. During his time with the students, President Philson led the students through exercises where each student wrote their own rap lyrics. These lyrics were then used as the inspiration for the design that the students created with Kit. The entire project was overseen and supported by the school’s AIE Partner, Jackie Knox, from Young Audiences NJ & Eastern PA.
On May 25th, the school held their annual Family Art Day, where the mosaic was unveiled. It is located on the school’s playground, and the students, staff, and community are thrilled about the students’ work. Earlier this year, AIE reached out to Assemblywoman Blonnie R. Watson, who represents the community where Sussex Aveneue RENEW School is located (in Newark). We reached out to let her know about the grant the school received and their work with arts education. Assemblywoman Watson recently presented the school with a commendation (attached), and we couldn’t be more proud that the school is getting this much-deserved recognition. Sussex Avenue RENEW School truly understands and celebrates the importance of arts education, and we are proud to be working with them again next year. AIE is extremely grateful to the NJ State Council on the Arts and Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania for their support of the AIE program.
Michelle Baxter-Schaffer, Artists in Education Administrator
Artists in Education Program