2016, EMERGING SINGER / REBEKKA

Rebekka Lewis, 21

Focus: Vocal Performance

Rebekka is an aspiring Singer/Songwriter who has been singing for as long as she can remember

With musical influences like Bruno Mars and Jhene Aiko, Rebekkah longs to make soulful music with meaningful messages.  She wants her music to be uplifting and inspire people to make it out of difficult times because that what music has been for her.  Life has deterred her a couple of times, but she is determined to pursue her passion for singing, and dedicating her time to learning how to enhance her technical skills in voice and performance.  

Rebbeka is hopeful that the program will provide her the structure to develop a more disciplined and solid work ethic.  


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2016, EMERGING ARTIST / SYDNEY

 

Sydney, 20 

Focus: Visual Arts

Sydney is  20 year old “artists artist.” She has been drawing, singing, dancing, acting and writing ever since she was child.  She realized in high school that art was her calling and explored the in’s and out of visual arts.

Sydney now draws all day and night. As a resident in EAR, she hopes to be exposed to it all; drawing, still life drawing, freelance painting, sculpting and even digital photography.  She believes that they would all help to expand her knowledge of more than one art form. It would give her extra skills to better enhance her own works originality.  

Sydney wants to share with the world, through her art work, all the pain, love, hate, stress, happiness, funny, dark, confused, beautiful and amazing times in her life. She wants to allow the world see her, through the canvas and accept it all, just as she has. One day, she would like to see her art work being hung in amazing exhibits, talked about, analyzed with such wonder and interest.

She expects the EAR program to help her network, provide her with opportunities to  give me work with upscale art companies and individuals, and help her grow personally to improve her talent.


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2016, EMERGING FILMMAKER / MELISSA

Melissa, Age 16

From: Bronx

Focus: Filmmaking

Melissa is a 16 year old aspiring filmmaker.  She first became interested in filmmaking after watching a special effects documentary of a horror film.  Her fascination with the filmmaking discipline has only grown since.  

Melissa hopes to be a make of all types of films and work both behind the camera and in the editing room as a videographer and director.  She hopes to create films that both entertain audiences and make political statements. Being someone with the desire to facilitate political awareness,  if Melissa were to have an opportunity to make a film now, it would be a film giving people insight into the real lives of politicians, mainly the President.  She also has interests in comedy and drama.

Melissa believes that perseverance, consistency and networking are the three most important factors that contribute to any artists success.  She expects the EAR residency to position her to lay a solid foundation for her career in filmmaking.


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MEET AYANNA

Back in high school, I was very involved with a local family shelter & in my senior year I developed an art class for parents & children living there. I was eager to continue the work when I came to college & Art Start gave me an opportunity to serve a community that I am passionate about.

Ayanna was raised in St. Mary, Jamaica and Snellville, Georgia before moving to New York City in 2010 to attend The New School for Anthropology and Contemporary Music. She currently works at the NYC Department of Education, and is planning to earn her Masters in Ethnomusicology. In 2012, she began volunteering with Art Start on the Hip-Hop teen night at LIFE. Since then, she has volunteered during music and art nights at both LIFE and now, the Bushwick Family Shelter. She has a passion for music, social justice, and creating accessible spaces for learning together. www.ayannaheaven.com


Favorite song to dance to (when nobody’s watching)!?

This one is really tough but I’ll give two: “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by the Funkadelics and recently, “Work” by Rihanna.
 

What do you do as a volunteer?

I currently volunteer on Thursday nights on the theater and music night with Nella. We have done so many fun projects with the kids, and I love getting creative with them every week. I am currently working with a small group to choreograph a dance to perform in a few weeks. It’s so much fun seeing all that they come up with when we are together on Thursdays.


What inspired you to get involved with bringing arts to underserved NYC youth?

I have always had a passion for the arts and education, so this was a perfect fit for me when I began volunteering in 2012. Back in high school, I was very involved with a local family shelter, and in my senior year I developed an art class for parents and children living there. I was eager to continue the work when I came to college, and Art Start gave me an opportunity to serve a community that I am passionate about.


Can you share a special moment you experienced during one of our workshops?

Every month we have a family night where we encourage family members to join us at workshop. A few months ago, we had just finished learning choreography to “Love On Top” and we decided to give families the opportunity to join in and perform the dance with our youth. Most of those in attendance were pretty shy, but we had one father who came and totally got down! He learned the choreography and nailed it during our performance. It is always fun to have parents in attendance, as they sometimes get to see a different side of their children in workshop. In this case, we got to see a different side of this parent, which was so funny and sweet to witness.


How has your time as a volunteer impacted you?

My time as a volunteer has been so formative, and my friends and family all know how important Art Start is to me. I have grown close to so many of the kids who attend the sessions, and it is always extremely bittersweet when they move out of the shelter. I have really learned to appreciate the time you have together with people, as it truly is fleeting. Every week that we have with the youth is important to cherish and to value. I wish them all the best as they move with their families, and I hope that our paths will cross again in the future.

 

Share a dream with us.

I dream of a society that allows all people to live their authentic lives free of hate and injustice. I dream of a people who understand their collective power, with the courage to speak their truth. Last, I dream of a world where we elevate the voice of our youth, and respect that they know best what they need to succeed.

MEET XIXI

Art is very much like a medicine to happiness, and for some people, it’s life changing, which is what I’ve learned through working with the kids at Art Start.

Xixi raised $200 through selling handmade bookmarksShe is 15-years old an aspiring artist who was born in Canada and moved to NYC in 2014. She has been drawing seriously for 3-years, playing piano for 10, and flute for 6. Xixi is also a volunteer at Art Start. instagram.com/_artistx


Share one of your proudest moments. 

proud.jpg

What drew you to Art Start? 

Xixi, you felt super passionate and became a fundraiser for Art Start... How did you inspire others to support your campaign?

Has your time at Art Start influenced you or your art in any way? How?

What do you LOVE to do in your spare time?

Can you share your favorite drawing with us?

 
 

The Hargrove Family

If you want to be a real rebel, love.
— Beulah Hargrove

Art Start's Family Portrait Project is a multimedia exhibition that presents the powerful stories, hopeful voices, and loving images of NYC families experiencing homelessness.  

From November 11 through December 26 the work will be on view at the Seaport Culture District in Lower Manhattan. Please join us on November 11th from 6-9pm for an Opening Reception at Seaport Studios. 

In the mean time, watch more Family Portrait Project Videos HERE!

MEET LUCY

When I moved back to NYC after living upstate, I knew I wanted to help somehow. With my love of working with art & kids, Art Start seemed like the perfect fit. It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Meet Lucy, an inspiring woman extremely passionate about bringing the creative arts to NYC youth.  She fundraised for Art Start's 24th birthday campaign and has been a committed visual art & performing arts volunteer at Art Start for 2-years.  


What inspired you to get involved with bringing arts to underserved NYC youth?

I grew up on the Lower East Side in NYC in the 80’s, so at a young age I was fully aware of poverty and struggle.  When I moved back to NYC after living upstate for many years, I knew I wanted to help somehow.  With my love of working with art and kids, Art Start seemed like the perfect fit.  It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.


Why do you think others should get involved in this cause?

It’s a most rewarding experience all around.  You meet great people with big hearts who are there for the same reason you are and on top of it all- you meet some really awesome kids!  You don’t have to be an artist to be a part of Art Start, you just need to want to be a positive person during a rough time in a young kid’s life.

 

What are some creative ways you used to get people to donate to your Campaign?

Social media helped a lot!  And of course my family and friends; I am still so thankful for their donations and helping me spread the word!

 

What is your most memorable moment as a volunteer?

Our last day at the Catherine Street shelter was pretty rough. There were a lot of hugs and teary eyes. We were excited for the kids to be going to a place better suited for them but sad to see them go at the same time. Although love and appreciation had always been expressed by the kids and their parents, that day I think it clicked for us just how important it was to them for Art Start to be a part of their lives.


How has your time as a volunteer influenced you?

I think volunteering has impacted my creativity. At the program, we have a lot of random donations of material. Watching the kids work with them-- I’ve seen some pretty cool and inspiring ideas come of it


What else are you passionate about?

I really love painting. I’m currently in school for Early Childhood Education, but I try to squeeze in a painting class every semester.  My great grandfather was a painter, and taught art at Cooper Union and the Art Students League.  My grandfather studied with Fernand Léger and Josef Albers, so art is strongly embedded in my roots.