02 Sep 2016

TAP Teens Visit Designer Anthony Hart

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In August, teens and mentors from the Teen Arts Program visited fabricator and designer Anthony Hart for a day of mold making. Anthony shared his experiences in the field of custom fabrication, product and package design, and art installation for brands. Teen artists had a great time learning the science of using mixtures and molds to create some take-home FREE ARTS NYC decorative tiles. The teens and their mentors worked together to create unique textures and color designs for their art.

Torrick Ablack, aka Toxic, met with the teen artist from the Arts Mentorship Program this July to guide them in the exciting art of graffiti making. Toxic is an American-born artist and pioneer of the NYC street art scene, who’s work has been displayed around the globe. Torrick’s work focuses on abstraction, color, symbolism and personal memory. Toxic discussed his important journey into the arts, being part of a community of artists, and how he references these stories in his art. Torrick invited teens and their mentors to make a painting that represented each of their personalities and their interests.

In June, teens from Free Arts: Portfolio Mentorship Program and their mentors visited artist Michael Caines’ studio in Greenpoint to learn about his art, his creative process, and how to conceptualize their own projects. Michael introduced teen artists into the process of creative thinking by collaboratively building an abstract sculpture from various materials. Artist Michael Caines is an illustrator and painter who focuses in pop surrealism.

12 Jul 2016


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The newly redesigned, Governors Island, hosted the final Museum & Studio Visit of the school year for youth in the Teen Arts Program. Upon arriving, teens met up with artist Jonathan Allen for a tour of several artists’ works, such as the late Michael Richards, in The Arts Center’s open studio.

A bite to eat from a selection of NYC food vendors and an exploration of the island’s colonial architecture capped off an amazing day and school year.

01 Jul 2016

Art from the Heart 2016

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On June 14, East Harlem’s creative hub, El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, kicked off a revamped Art From The Heart celebration. The annual event, which puts the spotlight on the youth and families in our programs, was extended for the first time ever to three days. Over 300 artworks were displayed as families, volunteers, program facilitators, and staff gathered to celebrate an amazing year. Special thanks to Patacon Pisao, GuS Soda, and FreshDirect for the wonderful food and drinks.

To view more photos, visit our album.

Photos by Kim Wetzel and Sabrina Husband.

10 May 2016

Taja Lindley Inspires TAP Teens

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Teens and mentors recently met up with artist Taja Lindley at the Free Arts NYC office to talk multimedia art, social consciousness, and repurposed materials. Lindley is a self-taught artist and activist, creating socially engaged work that reflects and transforms audiences. She uses multimedia to create performances and visual art pieces that are concerned with freedom, healing, and pleasure.

Lindley spoke to the group about the difficulties, memories, and rituals that inspired her recent work “This Ain’t A Eulogy: A Ritual for Re-Membering”, in which she repurposed trash bags to put a spotlight on what society does and does not deem trash. Her story struck a chord among the students, with many saying they had found a new role model. Channelling their personal experiences, students then clipped printed words from magazines and Taja’s recent poetic works to create collages exploring their unique struggles.

As part of PACT’s spring curriculum theme, Fantastic Nature!, families at LSA Family Health Services were introduced to the illustrations of Ecuadorian artist, Javier Pérez, whose philosophy is “Create everyday. No matter your skills”.

Via Skype, Javier chatted with families about the inspiration behind his 2013 illustrations instagram experiments ii and encouraged them to create their own line drawings that incorporate one natural element (i.e. a leaf or branch). Families embraced the suggestion, creating their own illustrations based upon their reflections of living elements within the natural world.

On Saturday, April 9th, teens joined Glenn O’Brien for a gallery walk through Chelsea. The group met artists Adam McEwen, Jack Early, and James Nares, and viewed their current exhibits. McEwen’s application of everyday materials, Early’s incorporation of music, Nares’ moving portraits, and O’Brien’s anecdotes captivated teens each step of the way. Capping off the day, O’Brien and Early provided personalized feedback on the teens’ own portfolios.

Janaina Tschape is a German-Brazilian artist currently working in Brooklyn who was featured in the Arts Mentoring Program’s “Materials Matter II” curriculum for Spring 2016. On April 5th, students from I Have a Dream Foundation at PS 7 explored the art of printmaking and were inspired by Janaina’s abstract prints of botanical life and organic forms. After the workshop, Janaina gifted a hardcover book of her work to the I Have a Dream Foundation’s library.

On April 27th we were honored to have Richard Prince host Free Arts’ 17th Annual Art Auction, celebrating one of New York City’s cultural icons: Glenn O’Brien.

The evening was sponsored by Fendi, Vogue, and the Shulman Family Foundation, and saw over 400 guests including Jemima Kirke, Christopher Wool, Leelee Sobieski, Hilary Rhoda and Marilyn Minter.

The sounds of DJ Graham Craig and the Onyx Collective set the stage for the evening, as guests sipped on Perrier Jouët along with cocktails from Don Julio and Ketel One cocktails, savored hors d’oeuvres from NYC staples Casa Lever, The Fat Radish, Felice, and Sant Ambroeus, and bid on works by a range of artists including Adam McEwen, Hannah Liden and Jonas Wood.

Many guests also took advantage of the unique opportunity to have a large format 20 x 24 Polaroid portrait taken by photographer Sante D’Orazio along with special gifts from Andre Saraiva and Damien Cuypers. All proceeds benefit Free Arts and our mission to provide arts access and mentorship for under-served children and families.

Photos courtesy of BFAnyc.com

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