Friday, July 31, 2009


a mosaic of self-portraits by the photography students from SAI 2009

I don't know why I was surprised. There are 9+ million people in NYC, 1 million public school children and tens of thousands of artistically talented ones (I teach many of them!) So, why was I surprised by the amazing performance I attended (Thursday) given by the 300+ students who participated in this year's Summer Arts Institute? Maybe it was the wide range of visual and performing arts talent on display or the diversity of the students in the program or the sophistication of the art they created and performed? Maybe surprise is the wrong word...what I see NYC children and their teachers accomplish never ceases to amaze me!

The Summer Arts Institute (SAI) started in 2002 as a response to the September 11th opportunity to give children who had witnessed the tragedy an artistic outlet to help process their feelings. Since 2004, The NYC DOE Office of the Arts & Special Projects has supervised the program.

Each year, middle and high school students audition/apply for this free four-week arts intensive. They study vocal music, instrumental music, dance, theater, film, photography and visual arts in a supportive and professional setting.The teachers (except for guest artists and interns) are all NYC DOE arts educators who are equal in talent and enthusiasm to the kids!

The program is generously supported by corporations, foundations and cultural institutions in the city.

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