Arts Programs in Our Local Schools
In order to reach out to our community and share the marvelous resources of our resident artists, we inaugurated an arts education program at Germantown High School in 2010. Since then our program has grown to to include work in 5 local public schools, currently serving more than 750 students and 40 teachers. We consider bringing the arts into our local schools to be a key component of our mission to promote the vitality of the arts.
Our arts education programs have ranged from one-day artists’ visits in the Taconic Hills district to two-week in-school residencies focusing on innovative writing practices in the Germantown schools. We brought after-school poetry clubs to Hudson City Schools and led Chatham HS students on creative mapping walks. All our programs are developed in consultation with faculty to support school-wide learning objectives.
“The Opportunity to bring contemporary writers into the classroom has been an invaluable experience for my students. The visiting writers work with our English Department to develop a unit that engages all students while meeting learning objectives. Each lesson is designed in such a way so that students are able to think about the power of language and to create their own work. The feedback I receive from students is always genuinely positive. Many have continued with their writing, participating in local workshops and contests.” — Stacy Dore, Germantown High School
Our growing arts education programming provides an unparalleled opportunity for regional schools, teachers, students, and residents to engage with practicing artists with whom we have developed relationships in the forty plus years of our existence. While State budget cuts have hit our public schools particularly hard in the area of the arts, we can help to fill that gap.
Overseeing our growing programs in the schools is a group of arts-in-education professionals dedicated to enhancing education with a creative and diverse arts curriculum. This group includes Cara Benson, Kristin Broussard, Jordan Dann, and Debra Kreisberg.
Cara Benson is a published writer and revered performer. Her first book of poetry, (made), reached the Small Press Distribution bestseller list and has been favorably reviewed in such publications as the Huffington Post and Brooklyn Rail. Poets & Writers Magazine has called her performing “something completely different” from the usual poetry fare. Other work has appeared in The New York Times, Boston Review, and Best American Poetry. Benson is a trained teaching-artist through the Lincoln Center Institute and has been a visiting artist in K-12 public schools in the Capital Region as well as nationally at the Higher Education level at such institutions as Skidmore College, Rhode Island School of Design, University of California at Santa Cruz, Evergreen College, and UPENN.
For the last ten years Kirstin Broussard has worked as a lecturer and teaching artist at The Museum of Modern Art, The Jewish Museum and The Museum of Arts and Design. The exploration of multiple viewpoints through her work with special needs audiences—children with autism, adults with Alzheimer’s, the blind and partially sighted—has a huge impact on both her approach to education and her work as a visual artist. Photography is the primary medium through which she explores the nature of perception both literally and metaphorically. Via performance and deliberate manipulation of the camera’s mechanism, she creates narrative landscapes that simultaneously dissolve and coalesce. The laws of physics: entropy, reciprocity failure, ghost photography and a minute observation of place all play a crucial role in her work. She currently splits her time between New York and Berlin.
Jordan Dann is a Brooklyn based theatre artist, educator and experience architect. As an actor, she has appeared with Amy Brenneman in The Antigone Project at the Vineyard Playhouse; a live master class with Jason Alexander at the Huntington Theatre in Boston; QED at Boston University and the Vineyard Playhouse; The Girl in the Basement at the Boston Playwrights Theatre; and in several short films. Her one-woman show entitled Imagining Lebanon has been preformed in NYC, LA, Boston, and Colorado. A few directorial credits include 233A Play with Hands Together Collective, Star Alarm with Mud/Bone Collective, and Twelfth Night, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet with the Shakespeare Society. She has taught at NYU, Boston University, and Colorado Mountain College; directed for Stella Adler Studios; managed and directed the Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble with the Shakespeare Society; and designed curriculum for six plays for the Shakespeare in Schools program. As a producer, she started the Sunday Night Series at Theatre Aspen (Aspen, CO), and she is the creator of Story Swap International. She has a B.F.A. in Acting, an M.F.A in Theatre Education from Boston University, and has extensive training in Linklater Voice Technique. Jordan currently serves as Education Director for Teachers & Writers Collaborative and teaches acting for Dreamyard Art Center.
Debra Kreisberg is a New York City-based saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and educator. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music with a masters in jazz performance from Manhattan School of Music, Debra performs extensively with Latin jazz super group Los Mas Valientes, award-winning klezmer bands Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, with whom she has toured in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and leads two new, original jazz projects: The Highliners and the East Harlem Trio. She has performed with Natalie Merchant, the Rochester Philharmonic, Hazmat Modine, jazz guitarist Sheryl Bailey and freelances widely throughout New York City. She has been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Worldbeat, SiriusXM Radio, Ebru TV’s Rhythm and Roots and on Showtime’s The L Word.
A committed and passionate educator, Debra served for eight years as Managing Director of Educational Outreach in the Arts at 92nd Street Y, where she developed and implemented of one of the largest arts-in-education programs in New York City, serving over 6,000 elementary and middle school students annually. These programs prioritize innovative and high-quality music, dance, visual art and theater arts as an integral part of the core curriculum of public schools, creating lasting partnerships between classroom teachers, teaching artists, students and parents. Debra continues to serve on the faculty of 92Y School of Music, as well as Bronx House School of Performing Arts and maintains her own private woodwind teaching studio.
Cara Benson, Program Manager