Local Youth Create Art at MLK Jr. Day Open House

Open house success! More than 35 families stopped by The Art Effect on MLK Jr. Day to enjoy pizza and participate in workshop demos led by The Art Effect instructors Morgan Suter, Zach Reid, and Nia Scott.

Participants of all ages produced expressive paintings, figure drawing sketches, original melodies, and short animations. These wonderful works were only a preview of what students will learn this spring at The Art Effect in courses like Adventures in Digital Music, Portfolio in the Human Figure, and Exploring Digital Animation.

Learn more about & sign up for spring classes here! 

Also on display at this event were posters created by The Art Effect’s Media/Arts/Design Lab for the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute. These posters showed visitors easy yet effective ways to be more eco-friendly in their daily lives. 

It was incredible to welcome members of the community to 45 Pershing Avenue, and to see youth engage with different kinds of creative learning on their day off from school! From the paintings, sketches, songs and animations produced in workshop to the long-form collaborative posters from the youth workforce development team, many forms of artistic talent and hard work were celebrated.

Arts for Healing Workshop at Vassar-Warner Home

In December, The Art Effect’s MADLab students helped facilitate an incredible Arts for Healing workshop with residents of the Vassar-Warner Home. The workshop involved two sessions: “Abstract Painting” and “Intergenerational Illustration”. In the first session, residents experimented with abstract painting techniques; in the second, The Art Effect’s Media, Art, Design Lab (MADLab) students listened to stories of residents’ favorite holiday memories, then went on to illustrates these memories into a picture book holiday gift for each resident to keep (check out the book below)!

Expressing themselves through the soothing power of painting, the residents translated powerful emotions into a visual medium. Unexpected choices were an integral parts of this process; mistakes were transformed into poignant works of art.

When the workshop finished, 100% of participants reported a “strengthened sense of self” and 75% of participants said their stress level decreased and sense of optimism increased.

MADLab students spoke one on one with residents during the “Intergenerational Illustration” workshop. Each resident shared a favorite holiday memory and the students used the skills they’d cultivated in the MADLab program to bring this memory to life with unique illustrations.

Classic winter experiences like building snowmen or gathereing with family for a special meal were included, as well as distinctive memories like the first snowfall on a farm or a special holiday trip on a train. Each story was rendered in a student’s unique style, then compiled in a book which was gifted to residents. The book can be viewed online.

Whether the Vassar-Warner Home residents created their own paintings or shared their stories with MADLab students to generate collaborative works of art, The Art Effect’s Art for Healing workshop is now yet another holiday memory to be cherished! Learn more about The Art Effect’s Arts for Healing program here.

We Are Poughkeepsie Mural Celebrates Local Heroes

Students working on We Are Poughkeepsie Mural at The Art Effect

Poughkeepsie Middle School is the new home of a collaborative mural designed by Hudson Valley artist Mary Haddad and fifteen Poughkeepsie City School District elementary students. Created during an arts and academics-themed camp at The Art Effect, the We Are Poughkeepsie mural celebrates many of Poughkeepsie’s luminaries who revolutionized medicine, fought discrimination, served in the military, broke barriers, and literally reached for the stars. The students who contributed to this mural hope that all who view it at its new home in the middle school will be inspired, just as they were by the historical heroes depicted. Learn more about The Art Effect’s summer camps.

The young artists that worked on the painting include: Rafael Andujar-McNeil, A’Nyah McNeil, NaLay Jennings, Malana Myers, Jaivon Williams, Emerson Birrittella, Vencott Smith Jr., Is’Real Whitted, Gabriella Flanagan, Cameron Smith, Prince Brown, Dasim Washington, Samaad Paulin, Siraj Paulin, and Sharif Paulin. The camp instructors were The Art Effect instructor Donna Mikkelson, with the academic portion taught by Poughkeepsie City School District educator Shireen Cader.

The program was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Poughkeepsie City School District, The Art Effect, the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, the Poughkeepsie Public Library, and Hudson Valley’s artists and art educators. 

Finished We Are Poughkeepsie mural celebrates local heroes

Significant figures featured include (from left to right):

  • Sadie Peterson Delaney (1889-1958): A poet and internationally recognized librarian, Sadie attended Poughkeepsie High School and was a member of the Zion Church of Poughkeepsie. Sadie’s activism began at age 15, when she read an original poem advocating for equal voting rights in front of Poughkeepsie’s Equal Suffrage League. She studied to be a librarian in Harlem at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. She later pursued her career at Tuskegee Veterans Adminsitration Hospital, where she revolutionized the use of books as therapy in the treatment of mental and physical disorders.
  • Gaius Bolin (1965-1946): The first Black student to attend and graduate from Williams College, Gaius began his life and education in Poughkeepsie. In 1892, he passed the bar exam and became the only Black lawyer in the city. He was a founding member of the Dutchess County NAACP, was named the first Black president of the Dutchess County Bar Association, and in 1901, he was appointed by then-New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt to the NY State Board of Managers. Throughout his life, Gaius fought against racism: challenging discrimination by the president of Vassar College, protesting the discriminator practices of the local YMCA, and pursuing his profession unafraid of the then-active KKK.
  • Jane Bolin (1908-2007): Daughter of Gaius Bolin, Jane attended Poughkeepsie public schools and graduated from Wellesley College. She was the first Black woman to accomplish many things in the legal profession, including to graduate from Yale Law School, to pass the NY State bar exam, to hold the position of assistant corporate counsel, and to serve as a judge in the United State. Throughout her career, she challenged segregationist policies, and she served on the board of the NAACP and the NY Urban League.
  • Annie Marie Lawrence Bolin (1836-1910): Mother of Gaius Bolin and grandmother of Jane Bolin, Annie Marie lived her whole life in Poughkeepsie. She and her husband Abram raised their family at 35 North Clinton Street. Annie Mraie was a prominent member of the local community. Throughout her lifetime, she witnessed monumental changes in American society, and she inspired future generations of her family to break barriers.
  • Walter Patrice (1919-2018): A lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie, Walter served in World War II as First Lieutenant 389th in the Engineer General Service Regiment in Europe. He returned home to have an enormous impact on his local community; he served on the City of Poughkeepsie Recreation Commission, the Poughkeepsie Planning Board, the Executive Men’s Club of Poughkeepsie, The Colored Troops Museum of Hartwick College, and the American Society of Manufacturing Engeineers. He had a keen interest in history and founded the Black History Project Committee in the Dutchess County Historical Society. For his accomplishments, he was honored by the Catharine Street Community Center, the Sports Hall of Fame for Johnson C. Smith College, the Dutchess County Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Dutchess County Sports Museum Hall of Fame.
  • Maria Mitchell (1818-1889): Maria was a librarian, educator, and the first-recognzied female astronomer in the United States; though she reached astronomical heights, she always called Poughkeepsie her home. Maria attended and taught at Vassar College. Her best-known accomplishment took place here in Poughkeepsie when she discovered a telescopic comet using a two-inch telescope. This comet was later named after her, and earned Maria a gold medal from King Frederic VI of Denmark. She founded the Association for the Advancement of Woman, and was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1905, she was one of three women elected to the Hall of Fame of Great Americans and was an inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. A lunar crater on the moon is also named in her honor.

School’s Out Summer Camp

Need a fun activity for your kids to do when school is out, but summer camps haven’t started yet?
Register now for this year’s School’s Out Summer Camp! 

School’s Out Summer Camp — Monday June 26 through Friday June 30, 9:30am to 4:30pm at 45 Pershing Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY.
In this one week session, young artists ages 5-10 learn new artistic skills, strengthen self-confidence, and express themselves in a fun and collaborative setting.

Classes include:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Animation
  • Dance

Families and friends are invited on Friday, June 30th at 3:30pm for an art show and performance!

Space is limited — sign up today!

Big Read Workshops with The Art Effect

The Art Effect and Poughkeepsie Public Library collaborated in this year’s 2022 Big Read workshops at Poughkeepsie High School and local libraries. 97 participants read the book selected for 2022: Little Monsters by Kelly Link. Painting, animation, and stop motion workshops inspired by the book took place at Poughkeepsie High School, as well as the Straatsburg and Millbrook libraries. Synthesizing literary analysis, media arts, and social-emotional learning, residency participants explored the book’s themes, as well as their own thoughts and responses, through visual mediums. Learn more about residencies with The Art Effect here.

Students at Poughkeepsie High School completed a project called “Animating Monster Metaphors.” They read the short story The Cinderella Game and discussed the use of monsters as a metaphor for emotions that can be difficult to talk about. Over the course of the eight-day residency, students designed “monster” characters based on their own fears, anxieties, and emotions, then scripted, animated, and edited narrative shorts on the subject. Some shorts featured completely digital imagery, while others utilized collage or drawing techniques. But in each finished product, students confronted and ultimately overcame their emotional “monsters”.

Patrons practice abstract painting techniques at Straatsburg Library.

At the Big Read workshop at Straatsburg Library patrons of all ages selected passages from the short stories “The Wrong Grace”, “The Faery Handbag”, and “The Specialist’s Hat”. They then depicted the moods and tones of these stories on paper with acrylic paint. Participants learned mark-making, color-mixing, and the use of abstract techniques to capture deep emotions. One participant commented, “{This workshop} encouraged creativity and stimulated imagination by giving tools to create without overwhelming people, and created a comfortable environment.”

Another workshop took place on November 9th at Millbrook Library, where Pretty Monsters stimulated conversation among patrons about how monsters can be metaphors for everyday problems and issues. Workshop participants collaborated on a stop-motion animated short about a problem everyone faces– fear of judgment. In a single session, they visually represented this fear and imagined a narrative about it– going through all steps of the stop-motion filmmaking process, from concept to execution to post-production. Teen Program Coordinator Risa Pomersiig said, “Thank you so much for running the Big Read program… It was informative and fun… a really wonderful experience.”

View the finished animation Eyes of Judgment here!

MADLab Students Create Mural for Scenic Hudson

The Art Effect’s Media/Arts/Design Lab program youth were commissioned by Scenic Hudson to paint a stunning mural at the old Harmon & Castella building at 164 Garden Street. In a fun collaboration project to involve the neighborhood in Scenic Hudson’s renovation and revitalization efforts, the mural represents the kind of place local residents believe Garden Street should become. 

painting mural project

MADLab participants Latiana, Lamont, Jason, and Sirena with assistance from their teacher, Morgan Suter were inspired by the idea of “community” to create the imagery for the project. They then used their unique talent and vision to illustrate what community means to them. They generated individual drawings and character sketches– drawing inspiration from familiar sights in their daily lives and imbuing these images with imagination and vitality. The four youth artists then combined their styles in an original painting of impressive scale.

“I am relieved, excited, and happy that a small drawing is now a huge piece of art,” Lamont said.

mural painting

The most important aspect of the mural is its expansive blackboard section, which invites passers-by to write and draw with chalk, continuing the act of artistic collaboration and further reinforcing the theme of community. The color scheme uses both cool and warm hues for a fun and vibrant effect that is welcoming in tone, yet retains the vivacious energy of their original sketches.

On Saturday, November 12th, Scenic Hudson held a block party where attendees collaborated on the blackboard section of the mural their own ideas for what the Harmon & Castella building could become with its upcoming renovations!

finished mural
finished mural

Engaging youth in the arts promotes powerful community change. From youth-designed public art and gallery curation to arts education, The Art Effect connects young people with opportunities to develop new skills and engage in civic life all year long. A special thank you to Scenic Hudson for their collaboration on this project and mission to environmental preservation. Our city streets are an important aspect of the environment, and the art which decorates Poughkeepsie is an integral part of the Hudson Valley’s famed beauty. Latiana, Lamont, Jason, and Sirena’s work celebrates both the human and the artistic aspects of our environment.  The finished mural now welcomes, inspires, and excites all who come to Garden Street.