YAEZ Liaisons’ New Pavement Mural

The Youth Arts Empowerment Zone (YAEZ) liaisons have revitalized the pavement outside the Trolley Barn Gallery with a vibrant mural, revamping the previous artwork. This project is part of their annual community engagement efforts, where local students organize workshops, art activities, and an arts festival. 

The YAEZ liaisons collaborated on a lively, pop-inspired design. Through interactive workshops, they created characters and themes celebrating nature and Poughkeepsie’s landscape. The community embraced the project, with over 50 people participating in the painting process. The mural now serves as a joyful centerpiece, engaging residents and visitors with community spirit!

Teaching Artist: Destiny Arianna  

Assistant: Tamara Gentle  


Keima Worme  

Ashley Lewis  

Tahleeya Raphael  

Shandrela Williams  

Tamara Gentle: ‘Color My Future’ Coloring Book

Meet Tamara Gentle, a dynamic and talented artist who graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2023. A proud alumna of Poughkeepsie High School, Tamara has impacted the art community over the past two years. She has dedicated her time as a teaching artist at The Art Effect, where she has played a role in assisting with residencies and co-teaching the MADLab youth workforce program. Her commitment to fostering creativity and skill development in young artists has made her an important figure among students.

One of Tamara’s standout achievements includes her involvement with the Color My Future Duchess County Career coloring book. Originally, she was part of the team that designed the original illustrations for this innovative project. More recently, she took the lead on updating the content, providing illustration support to ensure the book remains a valuable and engaging resource. 

Earth’s Reflection March Events 

At the Trolley Barn Gallery, the power of art to inspire change, and foster community engagement is important. The international open call for the Earth’s Reflection exhibition invites artists to explore art, environment, and social justice through these various events:

Lauren Hollick – Studio Visit (March 8)

Lauren Hollick is a Hudson Valley artist and educator who works mostly with upcycled materials. Studios toured her studio at the Cunneen-Hackett Art Center and asked her questions about her artistic practice and personal motivation to create climate change sensitive art. Hollick explained her process of making paper and collecting found objects for her artwork.

Elinor Levy – Guest Speaker, Activity (March 15)

Elinor Levy is a Hudson Valley artist and Folk Arts Program Manager at Arts Mid-Hudson. Levy talked the students through concepts of cultural sustainability and local folklore. They discussed how legends and stories about a place can affect a city just as much as the truth and how a culture can be changed when the narrative about a place changes. Levy led a “Jane’s Walk” around Main Street in Poughkeepsie and the students observed their environment and investigated local meeting spots, abandoned locations and statements of local culture articulated through signage and folklore. The students learned how individual identity can be crafted in response to environment and history. 

Serena Domingues – Workshop (March 16)

Serena Domingues is a Founder of Nature’s Impact – a Poughkeepsie based environmental education organization that curates experimental art installations and holds pop up workshops and activities focused on exploring the connection between humans and nature. Serena put together a workshop to teach the students how to create pinch-pots out of clay. While the students manipulated clay into their desired shapes, Serena explained her practice and professional journey – reminding our students that there is no single, right way to become an artist and start your own business. Serena also spoke about clay, it’s originals and asked the students to speak on how clay makes them feel and think – and how it feels to be connected to the Earth and to use earth as a medium for artmaking. 

Harrison Brisbon-McKinnon – Guest Speaker, Activity (March 16)

Harrison Brisbon-McKinnon is a Vassar student and Art Effect alum who volunteered to give a two part presentation on ownership and identity and how it is informed by a person’s environment. Brisbon-McKinnon spent a large portion of last summer studying Earth Science and technology – holding a weekly workshop to help underrepresented communities gain access to advanced scientific technology. In part one of his presentation, Brisbon-McKinnon introduced the students to concepts of body ownership and consumption. He asked students to image that their bodies were not their own – that they are in fact part of the Earth and part of a bigger system of ecology that may be outside the realm of individual identity. In an exercise, he asked students to delete an app from their phone whose sole purpose was consumerism to empower them to contribute more to the culture, not just ingest what has already been created. In part two of his presentation, he employed an activity similar to the Jane’s Walk the students participated in with Elinor Levy. But for this activity the purpose was to dissect who the building truly belonged to – beyond legal ownership – and what was the purpose of these locations for the community members who patronized them. The students were encouraged to discuss the purpose of these locations and how they would change if their ownership of those locations reflected the community more than capitalistic endeavors. 

Sheri Reid – Guest Speaker (March 29)

Sheri Reid is a environmental justice consultant and Poughkeepsie local. Reid gave a presentation to the students that illustrated the institutional policies that built Poughkeepsie and created the racial and economic divides within the city. Reid’s presentation included maps and demographic information of the city of Poughkeepsie which clearly demonstrated the access (or in access) to reliable FEMA resources considering that the majority of Poughkeepsie is in a flood plain. This presentation sparked lively discussion about institutional racism and different environmental factors that contribute to further disparity between marginalized and non-marginalized communities. 

These events have deepened the understanding of art, environment, and social justice, inspiring a commitment to positive change.The Trolley Barn Gallery is excited to showcase diverse perspectives at Earth’s Reflection, with an opening reception on June 14 from 6 PM to 8 PM. The exhibition will be displayed from June 14 to August 9, 2024, highlighting art’s power to engage and inspire.

PKX Festival 2024 Highlights

The PKX Festival was a great success this year! From music performances to inspiring showcases, the energy was vibrant throughout the event. We are happy to relive these moments of creativity and community with these stunning photos from the event!

Thank you to all who made the PKX Festival unforgettable!

Summer Workforce Programs 2024

Get Paid to Create This Summer! Ages 14-19
Get Your Working Papers Ready Now & Get Paid This Summer!
Contact your school nurse or counselor for more information on working papers.

The Art Effect empowers youth to develop their artistic voice to shape their futures by giving them the opportunity to develop real skills, and guiding them towards achieving their academic and career goals. The Art Effect’s youth workforce programs build workforce development skills, provide paid work experience, and help students get on a path to college and career success! Each program offers different skills from film and photography to public art, to place keeping and curation.
Choose the program right for you below and Fill out the form here!

MADLab (Media, Arts & Design Lab) 
July 8 – August 25
Monday – Thursday, 10am – 5pm


MADLab is an arts-based career & skills development program that 
trains youth in:
•  Visual art, graphic design, and aesthetic development skills
• Creating public art projects with professional artists
• Leadership and communication skills through public outreach

Spark Studios
July 8 – August 25
Monday – Thursday, 10am – 5pm


Spark Studios is a media-based career and skills development program that trains youth through community client projects and original creative film. Training includes:
•  Video production, camera operation, filmmaking techniques
•  Working with clients on commercial video
•  Video editing software including sound mixing

Youth Arts Empowerment Zone Summer Workforce Development Program

July 10 – August 16
Part-time, (3-4 days/week, Wednesday – Friday/ Saturday)
10am – 5pm (with special hours for trips and events

This six-week summer intensive program is designed to teach community engagement and curatorial skills while developing each youth curator’s individual creative voice. Youth curators lead the ongoing activation of the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone in and around the Trolley Barn Gallery. This summer, teens will build their skills in public speaking, collaboration, art handling, and marketing while participating in field trips, studio visits, and mentorship discussions with accredited local curators, artists and community leaders. This is a great opportunity to learn how the arts can guide community development and strengthen civic participation. The youth curators decide what is showcased at the Trolley Barn Gallery and design complimentary public events and workshops.

This is a part-time position for Hudson Valley youth between the ages of 14-19 in which youth receive a stipend of $1,200. Click Here to Apply

MADLab Students Unveil Public Art Sculpture at PKX Festival

The upcoming PKX Festival, themed “Droppin’ Jewels,” is deeply rooted in the wisdom and influence of Keli Faircloth’s grandmother, a beloved figure in her life. As an active member of The Art Effect’s programs and a vital part of the PKX Festival Committee and Youth Curatorial Team, Keli embodies the theme through her role as a knowledge keeper, inspired by her grandmother’s wise words: “Child, I just dropped some jewels on you.” This personal connection will fill the festival with a spirit of wisdom, creativity, and community empowerment, celebrating Poughkeepsie’s creative energy across generations.

MADLab students, Mahogany and Kierra Thomas embarked on a visionary project during a May sculpture intensive. Inspired by the theme of “Droppin’ Jewels,” they developed an idea of crystal-like trees to symbolize imparting wisdom. Under the guidance of artist Suprina Kenney-Troche,  the students brought their vision to life. The outcome is an incredible gem tree, ready to captivate visitors at PKX Festival.

The gem tree serves not only as an inspirational piece of art but also as an interactive installation. Festival attendees are invited to participate by hanging pieces of wisdom or advice on the tree, fostering a sense of community and shared experience.

Join us at the PKX Festival, April 20, for the unveiling of this special creation, where art, collaboration, and inspiration converge to create a truly memorable experience.


David Wong

Suprina Kenney-Troche

MADLab Youth:

Aiden Colby 

Ilyssa Waite

Jurenei Favours

Antonio Carrera

Anderson Casco

Skit Lucca

Jaslene Johnson

Salahdeen Hamira

Sanai Leary

Yani Gaskin

Phylea Clarke

Anayi Twyman

Nyhkaii Tissiera

Oneka Hall

PKX Film Showcase 2024

On Friday, April 19 at 6:30 PM the film festival kicks off with incredible short films produced by youth from around the country, as well as from the City of Poughkeepsie. Following the showcase, Poughkeepsie youth who participated in The Art Effect’s winter break workforce training intensive with featured artist Hezues R., filmmaker and media entrepreneur and Poughkeepsie High School alumnus, will debut their collaborative film, The Last String. The evening will culminate with an awards presentation and Q&A with the youth filmmakers.

2024 Film Festival Lineup:

Heart of Pearls (Hati Manek)
Runtime: 4:05
Alessandra Low & Margaret Feliciano

A young Peranakan girl rejects the traditional art of Kasut Manek for modern trends, machinery, and industrialization. She only learns the importance of her culture after a fight between her and her mother and takes the first steps to embrace her tradition after apologizing.

Anna McGee’s Wild Ride
Runtime: 1:36
Ava Bounds
, Age 18
Leeds, UK
A teenager on the cusp of adulthood flies through her entire future while stuck in a traffic jam.

For All That Was Lost
Runtime: 4:46
Will Hemphill & Nolan Crane
, Age 16
Newport Beach, CA
For All That Was Lost follows two brothers and their wives separated by war; examining the power of human connection, love and healing.

The Last Wipe
Runtime: 5:10
Yaseen AlAradi, Age 20
The Last Wipe is a student short film about a struggling university student trying to go through life and washing cars for a living.

The Gouda News
Runtime: 5:14
Chatham Rigsby
Savannah, GA

A little girl in an effort to sell cheese for a school fundraiser stumbles upon an ingenious marketing approach.

Runtime: 8:02
Johan Hernandez, Age 18
Poughkeepsie, NY

In a modern-dystopian short film, a new social media app creates a descent into madness for kids, teenagers, and adolescents. This app attracts Friend, an aspiring influencer hoping to reach the top as soon as possible, and the protagonist is brought along for the ride.

Runtime: 2:19
Jay Lau
Hong Kong, China

Runtime: 3:22
Eva Iglesias Lorenzo
Vigo, Spain

A series of events envelop Theresa in an emotional journey of descent through the consequences of the OCD she suffers: Excoriation Disorder, leading her to harm her own skin. In this process, Theresa battles her own monsters to regain self-control and return to the world.

Wake Up Call!
Runtime: 3:42
Sarah Gleixner, Age 20
Marysville, PA

A college student gets an unwanted visitor in her dorm.

Runtime: 8:32
Soly Gutierrez
San Antonio, TX

Determined to match up to his idol, Tim Duncan, an underachieving teen with a Napoleon complex organizes a slam dunk contest.

Runtime: 5:47
Cherilyn Audelia, Age 20
Tangerang, Indonesia

Being colorblind, a man is now trapped in an unfulfilling job after he failed to become a pilot, searching desperately for unattainable happiness that makes him dependent on psychosis that erases the line between reality and his imagination.

The Man
Runtime: 3:54
Maria Dmitrieva, Age 17
Russian Federation

A fantasy about a cycle where a hunter tracks down a wolf and, after eating it, becomes one himself.

“Who We Are” Music Video

Join us on day two of this year’s PKX Festival, April 19th at the Trolley Barn Gallery for the World Premiere of the Who We Are music video created by the youth of Spark Studios.

Video edited by Raymond “Rayband” C., Spark Studios

Behind The Scenes with Spark Studios

Take a look behind the scenes as the Spark Studios youth prepare for this year’s PKX Festival’s Official Music Video, “Who We Are”! VLOG Produced by JD @jaydeegreat

This year’s PKX Festival, “Droppin’ Jewels” celebrates the richness of Poughkeepsie’s community, highlighting its assets, heroes, and the intergenerational creative energy that defines the city. Throughout the free, 3-day festival, families, friends, and the community will participate in family-friendly art and media activities, teen art exhibition opening reception, short-film screenings, food trucks, vendors, and more. All components of the festival are free and open to the public.

Music Video Youth Credits:

Maximus Barry
Raymond Candido
Sharie Ortiz
Malika Oszip
Sagiv Baker
October Davis
Jayden Thoman
Lilly Oleary
Max Goodhill
Riley Slosson
Wiles Assael
Aiden Colby