Empower Young Artists to Lead Community Transformation

“Being a part of The Art Effect has made me a more dynamic thinker. I feel so much more confident in my idea processing. Also, seeing the [Wonderland] exhibition come together makes me proud because we put so much effort and heart into this festival. I’m excited for the community to experience it.”

— Jadeen Sampson, Student at The Art Effect

This #GivingTuesday, The Art Effect is launching an annual campaign. Help us reach our goal of $30,000! We need your support to continue to empower young artists like Jadeen to find their voices and lead community transformation! Text ARTEFFECT to 44-321 or donate online right now!

Jadeen began his artistic journey with The Art Effect in 2016. At first, he was a shy high school student, quietly drawing in the corner of our Pershing St. studio. When we first met him he was anxious at the thought of showing anyone his art or speaking in front of his class. At The Art Effect, Jadeen found his voice.

It was during his Media, Art, Design Lab (MADLab) program, when Jadeen was just 17 years old, that his voice began to grow. Working with educators at The Art Effect, he showed not only talent but also leadership skills completing public art installations, business logos, and refining his drawing skills. The following year, shortly after Jadeen’s senior year in high school, he worked as a youth employee of The Art Effect to film and interview the 2019 candidates running for Poughkeepsie Mayor with hopes of encouraging more votes. Through hosting these interviews, he showed his growing self-confidence as he asked both candidates tough questions on police relations in Poughkeepsie and the revitalization of Poughkeepsie’s Main Street.

In 2020, Jadeen worked on The TAG At Dutchess, a county-funded website that allowed him to create content and graphics to connect youth with resources and remote job opportunities during the pandemic. He then worked with Forge Media as a youth filmmaker apprentice, and finally as a key member of the Youth Curatorial Team at Trolley Barn Gallery.

He has participated in almost every program The Art Effect has to offer and was given an Outstanding Youth Employee Award by the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board for his passion and dedication to his work. Over the past year, Jadeen has planned, curated, and even painted the pavement for our first annual PKX Arts Festival. Jadeen is an instrumental youth employee in our youth workforce training programs including MADLab, the Youth Curatorial Team, and the PKX Festival Committee! Jadeen, like so many others at The Art Effect, has big dreams of changing the world through his many artistic endeavors — from drawing to music to public speaking. Jadeen has developed the skills that now match his drive and confidence and he continues to support the mission of The Art Effect as a key advocate and leader in community transformation.

“I feel like art is really important, especially in this community. When we get to make art here like we did this summer it reminds us that this is home. It’s our home, Poughkeepsie, New York. Art helps us realize that.”

— Jadeen Sampson, Student at The Art Effect

The PKX Festival is the cornerstone of the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone where youth like Jadeen engage the community in high quality visual and performing arts experiences that they curate. Within the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone youth are the leaders that showcase the impact that arts and arts education can have on both an individual and on our community.

From youth-designed public art and gallery curation to arts education, The Art Effect connects young people like Jadeen with opportunities to develop new skills and engage in civic life. Through the emerging Youth Arts Empowerment Zone — including the annual PKX festival and public art installations, young people are transforming the visual landscape of Poughkeepsie and beyond. Help spark a youth-led renaissance throughout the Hudson Valley. Support the creative voices of youth in our community by donating today. To make a donation or learn more about the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone, donate today!

“Jadeen is living proof that the arts empower! He first joined our programs unsure of what he wanted out of life, and over the years has developed into a successful freelance artist and designer who is constantly giving back to the community. I was always impressed with him as a student, now I’m beyond proud to work with him as a young adult at the start of his arts career, and I’m so excited to see what the next generation of youth like Jadeen are capable of!”

— Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, Director of Programs

2022 Reel Exposure International Teen Film and Photography Festival

Reel Exposure 2022
Wednesday – Friday, May 4, 5 & 6
Re-watch this year’s festival below!

Snag a digital program to learn more about all the amazing work in the festival!

Photography Exhibition
Trolley Barn Gallery, 489 Main St. Poughkeepsie
View the virtual gallery.

Reel Exposure Winners

First Place: “Audiophile” Risa Darlington-Horta
Second Place: “Frozen Over” Aaliyah Loverso
Third Place: “684” Andres Perez
Audience Choice Award: “Frozen Over” Aaliyah Loverso

First Place: Think Like A Filmmaker — by Eli Berliner
Second Place: Beth — by Ava Bounds
Third Place: Take heart! — by Lillith Jörg
Audience Choice Award: Cry About It – by Amani Jamal

Reel Exposure International Film and Photo Festival 2022

Virtual Short Film Screenings Part II with Awards, and Artist Q&A

Currently viewable on Facebook & YouTube

Don’t miss the the final night of the Reel Exposure International Teen Film and Photo Festival featuring a final screening, an awards ceremony, and a Q&A with some of the filmmakers and photographers whose work was featured in Reel Exposure.
Think Like A Filmmaker — by Eli Berliner *First Place Winner*
Cry About It — by Amani Jamal
Hook, Line, and Sinker — by Hudson Price
She— by Eva Li
Take heart! — by Lillith Jörg *Third Place Winner*

Virtual Short Film Screenings Part I

Currently viewable on Facebook & YouTube

Watch the first half of the Reel Exposure Festival’s Short Film Showcase with us tonight, as we all get together virtually for some exciting films from all over the world.
Beth — by Ava Bounds *Second Place Winner*
Eidolon — by Zev Marinoff
It’s Getting Bad Again — by Sarah Reyes
DON’T OPEN THAT BOX! — by Mason Jones
The Girl Who Cried Sick — by Ruby Taylor
She Can’t Control Herself — by WVN Productions

reel exposure

About Reel Exposure

Reel Exposure Film & Photo Festival features photography and youth-produced short films – animations, documentaries, dramas, horror, and comedies – created by talented young artists from across the world.

Reel Exposure encompasses all of The Art Effect’s goals: to encourage youth creativity, to invigorate our local community through the arts, and to showcase the incredible work done by this next generation of media-makers.

The Art Effect’s annual event encourages youth creativity, invigorates the local community
through the arts, and showcases the incredible work done by the next generation of artists from around the globe and right here in Poughkeepsie!

“Seeing a film you put all of this work into actually get attention, to have people genuinely enjoy something you made at Reel Exposure, it’s really special, especially when you’re just starting out. It was a call to action for me, like, ‘This is something you’re supposed to do, keep at it!” – Matthew Hamilton, 2020 Reel Exposure Participant

About the Photography Exhibition

reel exposure awards

Professional and youth jurors selected photographs from submissions from teens ages 13-19 across the world. In the past, submissions have come from Singapore, Italy, Islamic Republic of Iran, and the United States. Opening with a public reception, this exciting youth exhibition remains on display at the Trolley Barn Gallery and is accompanied by a virtual gallery tour for those unable to attend. Photography Exhibition opening will be on May 4, 2022.

About the Film Festival

Viewers can expect to see a mix of film genres in film festival lineup, including animations, documentaries, dramas, horror, and comedies from teen filmmakers. 12 short films will be screened virtually on May 5-6, 2022. In the past, submissions have come from The United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Mexico, China, and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Inspired by the amazing photographs and films young artists around the world are creating? Please consider donating to The Art Effect to help support the youth arts programming taking place in the Hudson Valley right now!

Reel Exposure is supported in part by monies received from the New York State Council On The Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Vassar Brothers Institute Donor Advisor Fund of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley.

2022 Teen Visions

Teen Visions - Tabitha Koren
Artwork by Tabitha Koren

Experience art through the eyes of talented teens who created an impressive collection of artworks, including drawing, painting, photography, digital animation, film, mixed media, and more!

Teen Visions is a culmination of hard work and dedication the work of selected young artists from The Art Effect’s 2022 summer programs including Summer Art Institute, Junior Art Institute, MADLab, Spark Studios, and D-LIT. It is an incredible accomplishment to be chosen for the Teen Visions Exhibition. As part of The Art Effect’s growing mission to empower youth as leaders who catalyze and engage the community through the arts and re-energize downtown Poughkeepsie, Teen Visions is exhibited alongside professional artists from The Art Effect’s annual membership community November 18 – December 9, 2022.

Join us for an opening reception on Friday, November 18 from 5-7pm

Gallery Hours
Wednesday – Friday, 2-5pm
Saturday, 12-4pm

Apply to Winter Workforce Intensives

The Art Effect is now accepting applications for the 2022 Winter Intensive sessions of its two workforce development programs, Spark Studios and MADLab. These workforce programs are paid arts-based career and skills training experiences.

Applicants must be Dutchess County residents ages 14-19. Successful applicants will receive a stipend upon program completion.

Spark Studios Intensive: Create potentially award-winning photos and short films to enter into the Reel Exposure Teen Film & Photo 2023 Festival!

MADLab Intensive: Learn the art of illustration to help senior citizens at the Vassar Warner Home to preserve precious memories and create an illustrated book!

Intensive Dates: December 5th – 16th, Monday – Friday 3:30-5:30pm.

Apply Now

The Art Effect is back at Saturday Morning Lights

Saturday Morning Lights (SML), the Poughkeepsie City School District Community School’s flagship initiative, is set to return. This year’s SML will provide PCSD students and families grades PreK-12 opportunity to engage in academic enrichment, positive youth development, and family bonding experiences from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays starting Oct. 15, 2022 and ending June 17, 2023 at Poughkeepsie Middle School.

The Art Effect hosts several visual and media workshops throughout the programs including painting and digital music projects! Click here for more information about The Art Effect’s After School Enrichment Programs. Students will engage in a variety of project-based academic courses and interactive enrichment activities. Course options include creative writing, robotics, book club, math enrichment, and more. In these project-based learning classes, teachers design lessons to support students’ academic needs while also engaging them in interactive activities, collaborative group work, and problem-solving. 

Other community partners include; Community Matters 2, APJ Boxing, Growing Stemz, Family Services TRAC Center, Hudson River Housing, COP Police Department, The Chamber of Commerce Career Action Center and the Poughkeepsie Public Schools Foundation. Parent Engagement activities will be conducted by the Leadership Program.

All students and families in grades PreK-12 are encouraged to attend. Once enrolled, students and families will be given a schedule confirming their enrollment and the courses they are taking. Learn more and register at PoughkeepsieSchools.org


The Art Effect is hiring youth ages 18-24!

In partnership with Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board (DCWIB) and Dutchess One-Stop, The Art Effect is in search of young adult applicants to join the GVP Level Up Employment Program. 

In The Art Effect’s Level Up Program, selected applicants will:

  1. Receive 120 hours of paid employment in arts-related job roles,
  2. Receive on-the-job training in interviewing, resumes, financial literacy and other job skills,
  3. Receive assistance with job placement once the 120 hours is complete, and
  4. Continue receiving support as well as financial incentives for every 30 days the job is retained.

Eligible applicants will be contacted for an interview. 

Apply Here

Welcome New Members of The National Art Honor Society Chapter #2242

The Art Effect’s National Art Honor Society Chapter #2242 Welcomes 18 New Members! 🎉🎨

Membership into the NAHS gives excel level students participating in the Art Institute, MADLab, the Youth Curatorial Team, or Spark Studios at The Art Effect access to college scholarships from the NAEA (National Art Education Association). Furthermore, NAHS members are seen as leaders in their field and often receive priority treatment when applying to college. The average member in good standing, upon graduation has received $6,000 in scholarship dollars to attend college. Six of our graduates have even received the $60,000 NAEA scholarship to attend Pratt Institute’s Art Education program!

NAHS students will organize, plan, and host various art activities and projects to benefit the surrounding communities, such as our annual video & photography competition, Reel Exposure, gallery exhibits at the Trolley Barn Gallery, fun excursions to other galleries and museums, and Hudson Valley Regional Portfolio Week.

2022 – 2023 National Art Honor Society Members:

Myelle-Sanai J.

Israel R.

Malika O.

Tracy O.

Adel R., Poughkeepsie High School

Juliana S., Roy C Ketcham High School

Saoirse W.

Vanessa M., Beacon High School

Serafin G., Corwall Central Highschool

Jahnvi M.

Catarina G., Arlington High School

Leroy M., Boces Beta

Juliana W., Warwick Valley High School

Fiona S.

Celia D., Haldane High School

Kaley S., Wallkill Senior High School

Jessica B.

Gabriel K.

Spark Studios Fall Program Has Begun for New Students

Spark Studios students are learning the basic fundamentals of photography this fall with a new group of teens ages 14-19. This semester, students learn filmmaking and videography in order to develop their film production and professional skills including:

  • Working with clients on commercial videos
  •  Bringing a creative vision to life across stages of production

Youth who complete Spark Studios can earn a $100 stipend. The Art Effect’s Youth Workforce Training Programs 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.

Check out this behind the scenes video create by Spark Studios intern Leo. Over the past week, students have learned the concept photography and are working together to create artistic photos to submit to Reel Exposure International Film and Photography Festival and the Scholastic Arts & Writing competition!

Fall semester of Spark Studios runs September 27 – November 17, 2022, 3:00-5:30pm at the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, 8 North Cherry Street, Third Floor, Poughkeepsie, NY 12508

Spark Studios teaches film and media arts to empower youth’s voices, build workforce development skills, provide paid work experience, and help students get on a path to college and career success. Youth in Spark Studios learn filmmaking, photography, digital media production, and create media projects in teams and for community clients.

Learn more about Spark Studios: https://thearteffect.org/programs/spark-studios

Art Portfolio Photography Day on October 15th!

Come to a free, drop-in Art Portfolio Photography Day hosted by The Art Effect!

Bring your art portfolio and get your pieces photographed, perfect for participants to show college representatives in the upcoming Hudson Valley Regional Portfolio Week!

When: Saturday October 15th, 12-4pm

Where: Trolley Barn Gallery, 489 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY.

First 5 photos are free, then $2 per additional image. Photos will be sent via email in the following week.

No registration required.

Mayor Proclaims PKX Day! Poughkeepsie Youth Take Over The City With PKX Arts Festival

PKX Paint the pavement

The exciting beginnings of the new Youth Arts Empowerment Zone spearheaded by The Art Effect can be seen on the streets of Middle Main Poughkeepsie this month thanks in part to the paint the pavement artists from the PKX Festival that took place on September 15-17, 2022. PKX festival featured a gorgeous sidewalk painting designed by students, Jadeen Sampson and Keli Faircloth, and created by local artist Nestor Madalengoitia and students from The Art Effect, a gallery exhibition, teen dance party, musical performances, food vendors, entertainment, and a wide variety of art-making activities from community partners including Hudson River HousingPoughkeepsie Public Library DistrictThinkubator NutritionArts Mid-HudsonCelebrating the African SpiritFallKill Creative WorksThe YOU (Youth Opportunity Union)Poughkeepsie High SchoolBoys and Girls Club of Newburgh/PPAAMarist Liberty Partnership ProgramPK Open StudiosPoughkeepsie Farm ProjectHUDSYNuvance HealthThe Dutchess County Chamber of CommerceSNUGThe Frances Lehman Loeb Art CenterPlanned ParenthoodMASS Design Group, and Vassar College.

The festival that brought in more than 700 people over the course of three days was a “Huge Success” says Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, Executive Director of The Art Effect who also runs the Trolley Barn Gallery in Poughkeepsie, NY. “We are so proud of what the students in our community have helped create. Not only are their futures looking bright, but we got a glimpse into how bright the future of public art throughout Poughkeepsie is and what it can mean for this community,” says Nicole.

The PKX Festival serves as a building block to the development of Youth Arts Empowerment Zone, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant, establishing a youth-led arts district in and around the Trolley Barn Gallery, the only youth-led gallery in the state! “The Youth Arts Empowerment Zone is an integral part of our community. The festival is another great example of how the arts in Poughkeepsie are providing an avenue for people to come together and be proud of where they live,” says Poughkeepsie Mayor, Rob Rolison. The mayor declared September 17, 2022 as PKX Day in the City of Poughkeepsie which will reoccur for each year’s festival.

Over the last eighteen months, PKX Festival Youth Committee consisting of Poughkeepsie High School students and alumni worked alongside artist duo BoogieREZ and Curator Alison M. Glenn to create and curate various art experiences throughout the festival including a public art installation and an artfully curated exhibition. The PKX Committee is one of The Art Effect’s newest youth training programs at the Trolley Barn Gallery where students learn and practice public speaking skills, conduct presentations to government officials and learn about place making – a people-centered approach to planning, designing and managing public spaces.

“Being a part of the Youth Curatorial Team has made me a more dynamic thinker. I feel so much more confident in my idea processing. Also, seeing the [Wonderland] exhibition come together makes me proud of myself and my colleagues, because we put so much effort and heart into this festival and I’m so excited for the community to experience it.”  says Jadeen Sampson, Curatorial Team and PKX Festival Youth Member

The Art Effect is interviewing and hiring the next group of PKX Committee youth to help plan the 2023 PKX Festival, “Droppin’ Jewels” next fall and promises to be even bigger and better with more than 1,000 people in attendance. “Seeing the exhibition come together makes me proud of myself and my colleagues because we put so much effort and heart into this festival,” comments Jadeen,. “The main goal is to do it again, we want it to be a success.” he said.

To get involved with The Art Effect in the development of the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone, or the PKX Festival, reach out to PKXFestival@TheArtEffect.org or to see a gallery of photos from this year’s festival and stay up to date on the plans for next year, visit PKXFestival.org