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NeON Arts Digital Workshops in Winter 2020 Offer Creative Learning Experiences for Young People Across New York City

Free Online Artistic Workshops for Young New Yorkers —Ranging from Documentary Filmmaking to Visual Arts— Are Led by Local Artists and Organizations

NYC Department of Probation and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Partner to Bring Free Arts Programming to the NYC Community

(New York, NY, December 1, 2020)—Carnegie Hall, in partnership with the New York City Department of Probation (DOP), today announced that hundreds of young people from across New York City will participate in free digital creative workshops—including music production, theater, culinary arts, documentary filmmaking, visual art, and more—as part of NeON Arts. Beginning in December, youth will have opportunities to learn and receive mentorship from local artists and organizations in weekly online workshops that enable them to connect and collaborate as an online community.

A program of the DOP and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI), NeON Arts integrates free arts programming into seven Neighborhood Opportunity Networks (NeONs)—community centers across the city—supporting young people, ages 16–24, in exploring the arts, establishing positive peer relationships, and developing important social and career skills.

NeON Arts provides funding to New York City artists and arts organizations, inviting them to produce programs in partnership with the NeONs, which connect residents to opportunities, resources, and services in their neighborhoods.

The nine artists and organizations that have been awarded funding in winter 2020 include: Creative Expressions Unlimited; Educational Video Center, Inc.; Free Verse; Hip Hop Re: Education Project, Inc.; International Child Program; visual artist Leopold Vasquez; visual artist/filmmaker Shaunese Crawford; Sun Done Food; and Tech Kids Unlimited.

Launched in 2013, NeON Arts celebrates youth, highlights creative talent, and develops the social and professional skills of participants, preparing them for careers inside and outside the arts. Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute manages the grant-making process for NeON Arts, coordinating events and working with arts organizations and stakeholders. An integral part of NeON Arts has been the direct involvement of local community members. Local NeON stakeholders select participating arts organizations made up of people on probation, DOP staff, key community members, and local businesses.

About the NeON Arts’ Grantees / Winter 2020 Programs

Creative Expressions Unlimited offers innovative, participant-centered programming designed to educate, empower, and enrich participants' lives through the arts. Through their “Connect Sounds” workshop this winter, participants will learn about digital music production, audio engineering, and songwriting as they work to create and publish their own content, as well as the wide variety of professional career opportunities available in today's evolving market.

Founded in 1984, the Educational Video Center, Inc. (EVC) has evolved from a single video workshop for teenagers to become an award-winning, internationally acclaimed leader in youth media education. Through EVC’s workshop, youth will explore the powerful connections between art and activism as they learn to shoot, edit, and produce social-justice documentaries.

Free Verse is led by Dave Johnson, who is on the faculty at the New School, and is a poet, playwright, actor and translator. Through the group’s workshop “Act Like You Mean It,” participants will learn about acting from contemporary, classic, and original plays and screenplays. The workshop will focus on interpreting literature and provide tools to write original monologues and scripts for the stage, screen, and digital social platforms such as Zoom and YouTube.

Hip Hop Re: Education Project, Inc. is a creative youth development organization that engages communities in the artistic processes of hip-hop culture, inspiring them to transform their world. In this winter’s workshop, “All-City Cipher,” participants will create songs, music videos, PSAs, and social media campaigns to learn about the significance of multimedia content as a tool for self-expression.

The International Child Program’s (ICP) mission is to help youth and their communities gain cultural awareness and understanding of the people of many nations while exploring new artistic interests and recognizing the potential they have to contribute to the global society. This winter, through “Pocket Flicks: Filmmaking with Cell Phones,” youth will be given the tools to nurture and develop filmmaking skills—all through their cell phones—and create public service announcements with informative messages to distribute to their communities.

Leopold Vasquez is a New York City-based visual artist who, this winter, leads a creative, educational art history program, which empowers youth and helps to guide them to the source of their inherent creativity. Through the “B is for Basquiat” workshop, participants will learn about Black and brown art history with a focus on Jean-Michel Basquiat, develop artistic techniques, and, at the culmination of the workshop, create their very own coffee table book filled with their original art.

Shaunese Crawford is a visual artist and filmmaker with nearly ten years of professional experience in the film industry helping creators share their voice through digital media creation. His workshop this winter, “20/20 Vision: The Fundamentals of Digital Filmmaking,” will help participants learn the fundamentals of digital cinematography including shot composition, camera movement, and creative storytelling. To culminate the workshop, participants will create their own short visual film.

Sun Done Food understands in these days and times that good, nutritious food is crucial to good health and should be available to all. This winter, workshop participants will learn more efficient and effective ways to prepare healthier, balanced plates out of everyday favorite meals. Each week, participants will receive a delivery of fresh groceries and will be offered a virtual weekly cooking workshop where they prepare the food and are educated on the benefits of the items in their box.

Founded in 2009, Tech Kids Unlimited (TKU) was created to address the gap for students with disabilities, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are interested in STEM learning and careers. Through their coding, gaming, and website creation workshop, participants will learn about social justice issues, reflect on their own identities, challenge their assumptions, and gain important technological skills.

NeON Arts Pivot to Digital in Spring 2020
In spring 2020, in response to challenges brought on by COVID-19, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute transitioned its core educational and social impact programming to digital platforms, greatly expanding its online offerings for young people across the globe. The emergence of the pandemic thwarted long-awaited plans, activities, camps, and experiences for teens. In spring and summer 2020, NeON Arts, which previously offered programs in seven New York City neighborhoods, shifted to an all-digital program, and received a record number of applications. The program was able to serve more New York City teens than ever before through a wide range of online creative workshops, including digital music production, visual arts, creative writing, theater, and more.

Last summer, NeON Arts also partnered with NeON Summer, a six-week remote learning immersion program that connected 2,700 youth with paid learning opportunities for building workplace success skills, fostering creative expression, strengthening community, and supporting young people and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The summer intensive culminated in a virtual showcase in which NeON Arts participants shared their work with the broader community. Participants from the summer also shared their reflections, experiences, and artwork in an online magazine.

“This workshop appeared on my Facebook feed at just the right time. I was spiraling through grief and uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic, and this workshop really got me together. This workshop offered me the support, structure, and systems I needed to commit to not only writing and sharing my work but also to healing. As an instructor and human being, Nicole offers affirmation alongside the accountability necessary for us to dig deep and share our stories. I left this workshop with new connections, the beginnings of many new pieces, and a renewed sense of confidence in myself as a writer and human capable of healing. I am so grateful for this transformative experience.” -- NeON Arts youth participant.

About Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) creates visionary programs that embody Carnegie Hall’s commitment to music education, playing a central role in fulfilling the Hall’s mission of making great music accessible to as many people as possible. With unparalleled access to the world’s greatest artists, WMI’s programs are designed to inspire audiences of all ages, nurture tomorrow’s musical talent, and harness the power of music to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. An integral part of Carnegie Hall’s concert season, these programs facilitate creative expression, develop musical skills and capacities at all levels, and encourage participants to make lifelong personal connections to music. The Weill Music Institute generates new knowledge through original research and is committed to giving back to its community and the field, sharing an extensive range of online music education resources and program materials for free with teachers, orchestras, arts organizations, and music lovers worldwide. Nearly 800,000 people each year engage in WMI’s programs through national and international partnerships, in New York City schools and community settings, and at Carnegie Hall. This includes more than half a million students and teachers worldwide who participate in WMI’s Link Up music education program for students in grades 3 through 5, made possible through Carnegie Hall partnerships with more than 110 orchestras in the US from Alaska to Puerto Rico, as well as internationally in Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Kenya, and Spain.

For a full list of free WMI online resources, please visit: carnegiehall.org/Explore/Learn.

About The New York City Department of Probation (DOP)
The New York City Department of Probation (DOP) helps build stronger and safer communities, fostering positive change by working with and supervising people on probation. Learn more: nyc.gov/probation


NeON Arts is a program of the NYC Department of Probation in partnership with Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.

Lead support is provided through NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Innovative Criminal Justice Programs Initiative with sponsorship by Council Members Keith Powers, Vanessa Gibson, and Jimmy Van Bramer.

Major support is provided by The Kresge Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the City of New York through Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Vanessa Gibson, Robert Holden, and Deborah Rose, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Young Men's Initiative. 

Photo at top of release by Chris Lee.

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