Archive: HCX | Ti Atis Room Renovation Project at P.S.189, The Bilingual Center

Ti Atis e anpil travay (Little Artists and a lot of work)
By Kassandra Khalil


The Ti Atis Arts Room Renovation was an interesting lesson in planning and group work. On two consecutive Saturdays in February at the dewy morning call time of 9am, a team of eager volunteers trickled in to P.S.189, The Bilingual Center in East New York, Brooklyn. Their first task: carrying construction and renovation supplies to the arts room on the 4thfloor. To most people, giving up their Saturday morning for semi-hard labor is sort of a no go. Not for the HCX volunteer. The eagerness and positive congenial mood of our team of volunteers got the HCX staff’s energy going more than the coffee did!

The renovation started with the cathartic gutting of a closet and speed sorting seemingly endless boxes of arts supplies that had been donated by members of the HCX community and Materials for the Arts. The “handy-er” volunteers took on the task of constructing the shelving for the closet as the rest of us began painting and beautifying the classroom. The creative students of P.S.189 took to making really psychedelic star decorations for the banner board while others gave the room a thorough scrub down.

By the end of the first week, we all thought that the next Saturday would be more of a light-weight finishing touches sort of deal. We were definitely wrong. After painting the closet, we moved on to the construction of the sliding door panels. Overcoming the hurdles of size, shape and the lack of clear instruction manuals, we got the doors to slide. While the rest of the team worked on filling the closet with the sorted bins of supplies, P.S.189 student volunteers began mounting their stars around the room. By the time both teams turned around, we were startled by the change we had made on the room. It looked great! The myriad of melon shades on the closets against the calming purple of the banner board pooled well with the finishing touch of a brand new blue and yellow floor rug.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the room took place the following Friday morning. Students of P.S.189 thanked volunteers in the three teaching languages of th school: English, Kreyòl, and Spanish. Engy Lamour, one of the volunteers for the room renovation was actually an old student of P.S.189! He explained to the students the importance of the arts and the opportunity that going to a school like P.S.189 afforded him later in life. Afterwards, the students and Principal Berthe Faustin invited us for refreshments. The coffee, orange juice, and milk boxes tasted like nostalgia and a refreshing job well done.

Over the course of 2 weekends, our team of HCX volunteers succeeded in revitalizing an ironically drab arts room and made it into a positive and engaging arts space for the children of P.S.189. Thanks again for all you do! We can’t wait for the continuation of this project, the Ti Atis Collaborative Mural that begins in April!

A special thank you to Jeanne Heifetz and Brooklyn for Barack volunteers, without whom this project would have never been possible.

This project was completed through funding from Citizens Committee for New York City and donations from Materials for the Arts as well as HCX friends like you!


This entry was posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 11:21 am and is filed under Archive, Arts, Classes, Crafts, Events, HCX Programs, Music, Ti Atis, Visual Art, Youth Programs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.