Archive for the ‘Ti Atis’ Category

Reflections on The Creative Expression Through Movement Residency in the Ti Atis Program – by Maxine Montilus, HCX Teaching Artist


I was hired as a teaching artist by Haiti Cultural Exchange in September 2014 to conduct a ten-week residency in the Ti Atis program at PS 189K-The Bilingual Center in East New York, Brooklyn as part of the school’s “Arts Wednesdays” for their middle school students. I chose to craft a residency centered on creative movement and poetry, for I was interested in facilitating a program in which students had room to express themselves. I did this with the notion that students would get to select which class they could take in the program. However, the students were separated by grade level in each arts class, and in the process, I ended up with all male students on the first day! (Three female students later joined the class.)

My biggest challenge in the residency was finding ways to keep the students engaged for 90 minutes throughout our time together each Wednesday afternoon. I would often keep activities to 20 minute intervals so that the students remained focused on the tasks at hand. We explored movement principles rooted in Laban Movement Analysis (an approach to dance created by modern dance pioneer Rudolf Laban) and created movement sentences using those principles. I also taught the students hip hop phrases as well, since they loved hip hop music and movement.

Ti atis 2 Ti atis 4

As for the written portion of the program, we explored works by Franketienne, Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. I also gave them various writing prompts to freely write their own thoughts on topics such as gratitude and their favorite activities, as well as create their own poems. My favorite moments in the program were when I chose to take on heavier topics with the students for their writing. For example, there was one week in which I facilitated a discussion on hip hop, in which the students brought up various issues within the genre, such as misogyny and the use of the “n” word by their favorite artists. On the last day of the program, we had a discussion on police brutality and the use of the arts to combat injustice.

What was most encouraging for me was to see that the students were engaged with the world around them, and critically thinking about social issues in their environment. Being a part of the Ti Atis program left me with questions on how to further work with young people on using the arts for social change and further encourage critical thought on various topics. This was a huge learning experience for me, and I hope my students got as much out of it as I did!

Posted in Archive, Arts, Dance, HCX Programs, Ti Atis, Youth Programs | No Comments »

Ti Atis | Introducing Teaching Artist Okai Fleurimont – by Jessica Tong, Communications and Outreach Intern


Haiti Cultural ExchangeAs we say goodbye to Maxine Montilus, our previous Ti Atis teaching artist, HCX is happy to introduce Okai Fleurimont who will be teaching a 10-week arts residency, Discovering the Music of the African Diaspora, at PS 189 The Bilingual Center.  Held in collaboration with HAUP’s after-school program for middle-school students, the HCX Ti Atis program provides youth of all ages an opportunity to connect with Haiti’s cultural heritage.

Okai has always been involved in giving back to his community through his work with organizations such as Hospital Audience Incorporated (HAI),, and Hip Hop Saves Lives.  Teaching children how to write lyrics, produce a beat, and through percussion lessons, Okai provides opportunities for youth to share their ideas and foster their creative development.

During this arts residency, children will discover the music of the African diaspora including: Blues & Jazz from New Orleans, Hip Hop and Salsa from New York, Reggae from Jamaica, Samba from Brazil, and Rara from Haiti.  Okai will use instruments, audio, video, rap and poetry to help his students gain better knowledge of how the music of the past has developed into the music of the present.  Using percussion instruments, participants start to understand the dynamic nature of music from the African diaspora, examine key influences and struggles, and begin to understand how culture and globalization interact in our daily lives and within music.  HCX is pleased to welcome Okai!

Posted in Arts, Dance, Music, Poetry, Ti Atis, Youth Programs | No Comments »

Ti Atis | Introducing Teaching Artist Maxine Montilus – by Jessica Tong, Communications and Outreach Intern


shocphoto_maxine_634-Edit_web_We are excited to have Maxine join the HCX team where she will be teaching a 10-week arts residency, Creative Expression Through Movement, at PS 189 The Bilingual Center, as part of our Ti Atis program held in collaboration with HAUP’s after-school program for middle-school students.

Maxine Montilus is a native of Brooklyn and a first-generation Haitian-American. Maxine has a B.F.A. in Modern Dance Performance from The University of the Arts, and an M.A. in Arts Management from City University London. As a dancer, Maxine is currently a member of KaNu Dance Theater and Tamara LaDonna Moving Spirits, and has performed with Ase Dance Theatre Collective and Balasole Dance Company. Maxine is also a 2014 EMERGENYC artist with New York University’s Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics. Maxine has presented work at the “Being Bushified!” culture and community series hosted by Urban Bush Women, The Actors Fund Arts Center, Jamaica Performing Arts Center, Dance New Amsterdam, La Mama Experimental Theatre Club and the inaugural Rex Nettleford Arts Conference in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2014, she choreographed for BallyBeg Production’s third play and Equity-approved showcase, “The Taste Of It“. Maxine has also had a long career in arts education, and has coordinated programs for healthcare facilities, public schools and individual nonprofit arts organizations.

We are thrilled to partner with HAUP, an organization with a long history of service and commitment to our communities, to continue our ongoing commitment to the children of PS 189.

Join us on October 4th as we celebrate HAUP‘s 39th Anniversary! CLICK HERE for more information.

Posted in Arts, Classes, Crafts, Dance, Ti Atis, Uncategorized, Youth Programs | No Comments »

Archive: Fly a Haitian Kite Workshop at P.S.189, The Bilingual Center



On June 22nd, P.S.189, The Bilingual Center hosted their annual school fair. Haiti Cultural Exchange was there hosting Fly a Haitian Kite Workshop for students and their families.

In Haiti, the iconic six-sided kite is traditionally constructed out of bamboo and paper. In recent times, however, it has become a common sight to see children’s kites constructed out of the colorful plastic bags that litter their neighborhoods. HCX used this creative adaptation to teach a lesson about recycling through Haitian culture. Students used recycling plastic sheets to build their sails, decorated their kites with tissue paper, and made tails from an array of colorful fabric scraps.

Approximately 30 children worked patiently on kites with the help of HCX volunteers, along with their friends and families while they learned the delicate process of bending the bridle post and binding the center of the kite frame. Even parents struggled a little!

At the end of the day, kites and spirits soared as HCX said goodbye to P.S.189 for the 2013 school year. Take a look at some photos from the workshop here.

A special thank you to our HCX volunteers that came out to lend a hand and the Citizens Committee for New York for supporting our youth program.

To all our Ti Atis and students at P.S.189, have a safe and fun summer! See you in the fall.

What to have a little fun of your own? Try out this fun summer activity and build your very own hexagon kite!

Traditional Hexagon Kite Tutorials
Moderate to Hard


Posted in Archive, Arts, Crafts, HCX Programs, Ti Atis, Visual Art, Youth Programs | No Comments »

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