Ti Atis – Youth Cultural Engagement. Bringing Haitian Culture to Children & Youth – by Jessica Tong, Programs & Outreach Coordinator 

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Ti Atis (Little Artists) is an in-school arts education program engaging youth of Haitian descent and their peers with Haitian history and heritage via the arts. The program gives young people ages 6-14 the tools to build an inclusive and culturally informed future as they learn about diverse art forms from professional Haitian artists. Our Youth Cultural Engagement programming consists of school-based and public offerings that increase appreciation of Haiti and its culture, promote positive cultural identity and self-image, facilitate cross-cultural dialogue, and cultivate an inclusive sense of community amongst young people.

This year, in partnership with Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP), HCX invited three artists to each create a 10-week arts residency which resulted in the following workshops: Creative Expression Through Movement with Maxine Montilus, Discovering the Music of the African Diaspora with Okai Fleurimont, and Community Mural Creation with Patrick Icart Pierre.   Over 60 students participated in these various workshops and were able to explore certain aspects of Haitian & Afro Diaspora culture while expressing their creativity through movement, painting, dance and music.

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Thanks to funding from Council Member Jumaane Williams administered by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, we were able to expand our Ti Atis program to P.S. 361 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

From April 14th – June 16th 2015, HCX implemented a 10-week pilot of Ti Atis programming at P.S. 361. The project was split into two sessions, Haitian Folkloric Dance/Movement and Storytelling and Songs of the Caribbean, and were taught to two separate assembly groups of second grade students for five weeks each. Both sessions were led by Riva Nyri Précil, a singer and dancer of Haitian descent who holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Therapy. Drummer Jean Marie Brignol assisted instruction of the Dance/Movement assemblies.

Additionally, we organized a number of workshops and assemblies in schools including at the Hewitt School with drummer Okai Fleurimont and Westbury Middle School with dancer Peniel Guerrier and his troupe.

We thank all of our Teaching Artists for their time and dedication.

If you would like these types of programs in your school or community, please contact regine@haiticulturalx.org

If you would like to be included in our online roster of teaching artists, please contact programs@haiticulturalx.org

Make a DONATION to our Youth Cultural Engagement programs and support the preservation of Haitian Culture & Heritage!

Read about the HCX Teaching Artists below:

Creative Expression Through Movement with Maxine Montilus

From October 7th to December 10th, HCX invited dancer Maxine Montilus to create a 10-week afterschool program at P.S. 189. With 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, her students had the opportunity to express themselves through the exploration of dance and written word. Through improvisational theater games, movement, and writing activities, students learned how to integrate choreography and poems/writings into a multi-disciplinary performance incorporating words, music and dance.  Some topics that were explored included identity, favorite things, and family.

Discovering the Music of the African Diaspora with Okai Fleurimont

From January 10th to March 18th, HCX invited musician Okai Fleurimont to create a 10-week afterschool program at P.S. 189. Okai has worked with many different community based organizations such as Hospital Audience Incorporate (HAI), WorldUp.org, and Hip Hop Saves Lives, teaching children how to write lyrics, produce a beat, and provides opportunities for youth to share their ideas and foster their creative development.  Students were taught how to play percussion instruments and given an introduction to the different African diaspora musical genres, learning the different rhythms and breaks and discovering how in depth music goes.  By giving students the knowledge of the history and struggle that influenced certain periods of time helps them better understand the music they listen to now.

Mural Creation with Patrick Icart Pierre

From March 20th to June 27th, HCX was happy to invite back Patrick Icart Pierre for a 10-week after school mural project at P.S. 189. Pierre has worked as an art teacher at the Harlem School of The Arts and currently works at M.S. 246 in Brooklyn New York, instilling his appreciation for art in the public school system. With the belief that murals give voice and presence to those communities and historical events often excluded in our society – women, people of color, gender issues, working class people, freedom fighters, etc. – participating students got a chance to understand that creating art is a way to go beyond the textbook and encourage everyone to get out into the community.  The completed mural incorporated local concerns, oral histories and photos, and other references, accessing the richness and wisdom of their communities, and students’ families.

Haitian Folkloric Dance and Movement with Riva Nyri Précil

From April 14th to June 16th, HCX invited musician Riva Nyri Précil for a 10-week, two session program for 2nd grade students at P.S. 361. With a degree in Music Therapy at Loyola University in New Orleans, and a completed Music Therapy internship at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, she has had the opportunity to teach music, art and movement to a wide variety of populations in diverse settings. Focusing on exposing Second Grade students to traditional Haitian folkloric dance, Précil provided an introduction to Haiti’s oral history through storytelling and folk songs.  With the first five weeks focusing on Haitian folkloric dance and movement, students had the opportunity to learn basic dance elements with an invitation to participate in a short performance.  The last five weeks focused on storytelling & songs of the Caribbean, students learned traditional songs and learned lessons through stories that include a moral.  Students were also invited to participate in a short performance.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 at 6:56 pm and is filed under Archive, Classes, Crafts, Dance, HCX Programs, 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.