My name is Camille Martin and for the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing Green Street Arts Center’s After School Arts and Science Program. I started at Green Street as an intern through Middlesex Community College. I would come and work with the After School students as a support staff member, assisting several classrooms, participating in dance classes, and greeting students when they arrived.
After a month I became part of the staff working Monday through Friday taking care of attendance and dismissal, visiting class rooms, and tutoring kids during our Academic Enrichment hour. I’ve watched the children flourish into mature, talented individuals thanks to the support of dedicated staff.
Just last week one of our students showed me her detailed watercolor painting, something she wouldn’t have been able to do four months ago. The teaching artists and support staff have worked very hard over these months to empower the students to do their very best in the classroom and in life. Each child has grown dramatically in character, as well as in talent, in their selected fields. Helping kids develop skills in their young life that will carry them into their adult life has been such a rewarding experience. From breakdancing to arts and science, our kids truly shine. It has been an immense pleasure to be a part of the After School Arts and Science Program.
Submitted by Camille Martin, After School Support Staff
Come see all our students shine in our annual winter show.
After School Stars: Winter Solstice
Friday, December 10 | 6-8pm | Free
Join us for our annual evening of performances, art exhibits, and multi-media presentations by the After School program. Enjoy performances by Breakdancing, Ballet, African Drumming, Songwriting, Storytelling, ThoroEnergy Hip Hop, and Videography classes, as well as exhibitions from Art and Science, Comic Book Drawing, and Creative Writing classes. Your support of local arts begins with our young artists—stop by and be amazed by the talent that surrounds you!
“It’s only half way through our After School Program year, but it is truly astonishing at how far our students have come and how much they have to share. Between the Cave Art and Dinosaur Sculpture exhibit from the Art and Science classes to the Beginning Breakdance Battle, our Winter Solstice event is a don’t-miss-opportunity for family, friends and neighbors to come and support Middletown’s youngest most creative minds.”— Sarah-Jane Ripa, Artistic and Education Coordinator
My name is Jason Pepin and I proudly hold the title given to me as Green Street Art Center’s “resident Salsero”. I have been teaching Salsa and Latin dance at Green Street for almost a year and a half now. I began as the Latin dance instructor in the after school program and was blown away by the charisma and talent that all of the students in the program have. I am a classroom teacher by profession, and really enjoy working with children beyond the classroom, especially when that work is teaching dance.
I also teach adult group classes and host the very popular Salsa Socials in the evenings, bi-monthly. The adult classes are extremely enjoyable for me. Many times, people come to their first beginner class with no dance experience. Others have lots of experience, only not with Latin rhythms. It is a true blessing to see the transformation that happens to both of these crowds in my group classes. I’m really looking forward to getting started in another session soon!
The Salsa Social is a one-night event where anyone can come to Green Street, get a taste of Salsa with a beginner lesson, and then spend a few hours being immersed in Latin culture. Music videos are projected onto the wall while sultry Latin rhythms fill the space of our beautiful performance studio. Beginners and guests can practice what they learned in the lesson from 7-8 and watch dancers of all levels as the fiesta unfolds. In the past, we have had Salsa CDs for sale from live musicians that teach dancers in attendance about the Latin instruments. It is really an experience that can only adequately be summed up by the feeling of being there. So come by and see for yourself on October 9th or December 11th!
Submitted by Jason Pepin, Green Street Teaching Artist
Saturdays, October 9 & December 11 | 7-10 pm Regular: $8; Members/Family & Friends/Students/Seniors: $5
Green Street’s resident salsero Jason Pepin presents two evenings of hot music, open floor, and the best dance crowd in Connecticut. Beginners welcome for instruction from 7-8 pm (included in price of admission).
Salsa for Beginners & Intermediates Wednesdays | 6:15-7:15 pm (beginning November 3rd) Regular: $60; Family & Friends/Students/Seniors: $51; Members: $48 Drop-ins Regular/Family & Friends/Students/Seniors: $10; Members: $8
Explore the roots and rhythms of Salsa music and dance. Learn basic steps and turns as well as individual footwork and trick steps. You will gain an appreciation for the Latin rhythms that make up Salsa music and the confidence to dance socially.
Internationally-Recognized Artist Shares Story and Talents with Green Street
Edeltraud Huller is not only a Green Street teaching artist, she is also an internationally-recognized artist and talented musician. Two years ago, in an effort to fill a void, Edeltraud walked into Green Street and said “I need to volunteer”. From there she was invited to teach drawing to our After School program and Evening & Weekend students.
Teaching has always been a passion of Huller’s, “to see the students’ completed work with such depth and technique that they basically went into the soul, to me that is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” She also marvels at the natural instinct in the children she teaches, citing their spontaneity as one of their best artistic features.
Edeltraud Huller’s story is an inspirational one. As a young girl growing up in East Berlin, Germany Edeltraud was curious, devious, and artistic. Drawing from an early age, she remembers using the revolutionary image of Donald Duck as one of the first examples of graffiti in her neighborhood and on every blackboard in her school. For Huller, art has always been a way to transcend the problems of divided Berlin, and she recalls escaping to museums of Eastern Berlin to immerse herself in the art and culture.
Much of Edeltraud’s art reflects her surrounding, whether immediate or past. In her own words, “I am influenced by the converging environments around me, whether it be the richness of nature, the beauty created by endeavors of the human mind, or the architectural destruction and human wreckage of war.” A powerful piece titled “1945 – 9/11/2001” juxtaposes world history with recent American history (see left). The upper left depicts the war-torn Berlin in which the artist lived while the right side shows the events of September 11th, a time when New York City experienced a concentrated war-zone. The hints of vibrant color in the center represent the hope that comes with rebuilding Ground Zero. Huller notes that, though this painting represents two specific time periods, it could depict any world or natural disaster.
Huller move to Old Lyme, CT in 1984 to live the life of an artist and this time also greatly influenced her art. After operating the Essex ferry for two years, she was inspired by the bulkheads between the low and high tides. Manipulating linen and using acrylic for depth, the artist was able to recreate her interpretation of the image of low tide (see painting below). Surely one thing that stands out about Edeltraud Huller is her vision. “It takes the gift of a child’s mind,” she says, laughing, “and I hope never to lose that.”
Submitted by Lisa Bruno, Development Assistant
If you are inspired by Edeltraud’s story and want to learn more, you can participate in her upcoming fall class:
Drawing for Adults
Wednesdays | 6:30-8:30 pm | Session 2
Regular: $150 | Family/Friends/Student/Seniors: $130 | Members: $120
Expand your drawing skills through close observation, using realistic and expressionistic drawing techniques. Explore dynamic compositions with three-dimensional objects, props, and lighting, and draw your own interpretations. Investigate and create the illusion of form, value, space, and texture with materials such as charcoal, pencil, pen, and ink. Materials are included in class cost.
To register for this or any of Green Street’s fall offerings click here or call (860) 685-7871.
“Working at Green Street, in the After School program, has given me the chance to show our students how current technology can be a creative tool that they can use to express themselves. I try to help them see how relatively easy it is for them to create sophisticated content, and put it out into the community and further into the world.In some sense, I want to convert them from passive consumers of online content into creative producers.” -Shawn Hill
For the past few years I’ve been teaching Digital Video Animation to Green Street’s After School students and helping them create animated shorts (cartoons). Students draw images on the computer and then move those images to a new location on the screen. The computer then infills the motion necessary to move from the initial location to the new one, and creates the sense of motion over time.
Animating in this way gives the students immediate feedback on their drawings and brings them to life through motion. Each student is typically able to create a short animated section of about 3-6 seconds in length during an hour-long class. And, while spending an hour to create 5 seconds of a cartoon may sound like a lot of time, when you consider that 5 seconds represents 120 frames, you can imagine how much time it would have taken even the most talented classic Disney animators to draw 120 subtly different drawings in order to add up to 5 seconds of final film!
Each semester our class settles on a theme – over the years we’ve done global warming, exercising, Middletown, and science. In each class I introduce and demonstrate a new skill or technique in Anime Studio. The students then go off to their own computer to draw, and then animate some part of the semester’s theme, using the new skill/technique.
Each week the students create their clips independently, and the beginning of the following class is often a great chance for them to see the creativity and skill of their peers By mid-semester we begin to assemble the best clips into a class video. We work on titles and credits, and typically end-up with a final class video of about 6 minutes in length. Students in Green Street’s Sound Recording class then create soundtracks that we add to the final cartoon.
Submitted by Shawn Hill, Wesleyan Staff & Green Street teaching artist
Here is a video students made called “Go Out and Play”. Click here to see more videos and get a sense of the great work our After School students have created.
A little bit about After School:
Green Street’s After School Arts and Science Program offers outstanding classes with published writers, professional dancers and visual artists that represent the diversity of our community and the breadth of our experience. Classes are offered for grades 1-9, Monday through Thursday and grades K-5 on Fridays. Students can take classes in digital animation, African drumming, comic book creation, breakdance, sound recording and more. Our After School Program begins on September 13, 2010.
Registration closes at noon on September 8th, or once the program has reached maximum enrollment, so don’t wait! In order to enroll in the program, you and your child must register with us in person to sign our Parent Handbook, complete financial aid paperwork, and/or make payments. Please call ahead – (860) 685-7871 – to schedule an appointment; drop-ins will only be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration appointments are currently being scheduled at the following times:
Monday, August 30th and Tuesday August 31st – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Wednesday, September 1st and Friday, September 3rd – 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Thursday, September 2nd and Tuesday, September 7th – 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
On Saturday, June 12th, the Green Street Arts Center was filled with excitement. The 6th Annual Arts Festival took place and, despite the rain, was a great success. With performances like “Pickles” from the Songwriting class and the debut of “Middletown: Our Town”, an animated video created by the Digital Animation class, the entertainment was energetic, captivating, and certainly inspiring.
Even before entering the building, the festival’s energy was already evident. Teaching artist Anna had a line of eager kids waiting to get their faces painted, the neighborhood ice cream truck was popular as ever, and Frank was busily handing out free popcorn. Upon entering Green Street, you could already smell delicious food provided by our partners at Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar, Iguanas Ranas Taqueria, and Firehouse Steakhouse. Jerry’s Pizza had a table with free pizza that was always surrounded by hungry Arts Fest attendees. Broad Street Books brought a great assortment of arts supplies and books, and DeFabrica Therapeutic Massage was very popular, constantly providing people with refreshing massages.
After satisfying their hunger, guests could choose from a variety of amusements. The African Drumming classes were set up in the Multipurpose Room, providing hours of rhythmic entertainment. Adults and kids alike were invited to do arts and crafts in both the Wet and Dry Arts Rooms. Meanwhile, across the hall in the Performance Studio there was constant action, with breakdancing, musical performances, salsa dancing, animated videos, hip-hop, and more, continuously provided enjoyment for an exuberant audience.
Students in the Breakdancing class staged a breakdance battle to showcase their unbelievable moves. Young musicians displayed their talents in solo performances, as well as collectively in the Songwriting class’s amusing song “Pickles”. The salsa class inspired the audience to move and grove to Latin beats, and the Digital Animation class highlighted their skills with a video called “Middletown: Our Town”. ThoroEnergy also wowed the audience with a dramatic and engaging hip-hop performance.
When Arts Fest ended, attendees left with smiles on their faces, students left with a sense of pride in their accomplishments, and the staff were pleased with the success of the event and happy to have made new friends.
If you are interested in learning more about how your child can get involved in one of these (or other) great classes, call us at (860) 685-7871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on upcoming events and classes, visit our website at www.greenstreetartscenter.org.
Green Street’s Annual Arts Festival is something I, and all of Green Street’s friends, look forward to each year. This year’s Arts Fest will take place on Saturday, June 12 and is sure to be an afternoon filled with creativity, excitement, food, and fun. ArtsFest is a great way for our students to showcase their hard work and successes throughout the year, and for the community to join us and participate in the fun as well.
This year features performances from Fresh Obsessed
breakdancing crew, ThoroEnergy hip hop crew, salsa students, and music classes. I am especially excited for the West African Djembe Orchestra- a diverse group of people ages 7 to 57 from the After School program, adult class, and Cromwell Children’s Home residency program who will be performing together. With the strong lead of teachers Jocelyn and Aaron, the group will rock out the beats of Lamban, Makru, and Yankadi.
For the first time, our outside attractions will include delicious food from partners in our membership program. We are pleased to welcome Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar, Iguanas Ranas Taqueria, Jerry’s Pizza, Broad Street Books, and DeFabrica Therapeutic Massage to the festivities.
While enjoying live performances and great food, you will also be able to meander through the building to view the artwork, stop by a classroom for a free mini-class in Salsa or visual arts. You can enter a raffle to win a free Green Street class or even plants from Starlight Gardens in Durham. Don’t miss out on a chance to sign up for Summer classes right on the spot.
In addition to this scintillating array of amusements, mural artist Marela Zacarias will begin painting the new mural, designed by Green Street students, across the street at St. Vincent dePaul’s Place. All community members are welcome and encouraged to help out.
By the way, have I mentioned that all of this is free? It is! I hope to see you there!
Dancing is my life and it is something I really want to pursue as a career path. I started dancing as soon as I could walk. As far as I can remember I always loved watching music videos on TV and listening to music in general. I mainly taught myself how to dance; it must run in the family because my mom loved to dance in her younger days. I enjoyed dancing so much that I thought, “Why not get better by taking some classes?” This is where Green Street came in.
Being at the Green Street Arts Center has helped me with my goal of dancing in many ways. The classes and workshops that I took had hip-hop teachers that were older and more experienced in the “dance world”. I also met choreographers that gave me advice on how to enhance my dancing skills.
In 2007, I decided to start my own dance crew called ThoroEnergy. This
endeavor was a major one and actually helped me get my foot in the door. My crew consisted of about 10 people and is constantly growing and evolving. We’ve definitely come a long way. We have had the opportunity to perform in many places, including talent shows, festivals, parties, schools, and even appeared in a music video. After the great exposure that has come from these opportunities, ThoroEnergy is still standing, and definitely dancing.
In addition to inspiring me to start ThoroEnergy, Green Street has also provided me with a choreography and teaching job, which involves teaching hip-hop to After School students and whoever else is interested. This has been a help because I am getting a lot more publicity with my dancing, and meeting a lot more people who can help me on my way to reaching my goal. I now get called to different places, such as schools and festivals to teach. This has gotten me started on reaching my goal of dancing, but I’m definitely not finished yet. I plan to go to a college for dance, to advance myself and hopefully into the spotlight. I am trying everything it takes to get to where I want to be and I’m not planning on giving up.
The Youth Dance Invitational that I judged was a success. Kids from the North End came down to battle, trying to take a trophy home. I definitely had a good time watching the battles, and was surprised to see some really talented dancers. Hopefully Green Street will be able to host something else like that again.
Rachel recently sat down with b-boy (breakdancer) and Green Street teaching artist Bryan Giles to talk about the upcoming screening of Middletown B-boys and the Youth Dance Invitational.
Q: What is your dancing history?
A: I have been b-boying, exclusively, for the last 15 years. I got into it when I snuck into a party at Wesleyan University when I was 15. I saw it for the first time and it was just something I knew I wanted to do. I had no foresight that it would take me to the places I have been.
The opportunities and honors that b-boying has given me are huge. When I lived in Thailand, I was asked to dance for the queen. I was unable to perform but to be the first American b-boy asked to perform for her was a big honor.
Q: Tell me about Of Shadow and Earth.
A: Of Shadow and Earth is a b-boy crew of 15 active members, and 30 additional members. It’s not only that though; we are a family. We all started together, trained together and sessioned together. It’s great to be a part of a collective mind of people who are willing and looking to support each other, not just in b-boying, but in life as well. The crew began in Middletown and has branched out to include members in other cities and states. Bryan battling a fellow b-boy.
Q: What’s Fresh Obsessed?
A: Fresh Obsessed is a youth b-boy crew of 12 members based out of Green Street Arts Center. It started a few years ago because I wanted my students to know the other side of b-boying; not just the “academic” side of it. I wanted them to experience what it means to be a b-boy and to work and train hard to go to battles. More importantly, I wanted them to learn what it means to be in a crew and how to support each other. For me, I view the team as a great leadership opportunity for the kids. They all have their different strengths, which come through in their training.
Q: What is it like to teach at Green Street Arts Center?
A: Wow. It is such an amazing experience to have. Working with these kids helps me strive to be a better person and to be a positive influence for them, especially when what generally gets shown in hip hop culture is negative and excessively decadent. What I show them is true hip-hop culture, where money and race don’t matter. What does matter is building your own identity within hip-hop.
Some of the members of Fresh Obsessed have displayed such skill that they have gained the attention of members from Of Shadow and Earth and have been asked to battle in to the ranks of the crew. It’s something that I am very proud of and I am happy to give the students this opportunity.
Q: Tell me about filming the documentary Middletown B-Boys.
A: It was started in 2004 and was a fun experience if not a little weird at times. I was not used to having cameras follow me and peer into the intimate moments during practices and at events. It was a good experience for us. We, as a crew, were happy that someone was taking an interest in us and in our culture and wanting to document the work and process that goes into the style. And I think that a lot of people only see the end product, what comes from the time we spend training, and they don’t see what it is we have to go through to get to that point or what sacrifices we have to make. I think the film shares some insight into this.
Q: What is the Youth Dance Invitational?
A: TheYouth Dance Invitational is a kids’ dance battle for ages 8-16. It is meant to encourage dancing and the use of dance as a creative outlet to stay out of trouble. First of all it, is a chance for kids to compete. A lot of kids that are into street dance are not aware that there is a bigger dance scene than what goes on in their neighborhoods or their school dances. Secondly, it is a chance for them to meet and compete against kids in their age groups. And hopefully inspire them to become better dancers. We chose Green Street to host the Invitational because Fresh Obsessed and ThoroEnergy, a local hip hop dance crew, are based here.
Q: Tell me about the day.
A: When the dancers arrive they will sign in and there will be a warm up dance session. Then the judges will showcase their skills before competition begins. There are two competitions, one-on-one b-boy/b-girl and hip hop freestyle dance. All ages will compete against one another. We have a prize package from Losst Unnown for the first and second place winners in each of the two categories and trophies for the first, second, and third prize. We will also have DJ N.E.B who will be on hand to DJ the event. He has over twenty years of experience playing music for these types of competitions.
Thank you to Bryan for sitting down and talking with us. To see him in action be sure to come to the Youth Dance Invitational and the Middletown B-Boys film screening. Here is more info on the two events happening this weekend:
On Friday, filmmaker Bridget Palardy, Wesleyan University Class of ’05, will present Middletown B-Boys, a documentary following two B-Boy crews currently operating in Middletown, Of Shadow and Earth and 4-ONE. According to Palardy, the film “is a portrait of the two crews as they negotiate religion, race, drug abuse, and life in a small city.” Middletown B-Boys recently won an award from the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was officially selected by the Chicago International Hip Hop Film Festival. Following Palardy’s presentation the screening, there will be a cypher, or breakdancing event, between local crews.
The following day will feature a competition between the best local youth dance groups, hosted by ThoroEnergy, Of Shadow and Earth, and Losst Unnown, in partnership with Green Street. ThoroEnergy is a newly formed hip-hop dance troupe featuring several Green Street students and founded by alumnus Eric Quiñones. Prizes will be awarded for the top dancers in a one-on-one b-boy/b-girl battle and hip hop freestyle categories.
Middletown B-Boys: Film Screening and Breakdancing Event
FRIDAY, May 21, 2010 | 7pm
$8 Non-Members; $5 members/students/seniors
Gabby and Lisa sat down one day to talk about what Green Street Arts Center means to an 11-year-old 5th grader in the After School Arts & Science program.
Learning at Green Street:
I first took photojournalism because I took some pictures for my best friend’s graduation, and they came out really, really good, so I thought maybe I should take pictures when I grow up. My mom signed me up for the class and now I’m so happy. I’ve learned a lot. I didn’t know how to post pictures to make a calendar, and I can do that now. The style of the cameras is really cool; we use different kinds of digital cameras, one blue and one grey. I have my own, so after photojournalism I can still take pictures. My favorite subjects to photograph are people and weddings. I want to be a wedding photographer when I grow up.
Since Marela, the mural teacher, came to talk about the mural we are about to paint, I’ve taken time to draw pictures for the design. Now she is going to put me in the Arts & Science program that will be working on the mural.
I also learn piano with teachers David Davis and Allison House. Even though I didn’t sign up for private lessons, they just started teaching me scales and sharps. I know some of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, the theme from Harry Potter, and I’m working on learning how to read music.
Green Street & my life:
When I first came to Green Street I didn’t know anybody, but now, 6 months
later, I know everyone by heart. The staff is really nice and helpful. Wesleyan volunteers even help us with our homework! I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. I’ve definitely changed since coming to Green Street. I now get A+ on all my homework because of all of the academic help that I get. I love it here. I don’t have any friends at school, so I like Green Street because I’ve been making lots of friends. My mom says I’m always smiling when I come out of Green Street. When I’m older and finished with school, I would be proud to come back to Green Street to help with the kids as a staff member.
I just want to say thank you to Miss Cookie for letting me go to Green Street because without her I wouldn’t even be here writing this blog.