Supporting Young Creatives at Harlem Village Academies

We at Master & Dynamic are committed to supporting the creative community. We have partnered with Harlem Village Academies (“HVA”) High, a public charter school in Harlem and part of the five-school HVA network.

Contributions from Master & Dynamic have established HVA High’s foundational art program and enabled Harlem Village Academies to offer contiguous arts education to its students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. In addition, Master & Dynamic headphones enable the music program to integrate greater independent and small-group work into classes.

Recently we visited HVA High and saw the power of arts education in action. The art program’s impact has been “immediate and positive,” according to HVA teachers. The “halls are singing and the students are signing up for artistic opportunities and the classes are growing.” The new program serves as “an outlet for many students in the HVA community.” Even students have noticed the effects of the new program. As artwork has gone up around the school, students have said things like, “thank you for making the school beautiful” and “those look cool.”

The value of the program was made all the more clear when we sat in on classes. In the dance and theater classes, we saw students learn how to convey meaning through the movement of their bodies. In musical theater class, student groups performed snippets of a dialogue between an esoteric scarecrow and the crows that loitered in his field. Quoting Greek philosophers, the student playing the pinned scarecrow used just his fingertips to convey the straw man’s world-weariness.

Similarly, in the newly established foundational arts classes, 2D and 3D Art, students are pushed to translate personal experience into outward expression and create authentic art – art that conforms to the artist’s intention for the piece. The most recent student exhibition consists of self-portraits, in which students composed their likeness out of strings of words.

Not only does the arts program offer an outlet for expression and teach students how to articulate their ideas in a communicable medium, but it also exposes them to the process of mastering a skill. As Patrice, a senior at HVA High, explains, the arts program at HVA has taught him “that music is not only just fun, it takes discipline, it takes some hard work. And a lot of time, but once you’ve got the fundamentals you can do anything.” Arts education gives students the space and time required to master fundamental skills, while practicing a discipline and creativity that they can employ in any area they choose to pursue.

We are proud to sponsor the arts program at Harlem Village Academies High and invest in the next generation of creatives. You can read our latest update here.

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