Explore the oral storytelling tradition through both traditional works, and pieces written by the artist. As an actor, Celes Tisdale makes poetry come alive for students while encouraging their own se
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Get to the heart of writing poetry in a series of thoughtful, insight-inducing exercises using theater, music and verbal word play to synthesize personal experiences into life-saving poems.
Poetic Writing Workshop is for the young poet who wishes to enhance their writing, and craft poems relevant to their life experience.
Students participate in basic yoga poses such as Mountain, Tree, Lion and Downward Dog, which create a silent and peaceful state of concentration. To explore the relationship between movement and lang
Workshops will be presented by over 15 leaders in the field, and include a dynamic lunchtime performance and discussion with award-winning and awe-inspiring dance company, PUSH Physical Theatre. Conference participants will be able to select one workshop per session, with 3 sessions taking place throughout the day. Workshop descriptions are divided by section below.
- Workshop Descriptions – Download a PDF of the 2012 Arts Abilities Conference workshop descriptions
- Presenter Biographers – Download a PDF of the 2012 Arts Abilities Conference presenter biographies
WORKSHOP SESSION 1 (10-11:30am)
Rodney Appleby, Perspectives: Creating a Dialogue on History
Learn to create active lesson plans that bring historical events to life through the use of role-play, music, and dramatic performance. Based on the history of the Underground Railroad in WNY, Perspectives uses African American spirituals as a base to help students explore the distinctions between contrasting perspectives of the escaped slave, the abolitionist, the slave hunter, and the slave owner. You will learn techniques for having your students create an on the spot performance expressing the thoughts and feelings they encountered while assuming each role.
Annette Daniels Taylor, Zine Making! Communicate, Collaborate, and Create
Learn techniques for reinforcing 21st century skills by making a “Zine”; a lo-tech, low cost, DIY mini-magazine. The How, What and Why of Zines will be discussed, examples will be shared and fun will be had. Participants are reminded to come with their imaginations ready!
Sara Goldhawk, You Want to Be Part of Everything: Lessons from Low Income Schools
This session is designed for anyone looking for knowledge on ways to use the arts to support the needs of low income students and those at risking of failing. Participants will explore questions like: What do we know about how the arts impact learning (and teaching), and specifically how the arts impact youth at risk?; what are some examples of schools that have successfully integrated the arts to drive school success for students at risk?; and what tools exist for schools and arts organizations to help them bring the arts into any classroom? Techniques for using creative arts when working with people with disabilities will be emphasized.
Carrie Marcotte and Nancy Spector, Inspire Your Groups to Think and Talk About Art (and Have Fun While Doing It)
Through viewing Joshua Reiman’s exhibition, Can’t Stop Reiman, at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center with museum educator Nancy Spector from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Starlight Studio and Art Gallery’s director Carrie Marcotte, participants will learn basic methods for stimulating conversation and exploration of an artwork with all audiences. Participants will learn strategies for viewing and enjoying art they know little to nothing about. A hands-on art activity in response to Reiman’s exhibit will follow.
LUNCH PERFORMANCE (11:30am-12:45pm)
PUSH Physical Theatre
Seeing PUSH Physical Theatre is like watching a live action-movie, but its co-founders currently (and with tongue firmly in cheek) characterize it as: “like regular theatre…but more painful.” Its physical feats are awe-inspiring, but the cherry on top of this acrobatic sundae is PUSH’s ability to grab hold of audiences’ emotions through exceptional storytelling. In addition to a busy schedule of arts-in-education, event and concert appearances, the company has toured the U.S., England and Malta and been profiled on PBS and NPR. In Upstate New York, being awarded the Arts and Cultural Council’s Artist of the year in 2009 and PUSH’s repeated sold-out performances at Geva Theatre Center have established them as the masters of physical storytelling.
WORKSHOP SESSION 2 (1-2:30pm)
Sarah Haykel, Salsa for Life: Character Development & Life Skills Through Salsa Dancing
This session will highlight the techniques and approaches used with middle and high school youth in the city of Buffalo to provide a space for these youth to experience personal and social connection, aliveness, joy, self-responsibility, focused attention and respect in healthy relationships with themselves and others. Participants of this workshop will learn about the mission of Salsa for the Soul’s work with youth and participate in experiential exercises to engage in the process of personal and social transformation through Salsa dancing.
Joel Lewitzky and Agnes Love, Printmaking
This workshop will focus on various forms of printmaking techniques used at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery to include foam printing, stamping, texture printing and glue prints. Methods will include those utilizing a printing press and hand press techniques. It will also emphasize the role of the teaching artist in participants’ skill level development.
Ellen Melamed, Using Drama with Newcomers
Educators will explore how dramatic techniques can be utilized to examine and understand schooling experiences for immigrant students bridging plural worlds. Workshop participants will learn practical techniques that attend to heterogeneous classrooms as well as to classes exclusively for newcomers. We will discuss how schools can create spaces of belonging, especially for marginalized youth. By utilizing theatre games and role-playing newcomers are encouraged to actively engage in the dominant culture as they retain the pride of their own heritage.
Kristan Rothman, The Other 18 Hours: Out-of-School Learning for At-Risk Students
In this session, participants learn how Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio (YANEO), often in partnership with other youth service organizations, provides out-of-school time programming which use the arts to impart life and career skills, engage disaffected youth in the learning process, and build resilience and promote healing among children impacted by neglect and violence so they can participate effectively in life and in the classroom. Research shows that participation in afterschool activities improves school attendance, academic achievement, and high school graduation rates. The session will include samples of work created by students involved in YANEO’s out-of-school programming and attendees will participate in activities which highlight the integration of the arts with other content areas, specifically 21st Century skills and the ELA curriculum. Best practices and work from YANEO’s summer ArtWorks program and residency partnership with Safely Homes Foster Care Center will be shared with participants.
Gordon Sasaki, Universal Design (UDL) in the Classroom
This workshop will introduce the concepts of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and its application in the arts classroom. Through lecture, hands-on learning, visual imagery, and extensive dialog, we will explore the process and importance of communication in the classroom environment, while modeling the essential principles of UDL.
WORKSHOP SESSION 3 (2:45-4:15pm)
Annette Daniels Taylor, Underground Railroad: Next Stop Poetry
Who are poets and how do we share creative communication through historical narratives? In this workshop Theater artist Annette Daniels Taylor will share excerpts from the historical performance Nancy Goes To Seneca Falls to prompt and inspire participants to write and share their original poetry created about the experience of the Underground Railroad.
Ellen Melamed, Changing Lives with the Alexander Technique
At age 12, Ellen Melamed was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis and wore a metal body brace for 5 years. She learned the Alexander Technique (AT) in order to learn to cope with the pain. Relearning how to be easeful in the world is a skill that should be available to all learners, regardless of age or circumstance. Learn to utilize this approach to cope with stresses as an educator, and how to make use of the techniques in your classroom with students. The AT is an approach to movement, a set of guidelines that you keep in mind as you do something else. When young people are exposed to this work early in their education they are able to return to their original poise while they are still quite resilient.
Nels Ross & Carla Marrazzo, Juggling Your Classroom Management Skills
This fun and educational workshop will focus on behavioral challenges that all educators face at one time or another in the classroom. Through his juggling workshop, Nels Ross will demonstrate how to address those challenges head-on in a fun and non-confrontational way that continues to promote a positive learning environment. Participants will discuss the obstacles and approaches of turning challenging situations in unique learning opportunities.
Gordon Sasaki, The Inclusive Classroom
This workshop will focus upon implementing multimodal approaches using various artistic and sensory techniques for the inclusive classroom. This hands-on workshop will emphasize integrating differentiated teaching strategies that promote creative inquiry and access for all students.
BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS
Fourth Annual Patricia Cotsen Arts Abilities Conference
Tuesday, May 11 – 8:30 am to 5:00 pm in Buffalo, at Ani DiFranco’s Babeville, Starlight Studio, and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. 341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY.
9:00-9:30 – Registration/ Coffee
9:30 – Welcome
10:00-11:30 – Workshop Session I
- Lorna Czarnota – Storytelling with at-Risk Youth – Stories reach youth when lectures won’t, they act as road maps through life and empower youth to make better choices. Specializing in storytelling with at-risk youth for over 15 years, Ms. Czarnota will present an interactive workshop that encompasses why stories work with this population, how to use them for various issues and in a variety of venues, and methods of delivery. Participants will hear sample stories and take part in a variety of activities used in the Crossroads program.
- Gayle Danley – Soul Portraits: Poetry of the Heart, Mind, and Body – Participants will focus on the structure and language of poems, discover new ways to use language, review performance techniques and perform original poems.
- Carrie Marcotte – Basics on Developmental Disabilities – This workshop will provide an overview of developmental disabilities to include learning disabilities and neurological impairments. Techniques for using creative arts when working with people with disabilities will be emphasized.
- Gordon Sasaki – NY Portraits – Sasaki presents his photographic body of work including images of 50 New York City artists with disabilities. Sasaki presents his subjets as individuals, each committed to their practice while dealing with the personal and societal challenges of having a disability. The series examines the constructed nature of beauty through the filter and diversity of disability. Included are a diverse array of artists, including visual and performance artists, dancers, actors, musicians, filmmakers, and writers. These works are shot from the low angle of Sasaki’s wheelchair, giving them a literally important viewpoint. Click through here to view images of this work.
11:30-12:45 — Lunch and Performance by Gayle Danley
1:00-2:30 – Workshop Session II
- Gayle Danley – Soul Portraits: Poetry of the Heart, Mind, and Body – participants will focus on the structure and language of poems, discover new ways to use language, review performance techniques and perform original poems.
- Joel Lewitzky and Agnes Love – Printmaking – This workshop will focus on various forms of printmaking techniques used at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery to include foam printing, stamping, texture printing and glue prints. Methods will include those utilizing a printing press and hand press techniques. It will also emphasize the role of the teaching artist in participants’ skill level development. Limited to 12.
- Ellen Melamed – Changing Lives with the Alexander Technique – At age 12 Ellen was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis and wore a metal body brace for 5 years. She learned the Alexander Technique (AT) in order to learn to cope with the pain. Relearn how to be easeful in the world is a skill that should be available to all learners, regardless of age or circumstance. Learn to utilize this approach to cope with stresses as an educator, and how to make use of the techniques in your classroom with students. The AT is an approach to movement, a set of guidelines that you keep in mind as you do something else. When young people are exposed to this work early in their education they are able to return to their original poise while they are still quite resilient.
- A Rhythym Runs Through It – YA teaching artists Sarah Hooper, Miriam Minkoff, and Jen Russo, present with Heritage Centers program participants present on our long term multi-disciplinary arts residency with young people with special needs at the Heritage Centers After School Program. Students work with teaching artists across the art forms to gain confidence and abilities in the arts, all joined together by rhythm, breath, and pattern.
- Mary M. Wolf – Creating Community that Supports Diversity in the Art Classroom – The social environments in classrooms can enhance or impede the development of students. Students marginalized because of difference, often feel a sense of fear, shame, and doubt. Researchers posit that creating a sense of community can help students overcome such feelings by providing students a sense of autonomy, belonging, and competence. Community can build a positive foundation for recognizing and supporting the diversity within the group. This presentation will address theory and practice related to building community in classroom settings with diverse learners.
2:45-4:15 – Workshop Session III
- Rodney Appleby – Perspectives: On Your Feet Writing — This interactive workshop was created for Young Audiences WNY’s new Underground Railroad in WNY residency program. Participants will use role-play, music, and dramatic performance to explore and relate themselves to the circumstances and elements of choice involved in the Underground Railroad. Rodney will use several archetypal African American spirituals as a base to help students explore the distinctions between contrasting perspectives of the escaped slave, the Abolitionist, the Slave Hunter, and the Slave Owner. Students will journal their reactions and create an on the spot performance expressing the thoughts and feelings they encountered while assuming each role.
- Dale Davis – A Hip-Hop Pedagogy: A Connection to Student Engagement, Literacy, and Critical Thinking (Or Lessons Learned From Working with Young People in the Justice System)
- Stuart Fuchs – The Ukulele and Working in the Arts in Healthcare Settings – Learn about the Stuart’s experience working with patients, families and healthcare workers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute as part of UB Center for the Arts’ Arts-in-Healthcare Initiative. Also, learn about the history and versatility of the ukulele, and how to play the four stringed instrument.
- Zoe Hollomon and Erin Sharkey – Growing Talent Green – Growing Green trains young people ages 14-20 to use their talents to improve the food environment of their neighborhoods and provides innovative opportunities for skill building and leadership development. Through hands on activities in urban agriculture, enterprise development, graphic design, event planning, and environmental stewardship they learn job skills while addressing community needs. Learn about the nationally award winning Growing Green Program of Buffalo’s Massachusetts Avenue Project.
- Ellen Melamed – Using Drama with Newcomers – Educators will explore how dramatic techniques can be utilized to examine and understand schooling experiences for immigrant students bridging plural worlds. Workshop participants will learn practical techniques that attend to heterogeneous classrooms as well as to classes exclusively for newcomers. We will discuss how schools can create spaces of belonging, especially for marginalized youth. By utilizing theatre games and role playing newcomers are encouraged to actively engage in the dominant culture as they retain the pride of their own heritage.
- Gordon Sasaki – Universal Design in the Classroom – This workshop will introduce the principles of Universal Design in Learning and its implementation through discussion and practical hands-on exercises in the visual arts, incorporating digital technology to aid in classroom accessibility.
Letters from the Underground — Writing Workshop #1
Annette Daniels-Taylor $184 per back to back
In this workshop students will work with authentic photographs of former American slaves and slave children. Using the portraits as inspiration, students will listen to excerpts from actual letters written by escaped slaves, owners, and conductors who were involved in U.S. slave trade and the Underground Railroad effort. Many of these letters were written in code and provide an interesting starting point for examining the practice of slavery and the “criminal literacy” of enslaved people. Students will be challenged to assume the identity of the person in the photograph they receive and will write a letter that responds to the content of the original correspondence.
Poetry Word Train — Writing Workshop #2
Annette Daniels-Taylor $184 per back to back
After looking at slave imagery including print images from the 1800’s periodicals, paintings from Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration” series and the historical painting, “The Underground Railroad” by Charles T. Weber, students will share words that the imagery brings to mind. These words will be compiled on a visual word wall and students will be asked to use these words too create a group or individual poem from their collection.
Mapping the Road to Canaan — Writing Workshop #3
Annette Daniels-Taylor $184 per back to back
Students will study the “Generalized Routes to Freedom” map c. 1860. By studying the physical features, topography, state boarders, major cities and waterways of the Eastern U.S. students will gain a better understanding of the reality freedom seeking slaves faced as they set out on their journey to Canada. A discussion of the risks and common dangers that escaping slaves faced will be explored through the telling of true accounts from actual slave narratives. Students will learn about documented stops on the Underground Railroad in the Western New York region and will be asked to compose a plan in the form of a creative narrative. Students will be asked consider the following questions: Which state would your journey begin in? What route will you take? What places will you be sure to avoid? Who and what will you take with you?
The State I Was In — Finding Your Ancestral Links — Writing Workshop #4
Ntare Ali Gault $184 per back to back
In this workshop, Ntare Ali Gault emphasizes how exploring one’s own family story can be a powerful tool for understanding the history of slavery in the United States. Ntare shares his personal experience of receiving a school assignment to “find his roots” ended up helping him take ownership of a part of history that would later become a major point of inspiration for his own poetry. After performing his poetry, inspired by his family members who were formerly enslaved, Ntare will ask students to imagine what the lives of their ancestors may have been like in the 1800’s. Students will consider what role their ancestors may have played in the Underground Railroad effort and will organize their thoughts in an expressive free-verse poem.
Perspectives: On Your Feet Writing — Writing Workshop #5
Rodney Appleby $184 per workshop
Rodney Appleby leads this interactive workshop where students will use role-play, music, and dramatic performance to explore and relate themselves to the circumstances and elements of choice involved in the Underground Railroad. Rodney will use several archetypal African American spirituals as a base to help students explore the distinctions between contrasting perspectives of the escaped slave, the Abolitionist, the Slave Hunter, and the Slave Owner. Students will journal their reactions and create an on the spot performance expressing the thoughts and feelings they encountered while assuming each role. This is a double workshop – 1.5 hours.
“The Highest Joy and Deepest Sadness” A Study of Slave Songs — Writing Workshop #6
Reynold Scott $184 per back to back
Students will study how music was an integral tool for communication during the Underground Railroad era by studying the origins of “work songs” and “field hollers” written by slaves. Work songs were a way to organize field work but also served as a covert way of preserving African culture under extreme oppression. The songs expressed the hardships slaves faced during and after enslavement and sometimes carried instructions for slaves who sought freedom. Students will collaborate with Rey to compose their own “call and response” style work song and discover how these early forms of rhythm-based songs may have been the origin of blues music.
Young Audiences workshops allow students to work closely with a professional artist in an interactive, hands-on environment. Programs are 45 minutes and are offered as back-to-back (repeating) workshops to serve more than one classroom. Workshops can also be added to follow an assembly program, reinforcing its content.
Inspire student writing projects through creative journaling projects or explore the local history of the Erie Canal and Underground Railroad; the possibilities are endless. Click through here to see all of our workshop programs. Often, it makes sense to have artists come back for several visits, making your workshop a residency. Click through here to learn more about our residencies.
You may select a workshop to work on specific skills you would like your students to develop. Below are some examples of what these skills might be.
- Health and Fitness
- Environmentalism and Recycling
- Language Arts and Literacy
- Life Skills
- Math and Science
Browse workshops by art form below.
Our website makes it easy to find a workshop based on grade level, subject matter, and/or art form.
Click here to search our catalog.
Need help? Call our office (716.881.0917) and we can walk you through a search over the phone.
Images on this page: Jen Russo (top image) creates Mandalas with kindergarten students of H.O. Brumsted Elementary School. Annette Daniels-Taylor (bottom image) leads an Underground Railroad in Western New York poetry workshop at BPS Lovejoy Discovery School #43.
Interested in joining the Young Audiences roster?
We bring new artists onto our roster who are committed to inspiring young people. A Young Audiences teaching artist provides students with direct access to arts experiences they may not otherwise have access to. These unique opportunities include sharing forms of self-expression, artistic techniques, mastery of art forms, ties between the arts and other curriculum areas, and insight into a professional artist’s life.
We are currently focused on recruiting artists who work in the following areas:
- New media artists, creating artwork to be shared digitally or online.
- Artists that represent the region’s diverse cultural community
- Artists with programs supporting students learning in math and science
We welcome artists who provide assembly programs, workshops and long-term residencies in all art forms.
Application Process – We review applications annually between March and June
OUR DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF NEW PROGRAMS IN 2013 IS MAY 15.
Young Audiences carefully reviews the quality of an artist’s work prior to considering additions to our roster. The first step is a written application that includes a professional history, work samples, and a program proposal. You may print this application from the link below, or contact the Young Audiences WNY office to request a hard copy by phone at 716-881-0917. Based on this application, artists who meet Young Audiences WNY programming needs will meet with Young Audiences WNY staff and audition their program in a school setting. We often provide training opportunities and may require participation in some level training for artists new to Young Audiences WNY.
Download the Teaching Artist application in one of the following formats:
For further information, feel free to contact Nancy Sterman, Director of Education.
“I found inspiration and hope! Recognition in the power of art and allowing student voices to shine!” –Participant, 2010 Arts Abilities Conference
We offer a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers and artists throughout the year, including our Patricia Cotsen Arts Abilities Conference. The next time this conference will take place is Fall 2013.
Through the community wide Arts Partners for Learning, professional development and networking opportunities for educators, artists, and cultural educators will be provided. Click through here to learn more.
We will be offering a series of professional development opportunities for educators and artists throughout the year.
If you are a teaching artist, afterschool provider, or educator looking to participate in one of Young Audiences WNY’s upcoming professional development events please e-mail Education Associate, Annette Daniels-Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click through here to download a printable pdf compilation of some of our outstanding professional development programs.
We can also bring the professional development to you.
Consider bringing an artist in to illustrate how the arts may expand teaching practices and learning across curriculum. Workshops are for classroom teachers as well as arts specialists and can enhance instruction in non-arts subjects such as English or Social Studies or offer in-depth exploration of an art form for art teachers. Contact our office to discuss creating a customized program.
Professional development programs to bring into your school or workplace:
Pictured above: Ellen Melamed presents to WNY educators about the valuable benefits of The Alexander Technique.
In this workshop, Ntare Ali Gault emphasizes how exploring one’s own family story can be a powerful tool for understanding the history of slavery in the United States.