“I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale
Hurricane Sandy left a trail of devastation and need in our community.  Rockaway Beach, Queens, is one of the communities hardest hit.  Homes are destroyed and many are still without power, water and heat. This video, made by our staff member Limor Hakim while volunteering with the YANA Center there, demands that we at TAI step up and do our part.                                                                             
In just two short weeks, The TAI Group was able to raise over $1000 for our Hurricane Relief Fund. We are so grateful to all who supported us financially and with good thoughts. All the money raised was spent on supplies for the rebuilding of the YANA (You Are Never Alone) Community Center in Rockaway, Queens. Like many others, their building must be gutted to the wall studs and the foundation to eliminate the mold and water damage caused by the flood waters. We contributed 320lbs of cement mix, mold remediation supplies, electrical installation supplies and much more.  A group of hearty volunteers delivered the supplies to the YANA folks in Rockaway Beach on the morning of Monday, November 26th, 2012.  Once we dropped off the supplies, we were put to work straight away. Some of the TAI volunteers were inside the YANA Center building up a sweat tearing out damaged insulation and removing rotting wood while others served hot food in a chilly parking lot to neighbors and volunteers. I’ve attached a few pictures of us so you can see the circumstances.Volunteering was an eye opening experience. Many of the resident’s homes and businesses have been condemned due the extent of the damage. Many have nowhere to go and so they sleep in mold-infested homes and apartments, getting sicker by the day. While our day was taxing and emotional, our experience pales in comparison to their everyday reality. We know with certainty that the supplies we brought and the extra hands we lent made one day just a little easier for them.  And, through your support, you did, too. With gratitude,

Limor Hakim
For The TAI Group


  

AT PS317Q THE WATERSIDE CHILDREN’S STUDIO SCHOOL IN ROCKAWAY PARK,

NEW YORK, A MURAL IS CREATED TO HELP STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY

HEAL FROM THE DEVASTATION OF HURRICANE SANDY.

 

Art educator Allison Belolan wanted to do something special for students at PS317Q the Waterside Children’s Studio School, as well as their parents and the community of Rockaway Park, New York – a gesture to help residents  heal from the devastating effects of hurricane Sandy.

After the hurricane struck, the school was displaced. Belolan reached out to her alma mater, the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in Manhattan for donations for art supplies.

In a collaborative effort, Belolan and the students came up with the idea of doing a mural in conjunction with the school’s Enrichment Clusters, a program in which Belolan has been involved since its inception in 2009 when the school first opened.

When Belolan reached out to SVA, she not only obtained donations of art supplies, once the mural idea was conceived she won the interest of her former instructor, Michael Filan, a faculty member in SVA’s Master’s of Arts Department Program, who wanted to participate in the project, and is now a hands-on participant.

 

Thus, began a collaboration involving Belolan, Filan, and 15 students in the third through fifth grades, and ages 8-10.  On March 1, 2013, they began work on an 8′ x 16′ mural located in the school’s auditorium lobby.  Students were asked to sketch ideas, and Belolan created a composite image with their drawings.  Images were projected and traced on the mural site.  Painting began on April 5 and the mural is scheduled for completion on June 7.   The mural has yet to be named, but “giving it a title will be one of our closing exercises towards the end of the project when we reflect on what took place,” said Belolan.

All students in the mural cluster selected mural making as one of the options for this Enrichment Cluster cycle.  The Enrichment Cluster program at Waterside Children’s Studio School was initiated to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment where creativity and artistic expression are integral to the academic and emotional success of every child.  Through music, drama, visual arts, film, technology, writing and dance, a rigorous and progressive curriculum  empowers students to grow academically, creatively and socially.  It is crafted to help students acquire the critical thinking, personal integrity and self esteem that go beyond the classroom walls.

“Everyone is sad about the hurricane and I thought we could make a mural to bring inspiration to the Rockaways,” said Alicia Milan, age ?, one of the mural artists.  Another student, Jahlil Browne, age ?, commented that he picked the mural cluster “because at first I didn’t know what a mural was, and I thought I could try something new instead of doing the same old thing. “

Before attending the School of Visual Arts, Allison Belolan worked as a costume jewelry designer for several years.  She has a B.F.A. in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and an Associates degree in Jewelry Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“I have been enjoying working on the mural so much; it is a project meant to be” said Filan.

“Working with a former student has been a pleasure and a gift.  The children have gone through so much in the last few months.  It is great to see them so happy while working on the mural. As an artist I feel it’s important to give back to your community.”

In addition to his faculty position at SVA, Michael Filan is a visual artist and a consulting coach for The TAI Group.  He works with individual clients and conducts workshops about effective and compelling communication. He is the founder of the Art Studio Network in New York City, a program for visual artists that serves as a networking tool to support and encourage connection and community, and to help counteract feelings of isolation after the art-making process is completed.  Filans’ paintings have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums including the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum of Rutgers University; the Bronx Museum of the Arts; the Koussevitzky Art Gallery of Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield Massachusetts; the JMS Gallery in Philadelphia; the Nicholas F. Rizzo Gallery in Chatham, New Jersey; and the Berlin Kuntsproject in Germany.

PS317Q The Waterside Children’s Studio School is located at  I-90 Beach 110 Street, Rockaway Park, New York.