Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all have a great one, with the people you love.
In honor of the holiday and all the outdoor festivities, I thought I would share a photo I took in Central Park recently, in the Shakespeare Garden.
Women’s History Month is upon us again, and to honor the achievement of woman, NoMAA is curating its annual “Women in the Heights” exhibition, where I have been chosen to debut the REVAMPED & FINAL version of my “I Have a Dream 2013″ painting! The video will also be played at the show.
Since the painting’s premiere during MLK’s “I Have A Dream” 50th anniversary last year, I put in another 15+ hours last month (added to the over 100 hours I had already spent) to make sure all 57 people finally have a portrait. This is the first time everyone will get to see the revised and completed piece, and I am so excited to be able to share this with you all at this amazing venue!
The exhibit is FREE to attend and opening night is next Wednesday, March 5, from 6 – 8 pm:
178 Bennett Avenue, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10040
It’s been a whirlwind couple of months, leading up to the gallery show, “I HAVE A DREAM – 50 Yeas of Change,” at El Taller Latino Americano, where I have been invited to display my multimedia tribute piece to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been the most involved, collaborative, and intense art project I have ever done.
The gallery opening was on Wednesday, July 24th, and in the weeks preceding I spent over 100 hours creating a painted portrait of Dr. King, based on screenshots from the videos of over 50 people, from all walks of life, who each generously took the time to recite one line from the speech to camera.
In addition, my piece, officially titled “I Have A Dream 2013,” (below, right) includes a video montage of all the submissions I received, and that video can also be seen at the gallery, on a tablet under my painting.
This entire experience has been so moving, and so time-intensive, that I am only now catching my breath enough to step back and appreciate what has been created, not just by me, but by the amazing people who believed in Dr. King’s dream enough, to lend their voices and faces to the project. I am ever in their debt.
The gallery show ends this Saturday, August 10th, so I invite all of you to feel free to come up to 104th and Broadway in NYC and see all of the amazing work before it closes. I am so honored, not only to be able to show alongside such esteemed and established artists such as Felipe Galindo, Martin Kozlowski, & Sylvia Hernandez; but also to be part of an exhibit curated by my wonderfully talented and gifted mentor, artist Andrea Arroyo.
Read Press: El Diario»
If you’d like to visit, gallery hours are Mon-Thurs 10-6, and Sat 10-1, and the address is:
The Grady Alexis Gallery – El Taller Latino Americano
2710 Broadway, 3rd Fl. New York NY 10025. 212-665-9460
It’s free to attend, and I hope you can make it, but either way, more is yet to come for IHaveADream2013.com – so stay tuned!
Just a little over a week ago, I wrapped my yearly children’s art classes at Artistic Dreams International, and I can’t say enough how rewarded and blessed I feel, to see the changes that occur in these kids when their minds are brought into focus, and their eyes are opened up to their true potential.
Last year I taught an all-inclusive, basics-building drawing class that ranged from perspective to observation, from contour-drawing to self-portraiture, and it was fantastic! We packed so much within 3 short hours a day, that I knew each child found at least one lesson that they could really hold onto, and bring into their future art projects.
This year, however, I was informed that may of the children had shown an interest in learning more technically advanced drawing skills. Thus, I was inspired to take things up a notch, incorporate some mixed media, and truly challenge them.
Drawing Exercise: Photos-to-Drawings Picture Grids.
The results, from kids no older than 8 or 9, and some as young as 4 and 5 (not pictured here), speak for themselves:
Now, normally I’d recommend this exercise for kids ages 10 and up, but with help (especially with the grid construction), even much younger children can get something out of it. I took the liberty of making a video of how I created my own Picture Grid: this one I call the “Surrealist Half-Picture,” because much like in Surrealist art, most of the drawing is recognizable and fairly realistic, but I added a few unusual details (which the kids really enjoyed), to make it all my own.
I showed this video to the children at the start of class, and immediately I could see how it motivated them to get started!
As always, teaching was super fun, but two elements of the class stood apart as my favorites of the day:
1) That golden period where all the kids are eagerly bent over their work, hushed and focused on their pieces, happy & in their own little worlds.
And 2) That magic moment when a child is nearing the completion of their work, and they lean back from it, only to realize that – WOW! It actually looks like the picture! I remember this moment vividly for myself when I was a kid doing a grid exercise; it was one of the first times I realized I could really draw if I put my mind to it, and it was a tremendous self-esteem booster. It is deeply gratifying to see a new generation experience that same revelatory and positive feeling.
So what’s the takeaway? It’s this: Art Matters. Artistic Dreams educates young people with little or no access to the arts. Without ADI, many of these kids would never have the opportunity to learn from professional artists and uncover their hidden talents. Some of these children have learning disabilities, are monitored by case workers, or have trouble in school. In an academic setting, they may be labeled as different; or perhaps just as bad, they might be educated in a classroom so crowded, they receive no individual attention at all.
Not at ADI. The ratio of teachers to students can be as low as 1 to 3 (I had 3 teaching assistants myself!); every child receives individual attention; and every child is treated as though they are as competent and capable as all the others. For example, we had one student who was diagnosed with ADHD, and yet, they were able to sit quietly for over an hour, creating a beautiful, highly detailed drawing that any child would be proud to show a parent. Imagine if they could apply that same focus to a math problem or a reading passage? (Read my recent post: Art Education Matters»)
And I don’t take the credit for this. I may have designed the drawing lesson, but ADI has created a program that is truly unique: incorporating yoga, meditation, leadership skills, and accountability into the art curricula that art teachers like myself, bring to the classroom. I have never experienced anything like it — I was just as happy to learn yoga as the children were — and it is a model that I hope can be utilized in academic and extracurricular settings across the country, because it works!
I donate my time and art materials to ADI because they utilize art and music to transform the lives of students all over the world. It doesn’t matter if we reach 10 students or 10,000 – to me, it’s worth every penny and every effort. But of course, the more kids we can reach, the more lives that can be changed. If you want to learn more, please visit ArtisticDreams.org, or make a donation here», and help ADI expand its amazing outreach.
Thanks so much for reading, and until next time,
About 1 in 4 Americans suffers from some form of mental illness in any given year 1. And because of the stigma often associated with mental illness, many people afflicted do not seek help, which means the number is likely even higher.
I am fairly certain that each of us has either experienced mental illness ourselves, or has someone close to us who has; and considering its prevalence, isn’t it time to get rid of the stigma and acknowledge that mental illness is NOT something to be ashamed of?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, and is a perfect opportunity to support one another (and ourselves) in getting educated about what mental illness is, what it isn’t, and how we can all help each other to become or remain mentally healthy. (Learn about mental health/illness here»).
To that end, G Gallery in Bellmore, NY, is holding an art show entitled “ASYLUM – It’s All In Your Head,” sponsored by the Long Island Crisis Center, which provides “24/7, free, high quality, confidential and non-judgmental programs and services to support and empower Long Islanders at critical times in their lives.”
This promises to be a diverse showcase featuring passionate local artists, and I am very pleased and proud to say – I am going to be one of them! Two pieces which I created that reflect various states of mental distress will be on display, as well will be offered for sale.
So please save the date: Saturday, May 18th 7:30 – 9:30 pm
…and the place: G Gallery, 2717 Grand Avenue, North Bellmore, NY, 11710
Wine & hors d’oeuvres will be served, and any questions may be directed to Liz at: 516-376-2737.
Hope to see you all there, and please remember, mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and you should never give up hope. We are in this together. <3
After weeks of hard work, my team and I are pleased to present the very first episode of Awaken Inspire Create!
Be sure to subscribe to my channel at Youtube.com/DesiSanchezTV so you don’t miss the next episode, and visit the show’s web site at AwakenInspireCreate.com to learn more about the series and join the discussion on how we all can become more creative in our own lives.
Many thanks to:
Rod Savant, Director of Photography
Moses Naranjo, Motion Graphics & Video Editor
JiEun Lee, Production Assistant & Logo Designer for Awaken Inspire Create & AICTV
Sarah Wood, Wardrobe Stylist
Yes, visual art can be video as well as traditional media!
And I had a great time shooting the Women Inspired exhibit for my new online show about creativity, awareness & philanthropy this past Monday. The footage looks great and while I work on the edit, I wanted to give a big thank you to Curator and Artist Andrea Arroyo (pictured above with me), Professional Women Photographers, as well as El Taller Latino Americano. And of course heartfelt thanks to my favorite cameraman & awesome PA – it’s a team effort.
Please stay tuned and subscribe to my YouTube channel here: www.Youtube.com/DesiSanchezTV, to see the final video and learn more about these wonderful artists who are making a difference.
I had a great time at the NoMAA Women in the Heights art exhibit! Check it out until 4/18: http://www.nomaanyc.org/2013/02/women-in-the-heights-celebrations/
– with curator Andrea Arroyo & art by Francoise van Dijk & Erica Criss
Slowly but surely the frontpiece of my mixed media project is coming along. It takes about 3 hours to paint each skyscraper.
I love how the paint shimmers like the real thing when it’s still wet!