An Ending as a New Beginning

Summer Arts Academy, Day 12

An Ending as a New Beginning, Day 12

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Post-Production and Promotion, Day 12

Today is the last day of our Summer Arts Academy and our last day we’ll spend as a group, coming together to work on this music video.

With production of the “Turn up the Value” song completed, this morning we turned our attention to distribution. How could we help the song find an audience? We students considered different methods, and agreed that social media makes the most sense to reach our friends. We imagined a “Turn up the Value” challenge — in the similar vein as the ‘Ice Bucket’ challenge — and went to work filming 10-20 second videos to help with promotion when the song officially drops this fall. The videos are lots of fun. Some are serious and others terribly silly. Some feature kids playing basketball, singing, drawing, and poetry. Either way, they’ll be posted on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #TurnUpTheValue.

While our students were off creating their own personal #TurnUpTheValue videos, our interns and capable summer camp directors Uhey and Kekoa were on the second floor of the Harlem Hub installing the “For One and All” mural. They retook measurements and trimmed the mural’s four plywood boards, before drilling them in place.

I helped where I could, setting up and sorting equipment, handing out measuring tape and the like. It was a group effort that required coordinated teamwork and dedication so I’d like to give all of us construction workers a high five and say a job well done!

After lunch, Uhey and Thrive Collective executive director Jeremy Del Rio celebrated the great work of our students. Jeremy reminded us of all we have accomplished in 12 short days!

“The idea that people who aren’t used to writing and performing and recording songs could actually produce a song that’s worth listening to, is unheard of! But you didn’t just create a song that’s worth listening to, you created a music video worth watching that goes along with the song. On top of that, you choreographed dance that’s featured in the video and you produced a mural that’s going to exist long after the Summer Arts Academy ends.  That’s huge! Anyone of those things by themselves is huge but the truth is you guys did all four of them. And you did all four of them because you said yes, and you showed up. Congratulations on an extraordinary summer.” – Jeremy Del Rio

Christine then took the floor and gave all of us a sneak preview of a very rough edit of the music video. It looks fantastic! I can’t wait for the final version to releases this fall so everyone can watch and share with all their friends!

We spent the rest of our time together partying and celebrating what we created. Flexx laid out his music playlist and students danced or enjoyed confectioneries of all shapes and sizes.

Jeremy reminded us that, “Things like songs and murals and videos and choreography start with ideas, but ideas without action leave them worthless.” I couldn’t agree more. Having seen the Summer Arts Academy go from idea to pre-production to production and post-production has been a wonderful journey for me and everyone inside the Harlem Hub. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication. Here’s to our creation and to a new tradition!



Valerie Freedom

My story begins in Franklin Delano Roosevelt School in Lower East Side. I was a small little sapling back then, fermenting in a growing, warm community. I germinated when Generation Xcel began its mural ideas. Over time I flew on the wind to other schools to plant saplings and create murals through them. Likes: Outdoor activities, Painting, Basketball, Socializing, Superhero movies, Communal unity, Dislikes: Violence, Biases

All stories by: Valerie Freedom

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