This Thanksgiving we celebrate the artists who collaboratively create beauty with our public school students every day. Last year alone, twenty teaching artists and art directors plus dozens of artist volunteers worked with 3,000 students at twenty schools to produce twenty-five murals totaling almost 10,000 square feet of public art – including murals in Los Angeles and Cincinnati.
Artists (and Students) Like Nico
Artists like Nico Collazo, who co-taught and art directed at PS/MS 34 and the three high schools at the Grand Street Campus. Nico began working with Thrive as a student volunteer in 2014, and describes Thrive’s impact on him then, and his students now:
Before working with Thrive, I was working in a factory in Brooklyn — literally in the same factory where my grandfather worked tirelessly when he came to the States from Puerto Rico.
Looking out the window one day I thought about where my grandpa was and asked myself am I anywhere different? After a push from my fiancee to pursue my artistic dreams, I contacted Thrive and became an intern, after previously volunteering in 2014. As an intern, I traveled around the boroughs assisting with murals at ten different sites. With the help of co-workers like Kekoa, Anthony, Jessica, and Sam I started to learn the ropes and gain some confidence. I even had the opportunity to meet and work with some childhood heroes like Daze, Crash, Sonic, and Tats Cru.
I’m now starting my second year with Thrive as a teaching artist. The one thing I cherish most is the personal interactions with the kids. Inspiring them to express their own artistic vision is a challenge but rewarding at the same time, providing life lessons and outlets that push them to look beyond themselves. Most of all, I know that at the end of the day they go home with something of substance that later they can pass along.
Your support means that artists and mentors like Nico will continue to create hope and opportunity for students just like Nico was growing up in Brooklyn.
Please take this opportunity to give generously so we can Bring Art Back to the 419 schools in New York City without art teachers of any kind. Your donation will help eradicate artless education for a quarter of a million NYC students, mostly from low-income communities of color.
Thank you for being part of the mission to create hope and opportunity through arts and mentoring in public schools. Celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas this year by investing in our City’s most vulnerable students — the ones who most need the ability to imagine a world that doesn’t yet exist and make it so.