Jennifer Katona, Ph.D. Open a New Window Weaving Arts Education in Today’s Classrooms

How do I make sure every kid gets that kind of emotional connection to their education? The Arts are how you do that. I am passionate about working with schools and spreading the word on how powerful and impactful learning through the arts can be. I have seen schools transform time and time again, and I want to help all schools find this success.

QUESTION: Comment on how an arts-inclusive education impacted your life?

Dr. Jennifer Katona, President and Founder 3 Looms Creative Education Consulting is currently the Visual and Performing Arts Sr. Manager for the Norwalk Public Schools is the former Director and Founder of the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at the City College of New York (CCNY), where she oversaw the certification of pre and in-service Theatre teachers and training of non-certified theatre educators.

Through her work at CCNY Jennifer created and oversaw the middle school afterschool drama program at PS 161 the neighboring K-8 school in Harlem. Another hallmark of the CCNY Educational Theatre program was the partnership with Roundabout Theatre Company and Teaching Technical Theatre course which was taught in the off-Broadway studios of Roundabout Theatre Education. Additionally, under her leadership CCNY Educational Theatre Program partnered with the Arthur Miller Foundation to create the scholar’s program to help support the preparation of more arts teachers for the New York City public school system. Jennifer has served as mentors for Fulbright scholars through her work at CCNY.

The name 3 Looms is homage to the influential work that started my journey into education over twenty years ago.

My first taste of how to liberate a classroom came from watching Dorothy Heathcote’s documentary, 3 Looms in Waiting. Dorothy famously would walk into a classroom and ask students, “What shall we do a play about today?”

Now while I recognize we cannot walk into a class and ask students what they want to learn, I strive to create environments that take us as close to learner-centered as possible. As close to allowing students to say, “This is what I would like to learn about today…”

Jennifer served as the Arts Education consultant for Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut and has served as a curriculum consultant for Disney Theatrical Education, Broadway’s Come From Away,  created study guides for Broadway’s Once on this Island Revival, and facilitated workshops on curriculum mapping for the Arthur Miller Foundation Fellows,  New York City Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects as well as facilitated webinars on the same topics for teachers nationwide through AATE where she currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors and has previously served as Director of Regional Programming –overseeing Theatre In Our Schools initiatives.  As Board Chair Jennifer serves as representative to National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) which is a partnership of organizations and states leading the development of new core arts standards for the United States.

Prior to coming to CCNY Jennifer taught middle school theatre in Brooklyn and worked as Teaching Artist for numerous cultural organizations throughout the Tri-State area most notably New Victory Theatre, Arts Connection, NorthShore Music Theatre and Starlight Youth Productions.  She has an extensive performance, directing, choreography resume and extensive experience in technical theatre and stage management.

Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education: Arts Policy and her current research explores Factors Which Influence the Decision of a School Leader to Maintain or Eliminate Arts Programming in their School and building sustainable arts programming in urban schools.Jennifer has spoken and presented on this topic at many conferences across the country. As well as worked closely with Americans for the Arts on arts advocacy related matters.

Twitter @profkatona

Gianmarco Soresi, Stand-Up Comedian: Healing Through Humor

Gianmarco Photo

Gianmarco Soresi is a stand-up comedian and actor who just released his first comedy special Shelf Life on Amazon Prime, documenting the experience of writing and performing new material in the middle of a global pandemic.

 

I enjoy kind of dark, twisted humor. I focus on making this joke great, a great set, and more often than not people in pain will feel good watching it. . .I’m gonna make great comedy and if this is useful for people — that’s great. I think that’s where healing can happen — in that really dark place and sometimes I can figure out a way to make it funny. THAT’S the best part.

Produced by Jacklyn Thrapp and Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand, and directed by three-time Emmy Award-winning photojournalist Andy Buck, “Shelf Life” is unique in that it will also feature behind-the-scenes documentary-style footage that chronicles Gianmarco’s journey doing live comedy in the unpredictable and ever-changing world of Covid-19.

Gianmarco’s stand up has been featured on Netflix’s Bonding, PBS’ Stories from the Stage, SeeSo’s New York’s Funniest, Real Housewives of New York, NY1, New York LIVE, Vanity Fair, George Takei Presents and he was the winner of Amazon’s Comics Watching Comics Season 8. 1st Place at the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival, Devil’s Cup Comedy Festival, Empire State Comedy Festival, and Last Comix Standing at Mohegan Sun, he regularly headlines clubs, colleges and sordid basements around the country. As a storyteller, Gianmarco has also told tales on the RISK! podcast, The Moth (StorySLAM winner), Suitcase Stories, PBS’ Stories for the Stage, Story Collider and his autobiographical play, Less Than 50%, premiered at the New York City Fringe Festival before being accepted into the Fringe Encores Festival and then receiving a full Off-Broadway run at 59E59 produced by Tony-winner Michael Rubenstein and Robin Milling and directed by Jen Wineman.

As an actor, Gianmarco has professionally pretended in the movie Hustlers with Jennifer Lopez, TBS’s The Last OG with Tracy Morgan, Apple’s Little Voices, CBS’s Blue Bloods, ABC’s Deception and What Would You Do?, A&E’s Unforgettable, Lifetime’s I love You But I Lied, TruTV, Comedy Central, and he can be seen in the upcoming Billy Crystal/Tiffany Haddish movie Here Today. He was also the former spokesman for General Electric and Baby Bottle Pop and has done voice over work for GE, Coca-Cola, Audible, and so many podcasts you’ve never heard of.

Gianmarco is a member of the sketch team Uncle Function, which was recently granted a monthly show at the Upright Citizens Brigade that ran for three sold out performances before the entire theater shutdown forever. He’s also the creator of the sketch series Matza Pizza, which led to Funny or Die greenlighting one of his pitches as an FOD original.

His sketches, front-facing videos as Jeff Goldblum, tweets, and other writing has been featured in Esquire, The Atlantic, The AV Club, ABC News, The Huffington Post, The Daily Dot, Perez Hilton, Laughspin, Splitsider, Tubefilter, Metro NY (cover page), Fast Company and he’s written branded content for spoiledNYC, Hyperbolic Audio, Burrow, SHIFT, SpareRoom and South Eastern Washington Help. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @gianmarcosoresi or www.gianmarcosoresi.com

Jacklyn Thrapp (Executive Producer) is an Emmy® award-winning journalist and entertainment producer based in NYC. TELEVISION: Former news producer for CW, FOX, ABC and CBS affiliates across the country. OFF-BROADWAY: Good Morning New York: A New Musical and Park For Your Problems AUDIO DRAMAS: Hanukkah Haunting (October 2020), Christmas Pitch (November 2020) and Christmas F@%T (December 2020).  AWARDS: Second Rounder in the Austin Film Festival’s “Fiction Podcast” competition.Twitter: @JacklynThrapp | Instagram: @JacklynThrapp | Website: JacklynThrapp.com  

Andy Buck (Director/Editor) is a three-time Emmy Award-winning photojournalist and video editor who currently works for CNN’s news and documentary team in New York City, covering events all over the world. He recently served as photographer, editor, and producer for the CNN documentary “Inside the ER: The Incredible Fight Against Coronavirus,” which is in consideration for a Peabody Award. He also worked on the HBO Max original documentary “On The Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries.” Andy grew up in Denver, Colorado, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand (Producer) is the Owner and Founder of Edge In Motion Productions, a full-service production company specializing in one of a kind TV Pilots and viral internet content that can be seen on YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok. Lindsay was in consideration for the 2020 Emmy’s with her Amazon Prime digital series “Riding the D with Dr. Seeds.” In addition to producing, Lindsay is an award-winning screenwriter, formerly on the nominating committee for the SAG Awards, and mothers a human child. She is a passionate producer who has a hand in every aspect of production, from the development of the scripts to the logistics of filming and post-production. Lindsay’s work has caught the eye of several publications including HuffPo, Funny or Die, Broadway World, A.V. Club, Paste Magazine, Flavorwire, Laughspin, Theater Mania, Spoiled NYC, Downtown Magazine, IGN, Comedy Cake, The Front Row Center, Theater Geek, and Madame Figaro (France) to name a few.  

The trailer for my Amazon special 

The Amazon special

And then best way to find me is on twitter, instagram and TikTok @gianmarcosoresi 

Iman Aoun: Breaking Down Walls &Cultivating Hope Through Theatre

For over thirty-five years, Iman Aoun, a theatre-maker from Palestine has dedicated herself to advancing her mission of “breaking down walls” that exist as both physical and psychological phenomena by “cultivating hope [and creating] beauty and change” through her art.  Refusing to compromise her commitment to stripping both visible and invisible walls, Iman’s work has become a source of healing not only for her Palestinian communities, but also global populations.

Iman 2020

Iman Aoun (Actress, Director, Producer) began her career in 1984 with the internationally renowned Palestinian Theatre Company El-Hakawati. In 1991 she co-founded ASHTAR Theatre and serves as Artistic Director . Aoun holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Studies and a Diploma in Psychodrama and has written and published many theatre studies; devised many plays; and directed nationally and internationally. She is a recognized international trainer of the Theatre of the Oppressed technique, an Award winning actress and director for the stage in more than 60 productions, and has appeared in national TV series and international movies. Aoun has received numerous commendations for her work from different countries, international organizations and festivals, and has served as a Panelist for various world congresses and international conferences.

Among her most notable global projects is The Gaza Monologues.

Please visit the link below to become a patron of ASHTAR Theatre:  contributions could be as little as 5$ a month. Your support grants our continuation https://www.patreon.com/ashtartheatre

Global Giving at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ashtar-online-performances/photos/?fbclid=IwAR0-ihQ-TXfHKZZPNd16vTocB-eyCve4lY97WdX1BfdMkwwC3o7Glynh_fw#menu

iman@ashtar-theatre.org

https://www.facebook.com/iman.aoun.18

March Hare Media + Wheatsheaf Studio Productions marchharemedia.com

“Keep The Light On For Me” vocals, music and lyrics by Yuri Turchyn yuriturchyn.com

Bunny Yan: Fashion Edutainer

 

With fashion being the 2nd biggest polluter, we need to consume
and produce smarter. Guess what? The solutions exist, now we need
to implement! 
Through this series, I want to show the potential that’s all around us, give a stage to the visionaries and give a great cause to stand behind for those who already have amplifiers.
Fun story-telling that inspire the masses to embrace positive change
is my vision.

bunny-headshot-1

You can connect with Bunny and watch her fun IGTV fashion series on  www.instagram.com/sooobunny

Over the last 20+ years working in sustainable fashion, Bunny Yan has established herself as one of the leading experts in sustainability and upcycling.
Bunny was invited to the White House (Obama) and addressed the UN on ocean plastic. She consults some of the best-known brands, and gives presentations/interviews all
over the world to organizations like Forbes & Sustainable Brands Conference.

insta: @soobunny 

You can connect with Bunny and watch her fun IGTV fashion series on  www.instagram.com/sooobunny

Instagram channel

IGTV

www.theSquirrelz.com

www.LeftsideofFashion.com

March Hare Media + Wheatsheaf Studio Productions marchharemedia.com

Maggie Stern: Sock Art Celebrates the “Sole” of America

My socks celebrate women who have changed the world for the better and never gave up fighting for what they believed in: justice, honor, the right to vote, equal rights. I started with a stitched design featuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who I wanted to honor because she is one of the great champions of equality in our time. Later, that stitched design turned into a manufactured sock.

MAGGIE STERN AND PHOEBE AT WORK

A children’s’ book writer, folk artist, and founder of Maggie Stern Stitches, a sock company featuring Stern’s illustrations of notable women — from Maya Angelou to Greta Thunberg to Gloria Steinhem.  On the sole of each sock Maggie stitches a quotation from the featured woman:  “I hope that their words inspire the wearer as much as they inspire me.”  A portion of the proceeds from sales goes to women’s organizations and other foundations whose work aligns with the ambitions of my heroes.  

Maggie Stern Stitches is a woman-owned and operated small business and we depend on our community, just like our community depends on us. With that in mind, MSS donates socks and proceeds from sock sales to non-profit organizations that respond to our world’s most urgent needs.

Feeding America 

The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Together with individuals, charities, businesses and government they are working to end hunger in America.

First Responders Children’s Foundation

First Responders Children’s Foundation provides financial support to both children who have lost a parent in the line of duty as well as families enduring significant financial hardships due to tragic circumstances. First Responders Children’s Foundation also supports, promotes, and facilitates educational activities and programs created and operated by law enforcement and firefighting organizations whose purpose is to benefit children or the community at large.

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO (World Health Organization) is leading and coordinating the global effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic, supporting countries to prevent, detect and respond and insure all countries are prepared, especially those with the weakest health systems.

Delivering Good

Delivery Good distributes new product donations made by hundreds of companies in the fashion, home and children’s industries, creating a simple and effective way to bring brand new merchandise to people in need across America.

Project Place

Project Place promotes a community of hope and opportunity for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the skills, education and resources needed to obtain and sustain employment and housing in the Boston area.

350

An international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all, and creating a future that is just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of climate change.

To order socks. . .

National Museum of Women & The Arts