Testimonial #8: Theresa Salerno

How has your life been indelibly touched by a teacher who utilized the arts for whatever reason and acknowledge how they were instrumental in breaking the mold to allow you to become who you are today?

The arts, to me, growing up was my savior. Being able to perform and take myself out of my world to be in another was life saving to me. I enjoyed so much all of my school musicals. I also enjoyed the flute, marching at Hofstra with my sax, and my weekly piano lessons. I truly feel without my music and performing I would have never made it. As you read along your notes on a page you are instantly into the magic of the arts.

I also feel that music will heal you. To this day, I am thankful that I was able to enjoy and appreciate the gift of music .With this blog you can make a difference and leave your foot print on this earth to let people know that there is hope. Many kids today don’t have an out. Music and performing must go on!!!! Maybe it will help them to escape from the real world for a little and have fun exploring another.

Testimonial #5: Rachelle Bradt, RB Learning Environments

How has your life beenindelibly touched by a teacher who utilized the arts for whatever reason andacknowledge how they were instrumental in breaking the mold to allow you tobecome who you are today?

Art was part of everythingwe did in Miss Kieser’s classroom, where I spent a wonderful time from grades 1through 3.  She played the piano and we learned to sing in tune. She was drawing on thechalkboard and we were all drawing in our notebooks. Then some words wereadded, and we started to write. Everybody learned to read and write. The notion that someone might not [readand write], didn’t even occur to us. We had no art teacher, because everyteacher had to know art.

We had a huge sandbox in the classroom in which we put mountains and rivers,houses, people and animals. They all had to be counted; that’s how we learnedmath.

I’ll never forget when she came [to class] with a chocolate bar that had to be divvied upamong all the children in the class. That’s how we learned division.

Art was part of everything we did. And Miss Kieser drew me a fabulous colorpencil study of two shells along with a poem by a famous poet (Eichendorff):

“There is a song that sleeps in all things,
As they linger in their dream.
And the world will start a-singing,
Once you’ll find its magic beam.”

And it did.

How are the artsre-igniting your community and sparking innovation and creativity in your localschools?

“I learned how to be areal artist. I will remember everything we did.I was trying to do my best butit wasn’t easy because I had never done that before, but you showed me.” (Carla,4thgrade student, PS 132, Manhattan)

“I have learned a lot about my students’ interests and needs. The sketchbooks are a wonderful tool for teaching and have encouraged writing immensely.(Juan Paredes, 4th grade teacher, PS 115, Manhattan)

“My students are paying more attention to detail! They have become visualthinkers. They approach my projects with much more confidence and have reallytaken art seriously as a subject. (Integrating art making with reading andwriting ) has changed the way that I teach my students.” (Wiley Nelson, ArtSpecialist, PS 8, Manhattan).

Testimonial #4: Justine Beirne, MA Philosophy Columbia University

A teacher that touched my life…..I have to say, that to choose one is an injustice as the English department of Vernon Township High School was really one of the best, in my opinion, in the entire world. However, if there is one person I remember it is James Walsh, my junior year high school English teacher who pushed me to explore the aesthetic theory used in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. He simply kept asking me to point to the place in the text that made me make the conclusions I was making about the literature. To this day, through two Master’s programs, an honor’s thesis, and more than 400 pages of academic writing I hear Mr. Walsh’s voice: “Go back to the text.” He made me feel like a proper academic. But he made me EARN it.

The arts are re-igniting my community by…. Looking at modernism and deconstruction is the only way to live in our new fast-paced global society peacefully. The avante garde, the new, the unusual, the Lady Gaga’s of the world who make us question the way we label an experience with a concept. The arts force us to question our human habit of labeling experiences as good or bad, and extends our empathy to those we otherwise would not understand. They are the only instrument for peace in a post-modern global culture.

The First 100 Stories Campaign: Testimonial #2

Testimonial #2: Keith Johnston, co-founded the Creative Arts Team’s College/Adult Program 

My Uncle Calvin from Jamaica taught me how to play guitar and draw. He admonished me for my fear of speaking. “Being shy is selfish. God gave you a gift. If you don’t use it you’ll become a cosmic clogger. If you hold it to yourself you’re not allowing to speak your artistic gifts. Your artistic gifts is the voice of God.”
That’s what Uncle Calvin said and I never forgot it. It has become my mantra.



Let’s hear it from you: Teachers! Students! Graduates! Parents! Artists! 

Click here to submit your testimonial.


The First 100 Stories Campaign: A Testimonial from Edie Falco!

Frances McGarry, Edie Falco and Eve Terry
“Fran McGarry and Eve Terry, perhaps unbeknownst to them, played a huge part in my path to my present career. Though I was just a schoolkid, they treated me like an artist; made me believe I had something unique to offer. They helped grow my confidence which I believe can take you anywhere you want to go. I am so grateful.”

– Edie Falco
July 11, 2011
Let’s hear it from you: Teachers! Students! Graduates! Parents! Artists! 
Click here to submit your testimonial.