Keith Haring Foundation|
Going Off-Script: Engaging Youth in Creative Practice

09.08.2016 | by Marisa Mazria Katz

A drawing of Mohammed Ndiaye, one of the students involved in the program. Drawing by Ricardo Cortés. 2015.

A drawing of Mohammed Ndiaye, one of the students involved in the program. Drawing by Ricardo Cortés. 2015.

In 2015, with a grant from the Keith Haring Foundation, I was able to create a program that would give foster-involved youths the opportunity to contribute to Creative Time Reports. Our partner organization, the Children’s Village, was founded in 1851 by a cadre of philanthropists keen to address the swelling number of homeless youths in New York City. The Children’s Village Bronx campus aided us in finding teenagers to work with and provided us with space for our workshops.

For the project I tapped the artists Ricardo Cortés and Lisi Raskin, both regular contributors to Creative Time Reports, to join me in teaching several sessions focusing on creative storytelling. Little went as planned, but that was only to our utter delight. We opted out of rigidly sticking to a syllabus and instead responded in a more malleable way to our students’ needs, giving rise to experiences that we never could have foreseen. The workshop culminated in the spring with a session at which I was joined by Lisi Raskin and two students who happened to be siblings, Mohammed and Monrovia Ndiaye. The four of us took the time together to write letters to our future selves and then followed up by asking another person in the room to respond to the letter. We each read and recorded the letters.

You can read the interview and listen to the four recorded readings HERE. While the most intensive part of the workshop ended in May, one student, Mohammed, continued on as a paid intern for Creative Time. Needless to say, this has been one of the more joyful experiences during my time at the organization. I am grateful for the utter trust and freedom that Creative Time bestowed and for the generosity of the Keith Haring Foundation.

- Filed Under Art, Multimedia






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