Urban Art Beat is a platform for creative expression, partnering talented artists and dedicated volunteers with under served schools and organizations. We believe that creative expression through the arts has the potential to enhance the mind, spirit and artistic energy of our youth and engage them in shaping a vision for their community’s future.
We empower youth, fight educational injustice, and reduce dropout rates by creating reliable partnerships and innovative projects through Hip Hop culture and arts education.
• Form student-centered curricula based on participant interests
• Provide participants with long lasting mentorship with community artists
• Lead innovative and relevant music and art workshops steeped in radical Hip Hop Pedagogy
• Establish a safe & creative environment that challenges both mentors and participants
• Ensure individual attention by maintaining a low student to mentor ratio
•Develop critical literacy and problem solving skills through collaborative, project based learning
• We create incredibly unique and thorough curricula for every program we lead
• In addition to the performance elements of Hip Hop, students learn about the history and heritage of Hip-Hop, encouraging pride in and ownership of their work as artists.
• Every program builds towards a culminating project, shared with the community and centered around social justice
WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR
A Few Facts we are particularly proud of…
• Created and performed over 500 new and original songs, 15 songs created for an annual College Board scholarship contest
• Maintained a Mentor to Student Ratio of 1 to 5, ensuring lots of individualized attention
• Created over 50 youth-centered shows in New York, New Jersey, Germany and the United Kingdom at venues including NBC Studios, 92nd Street YMCA, Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, Crotona Park Homeless shelter, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, The Drum Birmingham UK, B.A.M Café and Socrates Sculpture Park and a myriad of community centers and schools from elementary to university, such as NYU and CCNY.
• Over 67% of the students remain in the program for 2 or more seasons (compared to 47% average retention rate for NYC public school’s minority youth). Many of the experienced participants help coach the new participants.
• Our participants win awards. 7 students earned College Board scholarships through songwriting and poetry competitions. 6 of our students won poetry slam competitions at the 92nd Street Y using material they developed while in Urban Art Beat.
• Collaborated with other non-profit organizations such as SCAN, Friends of the Children of New York, The Door, SOAR Nation, R.A.P.P, RDAC, The Bigger than Hip Hop Project, Urban Word, the Boys’ Club of New York, and the NYC Parks Department
• Formed great relationships, through our workshops, with various schools such as: South Bronx Preparatory (a College Board School), M.S 127, Bronx Mathematics Prep, Martin Luther King High School, Chelsea High School, Broome Street Academy, International High School, Ascend Learning Middle School and more.
The most important results of our programs are an increase in knowledge, self-confidence and the ability to collaboratively create a unique vision. Urban Art Beat’s student participants report that the reflective experience is a powerful tool that dramatically increases both their self-awareness and self-esteem. They also describe the collaborative structure as having a major impact on their peer-to-peer communication skills. The anecdotal evidence, self-reported through surveys by the Urban Art Beat community members, is not the only indication of the program’s evolving efficacy. The attendance patterns that emerge in our early statistical collection mirror the students’ statements that participation in UAB programming improves the frequency of their school attendance, their involvement in other extracurricular activities, and their ability to engage positively within the classroom.
•Participants report an increased sense of community with fellow classmates, volunteers, and the teaching artists that serve as mentors
•Participants are more likely to increase their civic engagement, whether at school or in the community, and feel that their voice has a role in creating change
THE STORY Our central program, From the Block, Out the Box launched its first season in the spring of 2006. The 8-week after school Hip-Hop workshop at South Bronx Prep (a 6th – 12th grade school) culminated in two performances, one for the middle school and one for friends and family at Carlito’s Poets Café in Harlem. Local emcees guided 20 sixth and seventh graders through the creative and technical process of songwriting. Working in teams, (one mentor to three or four students) the mentors collaborated with students to create an original song. Our student/emcees learned song structure, delivery and performance. Students wrote songs around the theme of Change…change in their lives as they begin adolescence, change that they would like to see in the music they listen too, as well as change they hope will come to the neighborhoods they live in.
In the fall of 2006, UAB expanded the workshop to include high school students. The volunteer mentor base doubled! The second season of From the Block, Out the Box focused on the theme of Choice. Students wrote about the negative and positive consequences associated with the choices that they make. The final shows, both at the school and at The Bruckner, were highly energized as the middle school students, high school students, and mentors, all shared the stage.
In the spring of 2007 we expanded our program once again. Thanks to very generous equipment donations, we built a small recording booth in the music room at South Bronx Prep. In order to support our participants academically we provided incentives for students to perform well in school. Students that improved in their studies were invited to join us on fieldtrips and had the privilege of recording their own original song.
The theme for Season Three was Storytelling. Students studied artists who incorporated storytelling into their songs and then wrote their own. Since Season Three, the students have written about “The Struggle,” and “The Message,” focusing on what they have been through and what they want to tell the world. This past season, season six, they were writing about “Growth,” both personally and socially, a fitting theme considering how much Urban Art Beat has grown!
We are excited as we look toward the future. Since its inception, Urban Art Beat has worked hard to increase our reach, while keeping our programs intimate and effective. We now have a highly reputable fiscal sponsor (www.nyfa.org) and our vendor license, making it possible to easily partner with any school in New York City. In the fall we will be working with freshmen from a Manhattan High School to highlight themes in Global History and English. Teachers, artists, and students will benefit immensly from our well planned cross curricular collaboration!
If you would like to get involved, or if you are a teacher or principal who is interested in having our program at your school, please contact Rosaleen Knoepfel at email@example.com
We are currently looking for additional mentors, skilled in various urban arts, as well as assistance with our curriculum development, public relations and fundraising efforts. If you are looking for a way to enrich your life and others, JOIN US!
Our work is essential to the development of healthy and productive student-artists and instills in them the value of creative collaboration. Every workshop the students attend means time off the streets, away from the T.V. or video games. None of this would be possible without volunteer artists.
Our talented mentors are what keep Urban Art Beat going, each bringing their own expertise on the elements of hip-hop, music and performance. The mentors also create a safe, reliable, and creatively challenging environment that students may not be able to find elsewhere.