This Week: Urban Arts Educators Featured in The New York Times, The Nation, and Americans for the Arts

Behind our exceptional students is a vibrant and engaged group of teaching artists and program staff, who not only inspire Urban Arts youth daily, but are also respected education reform specialists and acclaimed socially-conscious artists. Members of the UAP team were recently featured in publications The Nation, The New York Times, and the Americans for the Arts Blog Salon.

Talking with Jamel Mims – The Nation

“I work with a program called Fresh Prep, which uses hip hop and youth culture to coach kids [ages 17 to 20] on their Regents exams…We see youth culture as a culture in itself, and we transform what would be otherwise unrelatable and unintelligible content (i.e. Global History Regents Preparation) and package it in the performance style and assessments of that culture. What’s the result? An innovative, student-centered curriculum, where the teacher becomes part MC, spitting lyrics, part DJ, playing rap music filled with historical content, and part game show host, conducting assessments as family feud games and rap battles. Students build confidence as their culture and experiences are welcomed into and lead the classroom, in stark contrast to their normal school day, where youth culture is treated, at best, as a distraction, and something they should check at the door, alongside their cell phones, social media accounts, hats, hoodies and sagging pants.”Fresh Prep Coach and Composer, Jamel Mims
Life’s Unequal Beginnings – The New York Times
“For the past six years I have been photographing birth, looking at its universal as well as cultural aspects, and the struggle to provide women with safe, respectful care. An estimated quarter of a million women die each year from pregnancy-related causes like pre-eclampsia. Though the number of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth is half what it was 20 years ago, most of these deaths could have been prevented.”Staff Developer and Photography Teaching Artist, Alice Proujansky
Universal Preschool: The Science (and Magic) in Preschool for All – Americans for the Arts Blog Salon
“In turn, one would argue to those who would be against universal preschool for financial reasons, the savings to society are seven times what they would be if these children were caught in a cycle of poverty that requires government aid or, frankly, prison costs. We have far more prisoners than preschoolers, more prisoners than anyone else in the world, and that plays a part in our national conversation about early education.”Program Manager, Kaya Chwals


Click here to read The Nation’s full interview with Jamel.
Click here to see Alice’s work in The New York Times.
Click here to read Kaya’s full post on the Americans for the Arts Blog Salon.