ArtsWestchester’s ArtsMobile: Bringing the Arts to a Neighborhood Near You

Children from the Lakeview Apartments in White Plains help to cut the ribbon on the new ArtsMobile along with sponsors and supporters including, left to right, White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach; Janet T. Langsam, CEO, ArtsWestchester; Mack Carter, Executive Director, White Plains Housing Authority; Shari Rosen Ascher, Advocacy and Community Liaison, Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s Office; Dawn French, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Community Outreach, White Plains Hospital and ArtsMobile Sponsor; Miguel Cossio, artist from New Rochelle; Jane Solnick, Director, Westchester Regional & Community Affairs, Con Edison and ArtsMobile Sponsor; and Nicholas Wolff, White Plains Housing Authority Board Member.

ArtsWestchester, with major support from White Plains Hospital and Con Edison, today announced the launch of the ArtsMobile in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester’s new ArtsMobile, a colorful van custom-fit with all kinds of art supplies, will bring free arts programming to children and audiences of all ages outside the traditional classroom or studio setting.

ArtsWestchester CEO Janet T. Langsam explains, “The ArtsMobile is an entirely new concept for us – one that allows us to bring creative, collaborative arts activities to Westchester youth and their families, where they live. It is also an extension of our 35-year commitment to arts education currently bringing art-making workshops to schools and after-school programs.”  Langsam continues, “Our partnership with White Plains Hospital and Con Edison recognizes that art-making is a healthy pursuit and one that enlivens our communities.”

The ArtsMobile will allow professional teaching artists, including Barry Mason, Miguel Cossio and Vicky Youngman, to bring hands-on art workshops designed to spark imaginations and encourage creative expression into neighborhoods providing arts activities to those who have little or no access to the arts.

From April through October, the ArtsMobile will be scheduled to take its artists and mobile arts programming to White Plains Housing Authority sites, Westchester festivals, neighborhood parks and community events. Workshops, that will take place outdoors, around the vehicle, will include, but are not limited to: print-making, ceramics, painting, botanical drawing, landscape drawing, and mask-making.

 Dawn French, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Community Outreach for White Plains Hospital explains, “More and more research supports the fact that engagement in arts activities and creative expression enhances healing, coping and promotes overall well-being.  In fact, in a study published by the NIH titled The Connection Between Art, Healing and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature, the authors conclude that engagement with creative activities has the potential to contribute toward reducing stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the burden of chronic disease.”   French adds, “Integrating art into community settings is a meaningful way to engage our neighbors around wellness strategies that they can employ to enhance health and overall quality of life.”

Jane Solnick, Director, Westchester Regional & Community Affairs of Con Edison and an ArtsMobile sponsor says, “Early exposure to the arts has been found to play a positive role in academic performance and measurable success later in life.  The arts, much like the sciences, certainly help inspire the creative thinkers and innovators of tomorrow.”  Solnick continues, “Con Edison is proud to be a partner on this innovative mobile arts program that brings art into the diverse neighborhoods of Westchester County.”

While many believe that engagement in the arts helps kids and adults to think “out of the box,” according to an Americans for the Arts survey, 63 percent of the population also believes the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experience,” and 73 percent say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”

ArtsMobile teaching artists will encourage participants in the creation of hand-made objects, drawings, prints and paintings, nurturing each person’s capacity to express themselves and to create meaningful and beautiful works of art for themselves and for their families.

Mack Carter, Executive Director of the White Plains Housing Authority says, “There’s no doubt, that adding art into a community makes things better.  With our recent focus on restructuring public housing, we wanted the arts to play a fundamental role in enlivening the culture of our community.  We’ve worked with ArtsWestchester to install two vibrant murals in our newly- renovated Prelude building.  The next logical step seemed to be to bring the energy and inspiration of hands-on arts experiences directly to our residents who can benefit most from the arts.”

County Executive George Latimer explains, “The arts are important to the Westchester way of life. As a longtime partner to ArtsWestchester, it’s critical that we continue to work together to make arts opportunities accessible to every County resident. The ArtsMobile goes a long way in helping us reach that goal.”

ArtsWestchester CEO Janet T. Langsam explains, “The arts bring us joy, they allow us to imagine and to dream; they give us voice and they create spaces for us to connect with other people. Thanks to the generous support of our partners, our new ArtsMobile will be able to share the many benefits the arts offer to communities throughout Westchester County.”

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