In an earlier post, I mentioned that I was working on a project, which will be displayed at Smack Mellon on May 22nd, with my mentor Phillip Shung as well as two other Art Ready students, Maat and Tania. In mid-March we decided that our piece would consist of a magazine as well as a photo spread, involving different aspects of Brooklyn life. Recently we decided that our final piece would include a video section. The interviews that each of us are conducting will be documented on film.
As I mentioned in the earlier post, my piece will be the musical portion. Mainly it will revolve around my friends’ band, Any Given Weekday. They were born and raised in Brooklyn so they fit into the theme. I met Any Given Weekday at the Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice because we all attend school there. In April 2012, they performed together for the first time and because of their chemistry, they continued creating music as a group. When I interviewed them, I asked them questions pertaining to the current state as well as the future state of the group. Footage from their practices will also be included in my part of our presentation. I want the viewers of this video to see the ambition this group possesses and why people should support Any Given Weekday, based on the effort the band puts into their practice sessions and performances.
During one of our weekly Art Ready meet-ups, Tania mentioned that she wanted to be an art therapist. With that information, Phill pulled a few strings and set up an interview between Tania and an art therapist from Brooklyn named Jessie Zapo for May 1st. Tania interviewed Zapo at her current office location, which is in lower Manhattan until September. Tania asked Zapo questions regarding her career from the beginning until now. It turns out Zapo is an Art Therapist for teenagers. She encourages her patients to express themselves through art if they cannot do it verbally.
Often Phill asks us about our plans for the next week until we meet again on Wednesdays and Maat’s response is usually the same. Maat attends a program at the Schomburg Center, a research library of the New York Public Library for black culture, every Saturday. Originally Phill thought it would a great idea for Maat to do her piece on Weeksville, a neighborhood founded by African American freemen in the 1840s, since she learned about it at the Schomburg Center and she lives not to far from it. Because Weeksville closes at 4pm, it would be impossible for any of us, including Maat, to visit Weeksville on a Wednesday because of the times we are dismissed from school. Phill decided that Maat would instead interview an illustration artist that lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn on May 10th.
During our meeting on April 24th, we decided on the name of our magazine. It would be called Brooklyn, but it would not be spelled that way. Phill thought it would be creative to title the magazine BKLN. It was an abbreviation for Brooklyn, but it seemed more creative to drop the “Y.” We all decided that having a picture that we took be the cover would not be creative enough for the magazine. I decided that we should have a former Smack Mellon student, Madjeen Isaacs, create the cover because I knew she could draw very well. She will be drawing a cover that symbolizes the change that is occurring in Brooklyn.
Being that the magazine would be based on Brooklyn, Phill also thought that we should incorporate the thoughts that people have about how Brooklyn has changed. He suggested that I speak to one of the band members, Zane Durham, about writing a piece on how Franklin Avenue has changed. Phill’s office is close to Franklin Avenue and Zane happens to live on Franklin.
I don’t want to give too much away but to learn more about these artists from Brooklyn, visit the upcoming Art Ready final exhibition on May 22nd at Smack Mellon and see our magazine and documentary.
Post by Dennis Metoyer, Exploring the Arts high school intern