Hi to all!
My first interaction with ARTS By The People and its Director, Paul Rabinowitz, was through my professor, Maxine Steinman. It was a pretty comfortable way of slowly slipping into the organization without even noticing. The comfortability came from the art I was sharing and the people I was sharing it with. It was as comfortable as home (home being dance for me). Intertwined with that comfortability was sparks of new challenges and changes. We have invited other artists to join us in showing the world our homes. Animators, dancers and poets trusting each other to respect each others rooms, but also adding an inviting atmosphere so all could sit, imagine and enjoy. What was once a single home turned into a multi-bedroom condo.
Continuing with the organization, I brought my traveling home to many different Senior Living Facilities and participated in Stories in Motion (an hour spent sharing stories from the past and bringing them to life with poetry and movement). Home was now flourished with flowers that honored the memories and picture frames that cherished each story.
Dance is what I do. It’s my format of art. My voice and expression. But Paul didn’t think that was all. I mentioned to him how I created my own music score for an upcoming performance. That sparked an interest and he immediately offered me an opportunity to teach a short music program with youth at the Neighborhood House in Morristown, NJ.
Once again, dance is my home. Music has small closet rooms.
Paul offered me an opportunity to expand that room and knowledge, knowing that this was not an area of expertise for me. I decided to call for help and bring in other artists who were willing to share their skills. From percussionists to saxophone players, the beginning was a surprisingly satisfying success. Who would've known that I would be able to put together and build a program with my own vision and ideas of how it would happen? Paul knew! He seems to always find new gems in people. He saw the music within.
The music within encouraged me to find a bigger room for this new passion. Paul witnessed my new found knowledge and encouraged me to do a summer music workshop at the Neighborhood House. This time, I’d be using my inspiration and bringing in a new light of information to their home. I was able to intertwine my home with dance and music. We brought in guest artists from India and Los Angeles to share and teach the students their skills. Sharing new cultures and sounds with the students was the final goal, removing them from what was comfortable and allowing them to explore new homes and travel to new worlds.
Music is an art that can easily be found within the homes of other art forms, whether through influence or collaboration. It is a force that will always continue to inspire and expand. I wanted to share that new truth to the students. Have them start blueprinting their own homes and invite the world to sit, imagine and enjoy.
Special recognitions to: Ms. Smitha, Devonn Bruce, Jared Ansel, Chris White III, Glen Fittin, and Mykel “Simba” Scott. I would not be able to expand my home without you all!
Thank you to the 5th and 6th graders of the Neighborhood House for being so open an excited to travel each day!
Marsha Guirlande Pierre