In 2015, The Equal Education Initiative (TEEI) was awarded the Brownsville Change Maker Distinction by the Brownsville NYCHA community, for its innovative approach of using art to ignite the imagination and potential of our children.
We believe that every child is born with will-to-power, but somewhere or somehow, someone or something has to ignite that switch. There is no greater knowing, then when it comes from within. If there is anything about the individual that they can claim as distinctively their own, it is their imagination. Within reason, if you can believe it, you can achieve it—or at least try. In order to try, to take a chance, you need self-confidence. If there is any singular goal of this program it is to nurture the level self-confidence in our children.
From a developmental perspective, we are said to be reconciling our adolescent experiences for the rest of our lives. At each stage of development, we compare and contrast to earlier experiences. Our goal is to provide positive and fruitful creative experiences for children so that as they grow, they will always know that they are capable of creating and doing great things.
As our program and funding grows, The Equal Education Initiative (T.E.E.I) classes will grow beyond drawing and sculpture to include many other forms of art and creative practices, such as performance, writing, film and photography.
Combining contemporary theories of sculpture, drawing, language, and process-based work strengthens students’ abilities to think independently and form concrete thought about any given material, medium, situation, or atmosphere. Students develop the confidence to adjust and rethink their concepts to find the strongest qualities of their own and others’ creative work. They develop habits of inquiry which lead to a self-educative approach to life.
Each 90-minute class is focused on a particular assignment, or process, starting with an introduction to a medium, movement, or the work of an accomplished artist. After the introduction the students develop and execute a hands-on project based on the new information brought to them. Through this process, the end of each class results in finished work, ranging from a single drawing, a series of drawings, a poem, a sculpture, or even a performance piece. Students are required to contemplate and critique their work and their peers’ work with the end goal of curating an exhibition to take place at the conclusion of the five to seven-week semester. The program also provides critical immersion and exposure components including museum visits, as well as learning the process of curatorial and exhibition process, concluding with a one-night exhibition of their work at our gallery space, AOT Project Salon in Brooklyn, New York. Classes also may be customized to culminate in a public art display or a cooperative mural, depending upon the availability of public wall space.
NYCHA Langston Hughes Houses Mural created by 2015 T.E.E.I. Students, funded by Community Solutions and The Brownsville Partnership
An AOT Project Salon Solution
AOT Project Salon is a gallery space, and creative think tank. The salon is membership-driven and serves as an opportunity to provide exposure and resources for artists, as well as put ideas into action. We harness the creative capital of artists and invest our resources in Brooklyn communities in need.