While education programs are perhaps one of the less familiar elements of The Kitchen’s work, they are of great institutional importance. With a focus on our in-school program at Liberty High School in Chelsea; the Lunchbreak Performance Series; project specific arts-based workshops at The Hudson Guild Community Center, and a bi-annual neighborhood block party, we are able to reach an intergenerational audience of thousands.
In-Classroom Workshops at Liberty High School
At the core of our education activities is our long-standing in-school and after-school programs at Liberty High School, located in Chelsea. While the program provides a range of benefits to students, the overarching goal of the in-school workshops is to: increase writing and verbal language skills; provide a safe, nurturing environment where students can express themselves and build confidence; foster respect cross-culturally and finally, to offer young people, often for the very first time, experiences with live performance, experimental theater, music, dance and other interdisciplinary genres.
Photos: Jess Dang
The Lunchbreak Performance Series is The Kitchen’s longest running education program and has introduced thousands of school students to their first performing arts experience. The program offers a series of free afternoon performances, each of which is followed by a question and answer session with the participating artists. The artists also occasionally visit the students in school for additional discussions and performances.
Arts Workshops with The Hudson Guild
Each summer, The Kitchen sponsors an intensive summer arts workshop for the youth of the Hudson Guild. Located in the nearby Chelsea Elliott public housing projects, The Hudson Guild is a social services and community organization that was founded in the late 19th century as part of the settlement house movement. The Kitchen’s workshops follow the model that we have successfully developed for Liberty High School, helping to strengthen the arts element of the Guild’s programming, which until now, has been underrepresented.
The Kitchen Block Party
The Kitchen Block Party is a family-friendly, free neighborhood street fair that brings together a broad constituency of 5,000+ West Chelsea residents for a community-wide celebration. An eight-year old tradition, this Kitchen-organized bi-annual festival features live music and dance performances alongside a slew of fun-filled activities for people of all ages. For the afternoon event, 19th Street between 10th and 11th avenues becomes a pedestrian thoroughfare lined with more than twenty, artist-led booths--such as face painting, mask and puppet making, fortune telling, hula hoop lessons, unusual photo-booth opportunities, and the like--all of which are imaginatively re-interpreted by professional artists and are FREE to the public. The bi-annual event has grown into a true back-to-school fall highlight for our neighborhood, showcasing the creativity, vitality, and diversity of West Chelsea.
Photos: Ray Llanos