2009-03-27 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

Projected kidsmART Afterschool Budget Cuts - TOTAL ELIMINATION - Urgent Help Needed!!!
Commentary by Marina Callaghan, RAA Education Program Director

After School Instructor Bernard Smith engaging a participant in chess curriculum. After School Instructor Bernard Smith engaging a participant in chess curriculum. Have your children attended the Rockaway Artists Alliance's kidsmART afterschool program - in T-149 in Fort Tilden, at St. Rose of Lima, PS 104 in Bayswater, former MS 180 — during the last 11 years?

Has a member of your family ever worked as an intern, Teen Assistant or Artistic Instructor for kidsmART?

Has a member of your family ever received quality art therapy at kidsmART?

Have you ever attended a kidsmART children's art show, dance recital or drumming session and viewed firsthand the confidence and sheer delight kidsmART kids proudly display?

Are you a community resident interested in the services available to your neighbors?

Are you an artist or musician who understands the value of art education?

Are you planning a family or perhaps have young children and have heard that when your child turns 6 years old there is a nurturing, friendly, inspirational place where children can learn various mediums of art and performance, receive academic assistance, play chess, participate in science experiments, go on nature walks, play kickball, learn digital photography and make lifelong friendships and that place is called kidsmART and it is FREE?

Are you a working parent who needs a safe space for your children to go to receive quality services, from a nurturing and watchful staff?

If any of these things matter to you, please read on. We desperately need your help.

The Rockaway Artists Alliance kidsmART afterschool program, which has provided free afterschool opportunities to the children of the entire Rockaway peninsula and Broad Channel for more than 11 years and meaningful employment to many local residents, is facing the very real prospect of having to close its doors as of June 30, 2009.

As a result of City budget cuts kidsmART's main funding source, the Department of Youth and Community Development has made the difficult decision to totally eliminate all Out-of- School Time, Option II programs. This is the category of funding that kidsmART and the Madison Boys and Girls Club on Beach 40 Street both receive. We are calling on all RAA members and enthusiasts, artists, musicians, residents, parents, educators, teens, children who have participated in our programs and current or former staff members to please write or call the people listed below and tell them not to eliminate Option II funding which provides services to the children of Rockaway via the kidsmART programs sponsored by the Rockaway Artists Alliance.

Commissioner Jeanne Mullgrav 156 Williams St., 6th Floor, N.Y., N.Y., 10038 or send an email to http://www. nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildycd.html

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 224 W 30th St., Suite 1206, N.Y., N.Y. 10001 or send an email to council.nyc.gov scroll to bottom of page, click on contact speaker and fill out form. Call 212 564-7757.

District 31 Councilman James Sanders, 226-18 Merrick Blvd., Laurelton, N.Y., 11413 or send an email to sand ers@council.nyc.gov. Call 718 527- 4356. District 32 Councilman Eric Ulrich Information Pending.

You can send a hard copy letter to the City Council, City Hall, N.Y., N.Y., 10007.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Hall, N.Y., N.Y., 10007 or send an email to http://www.nyc.gov/html/ mail/html/ mayor.html.

Call the Mayor at 311 and register a complaint about these proposed budget cuts.

The threat to the Rockaway Artists Alliance kidsmART programs is very real.

We are facing the complete elimination of our Option II funding, which not only provides services to the hundreds of children and families we serve at our two afterschool sites in T-149, Fort Tilden and also in PS 104 in Bayswater, but it also pays the rent for our office on Beach 116 Street and all administrative salaries and costs. We need everyone's support.

We have been told by DYCD Program Directors that the squeaky wheels will get the oil.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

RAA CONTACT INFO:

Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474- 4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalli ance.org.
Fort Tilden Highlights
"GEOFF'S ART CLASS EXHIBIT," the best and the brightest, will be on through March
29. Gallery hours: Sat. 12-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. sTudio 6, RoCA,
Fort Tilden. Free admission.
PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m.; Thursday mornings, 10
a.m. - 12 noon. sTudio 7, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. $15 per class, supplies included.
Instructor: Geoff Rawling.
FREE THURS. NIGHT MUSIC: Open mic and open stage for performing artists, including
spoken word and comics, and scheduled bands every Thurs. night, sTudio 7 stage.
WINE TASTING: Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m., sTudio 6, Fort Tilden to introduce "Wine and
Dine" exhibit.
NEXT EXHIBITIONS: "Wine and Dine" and "Color Mix of Quilts and Artwork," on view
4-18-09 to 5-17-09, galleries at RoCA, Fort Tilden.
OPENING RECEPTION: April 19, 1-3 p.m., sTudio 6.
NEXT WRITERS GROUP MEETING: Sun., Apr. 19, 4 p.m., sTudio 6.

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