Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Across The Board Project:

"Across The Board Project" or "ATBproject" for short, is a collaboration between Voices Of New York and “Across The Board: Artists For Autism Awareness,” a charity event for Autism Speaks, joining forces to develop a special multimedia project to empower youth and educate people about Autism.

In this program, VONYkids work with Kids Dream
in Color Teaching Artist, Lichiban to collaborate with Special needs Art therapist Lina Claire Meza Murrillo and children under the spectrum of Autism, to paint and design their own skateboards for the ATB charity event, set for August 28th, 2010 at the Soapstone Gallery in midtown NYC. The process itself was documented by our Dare 2 Dream Project junior film makers, whose assignment was to produce a short documentary on Autism Awareness. The entire video is youth made from the shooting, editing, to the music production.

The final D2D short film will be officially premiered at the ATB Charity event. It will also be streamed online as a viral campaign to raise awareness on Autism and will also be featured on various sites. In addition, the kids will use the film to enter into several youth media contests for a chance to win and get recognition for their hard work.

Our junior photog
rapher Saya Baker 9 years old, who took part in the VONY mixed media project, provides pictures of this amazing Skateboard designing project that took place at the 14 Street Y on June 19th 2010. (Special thanks to them for providing us all with a space to work.)

Please join us at, Across The Board: Artists For Autism Awareness,” a charity event for Autism Speaks set for Saturday, August 28th 2010 Doors open at 7pm! Come support Youth Art and check out an amazing film by our VONYkids!

Invite Link for info: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=145550928807936

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

VONY's APTsessions

APTsessions is an underground event showcasing the talented players of the underground music and art scene in New York City. The events are held in unconventional event spaces - actual apartments, lofts, art galleries - in order to remove any pretentious attitudes and focus on the actual experiences of an intimate showcase. The goal is to create an environment where people can mix, mingle, network, and engage with like minded individuals and get to know the artists that make up the underground music and art scene.

VONY's APT sessions will be featuring My M.O. and hosted by no other than Thee Laura Dee and guest co-host Johnny Voltik! It will be held at Lotus Temple of Visions - 60 Summit Street Red Hook, NY. !!!!FREE EVENT!!!!

Come join us Sunday, AUGUST 1ST 2010, for an unforgettable music experience, featuring the screening of the new music video of My M.O.'s new single "Monkey" followed by an acoustic set. Doors open at 5pm and show starts at 8pm! This APTsessions will be family/kid friendly, so don't hesitate to come out if you can't get a babysitter. We will have food, drinks, goodies, great music DJ set by Extraction Jackson and special surprise guests attending! Make sure to come out and share your positive vibes with us! See you there!

And don't get forget to visit our MySpace to learn how you can get to know My M.O. better.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My M.O. Madness : V.O.N.Y.A.R.T.I.S.T.S.P.O.T.L.I.G.H.T.

Do you know Katy Walker, Dion McKenzie, and Erika Buestami? Well you should. They are the three talented artist/songwriters that make up the band My M.O. VONY’s ARTISTSPOTLIGHT Feature, My M.O. is a band with explosive rhythms and catchy sounds that leave you wanting to hear more. VONY would like you to get to know them just like we do and soon everyone will too at our special APTsessions coming soon this summer. Erika is a stylish southeast Asian EmCee and singer from Australia, that handles lead vocals and bass. Katy is a red-haired eclectic DJ from Texas who plays keys and does production and vocals. Dion is a Jamaican born rocker, that shreds guitar and sings back-up vocals. This band has hit NYC by storm! They are quickly booking shows through out the indie music scene, playing locally in Brooklyn and Manhattan. My M.O. has created a friendly buzz, keeping audiences intrigued for more! Want to know more? Take a look at our interview with them...

Interview with My M.O.

*VONY: Can you identify your band members and explain, how did you three meet, and how long have you been working together?*

Katy Walker, keys vocals, production
Erika Buestami, lead vocals, bass
Dion Mckenzie vocals, guitar

KW: I met Dion thru a friend a few years back and we began writing What I Want and also other songs that I had previously written with some other song writers. My DJ partner introduced me to Erika bc I was looking for an engineer to mix the trax and turns out she was a vocalist and an all around awesome person. Erika moved into Dion's neighborhood and the rest is history.

DM: Yea, I was introduced to Erika through Katy, which was quite the experience. Didn't know what to make of her at first. She was quite peculiar, did a whole bunch of impersonations which were outright hysterical! I'm a bit more quiet and reserved when I meet people for the first time, so I was just observing her and I was intrigued and I wanted to know more. Erika has that magical effect.

*VONY: What's it like working with each other and how does your diverse background affect it?*

KW: We have a great synergy and an intensity that makes it exciting for the band's live show to get tight so the music gets out to the world. Its a very passionate collaboration and crazy fun to work together. For example, I've always had a fascination with Jamaica and the music from there so Dion being Jamaican, her life story and how both her and Erika got here from other countries, I came from Austin to New York City for music, we met miraculously, it is totally inspiring to me and truly meant to be.

DM: Aww, thanks Katy.

*VONY: "Modus operandi" or "Method of Operation" means a person's way of doing things or their style. What is your M.O. and why was it chosen as the band's name?*

KW: Well music is our mo, guess that’s kind of our tagline. It was chosen because music is the platform for expression. When I came up with the name, I was thinking even though music doesn't make money and the industry has changed so dramatically it is an incredibly influential part of our world and a major platform for all that I do business wise too. I-phone apps, websites, films, whatever, its a spring board. Here's a great quote from an 19th century author who was a woman that wrote under a mans name.

“I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs, and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.” –George Elliot

*VONY: You guys have a define style. Does anybody help you with your fashion looks?*

KW: Dion and Erika have an incredibly unique sense of style and aesthetic, we actually all have a similar sense of aesthetic and fairly different style though I think since Dion and I are both athletes we have this kind of sporty hip look and Erika is more exotic and pulls from a bunch of different cultures for her style choices. Yes we do have someone who has helped with our style, he has helped me try to wear things that are a bit more sexy and flattering to my figure etc because I tend to get wrapped up in the music and forget about the presentation.

*VONY: Your lyrics are quite catchy who writes the songs and what are the common themes of your songs?*

KW: We all contribute to different things on the songs. Bonfire we all worked together on the lyrics. I do all the beats and work with another producer sometimes on the tracks. The actual music are chord progressions I dream up and that Dion and i work together on. Now we come up with stuff live as a band and I'm looking forward to recording them into Logic and working with everyone on them. The themes are really hard to pin down, but its just about being an independent woman, the ups and downs of the soul mate search, breaking the mold and also having a good time.

*VONY: What do you want people to take away, when they listen to your music?*

KW: We are heartfelt artists that use music as a platform to move you, both physically and emotionally. Its not about how great we are and how we look and all that shit, its about making music that makes you think and feel sexy or sad or even motivated to create your place in the world. We love life, self-expression, and making music so we hope we inspire our fans to do the same.

*VONY: What's your advice to any youth thinking of pursuing music?*

KW: Music is self expression, you can find yourself in your art form so pursue it with all your heart but don't covet it, its a journey. But remember it takes time and patience. Study theory and understand how you can write music but that does not mean you have to stick with the mainstream format. The tighter you are technically but at the same time the more original your ideas, the more influential your music will be. Also music is a platform to do other things, master it first and it will open so many doors for you.

*VONY: I saw on your MySpace page that Prince and Micheal Jackson were some of your influences, how much of their style has influenced your music. What's your favorite song by either one?*

KW: Prince "I would die for you" and "Controversy" is one of my favorites. I love the fact that he was so heartfelt and such a great musician but wrote pop music. He messed with your head, the lyrics: is he gay or is he straight? is he black or is he white? He forced people to deal with uncomfortable subject matters like mixing races and even bisexuality while making hit records. He's a huge influence for me, how he crossed over pop into black music, and rock with crazy synths and beats, he just made totally classic, timeless music.

*VONY: A lot of people are concerned with what the Disney channel is portraying to our youth. Last month Miley Cyrus performed on dancing with the stars and it caused alot of controversy. She has been accused of wearing cleavage-baring corsets, grinding with dancers, pretending to make-out on stage, and she was even been busted for dirty dancing with her "The Last Song" director Adam Shankman. Do you think the press is attacking Miley Cyrus or should she really tone down her act?*

KW: Yes I think sex is something to be played with subtly. I also think she is a pop star that does not write her songs and is not a true artist so she is part of this totally different type of machine. Prince messed with sex a lot, but it was part of his persona, it worked for him. It doesn't work for her, a lot of artists try things that don't work for their careers and then they suffer the consequences. I think a lot about how much sex we put in the music, but we are also writing sophisticated songs for adults not for teeny boppers so we have a license to do whatever we want. But we are also women and we can only use our sexuality so much before people stop taking us seriously. Its a fine line.

*VONY: How far along are you guys in the process of making your debut album?*

KW: Its pretty much done but we are focusing on the EP first and will try to wrap all the small details on the songs by September. I want to release it in October so the momentum keeps up but some people say we should wait until January of next year. We'll see what happens.

*VONY: What can people expect to come from My M.O. in the near future?*

A really great live show, hopefully tours outside the US. We are hoping to do a nice show for SXSW in Austin, my home town. The music videos are definitely working out for us, we have a very talented network of people collaborating with us. Bonfire is looking out to be the title track to the debut album now, so look out for a crazy music video for that.

*VONY: Art is ...(Complete the sentence)*

Art is life. Life is Art.

If you want to hear more visit our MySpace ArtistSpotlight page where you can listen to their newest single "Monkey" and find links to their music downloads! VONY Always brings you the Artist's You should Know about!

Contributing Blogger: Jenna Adovasio ~VONYintern

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kids Dream In Color

"Kids Dream in Color" an intensive workshop series with Visual Artist and Youth Mentor Lichiban.

"Kids Dream in Color," or KDIC for short, is a part of VONY's Creative Expression Workshop series which is designed to expose students ages 8-14 to the arts and to develop their imagination skills and use it as a tool to develop communication skills and confidence in expressing ideas and feelings. Classes are intended to be fun and to encourage positive attitudes, team building and self-expression.

A view of a workshop is shown below:

"The Empire State Building of the Future"

This short documentary of a KDIC workshop chronicles a group of young students participating in a program that gave them the task of re-imagining the iconic Empire State building. The film follows the young artists as they visit the structure for inspiration, are guided in a visualization process, and mentored by professional artists to finally bring their creation to life. In creating their own versions of the building, they incorporated information they learned about environmental design, but most importantly, they included elements of themselves in a revealing way. The kids finally present their work on the final day, closing the chapter- but not the book, on a very fun and unique artistic experience. Interviews with the children, mentors, and parents provide the unique perspectives of each of those involved and affected by the program. It enabled the exploration of the capabilities of the kids' imagination and showed how they applied it to the task while staying interactive and having fun.

This workshop, keeping up with KDIC's goal of creative expression, offers but a glimpse of the kinds of project, kids will undertake in this program and the effects it can bring to their thinking and work.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

VONY still moving, Thanks to ALL

Peace and greetings to all VONY members and supporters,

I am happy to say that VONY is going strong and growing everyday. We are happy to have the network of parents, artists, educators and activists involved in the VONY mission, to empower youth and ignite community involvement to help communities socially progress. We have come a long way as a collective pushing this movement, and now, as a non-profit we hope to offer regular services and programs to communities. Hoping to enhance our level of awareness as a whole and unite people to "help each other, help the growing minds of today". ~VONY

Below you will find an updated version of our current and future projects coming soon. We are thankful for the consistent support from each and everyone of you, and a big thanks to the VONYteam that keeps the wheels turning. We look forward to seeing more of your kids in our programs/workshops and intermingling in near future events. All inquiries, please feel free contact us at the provided info below.

VOICES OF NEW YORK: "help us help the growing minds of today"

About Voices of New York
Voices of New York's mission is to provide mentors and youth media/arts programs that promote positive critical thinking skills and confidence through creative expression to youth in underserved communities, as well as to offer services and educational resources to parents and educators who seek to improve communication and interaction with their youth. In addition to these programs and services, the organization will produce events promoting community engagement and raising social awareness.

About VONYworks (Youth Programming Department: "help us help the growing minds of today")

Voices of New York provides unique progressive programs and services that heighten creativity and social awareness among our youth. The department's goal is to use 21st century learning models to develop a dynamic curriculum designed to create new content for youth, by youth. Using project based learning activities, participants will enhance their critical thinking skills and become more empowered to affect social change among their communities.

About "Kids Dream in Color"

"Kids Dream in Color" an intensive workshop series with Visual Artist, Arts advocate and Youth Mentor Lichiban.
"Kids Dream in Color" is a part of VONY's Creative Expression Workshop series which is designed to expose young people to the arts and use it as a tool to develop communication skills and confidence in expressing ideas and feelings. Classes are intended to encourage positive attitude and empower their minds to think critically, while allowing their creative talents to shine.

About Dare to Dream Project
Dare to Dream Project is a dynamic annual media arts initiative for New York City youth. Starting in January and going through June, young adults will receive hands-on professional and artistic training, culminating in a special screening of their films and multimedia projects. Program participants will be asked to make a commitment to an intensive curriculum that vigorously improves their media literacy skills and engages them with their community

About WAF (Woman's Awakening Forum)

A quarterly gathering of sisters who are entrepreneurs, artists, parents, and educators to discuss issues related to their community, especially youth. Attendees empower and motivate each other to accomplish shared goals and live up to their role model status. We believe "it takes a village to raise a child," so we use these gatherings to help our communities rise and use our natural talents to offer inspiration to each other.

About VONYspeak Youth Media/Arts Conference
An annual youth media/arts conference designed to offer an opportunity for parents, artists, and educators to receive professional development through workshops and panel discussions, in addition to viewing professional and youth made film screenings, art exhibits, and a keynote speaker presentation. The conference is focused on the exploration of new learning models, time management, arts in education, and the sharing of valuable resources specifically for those engaged in the empowerment of youth. Together learning how we can improve programs and techniques that will keep our youth engaged and stimulate their creative needs.

Company Overview

Voices of New York was founded by Suzanna Ali-O the Creative Director of the organization. She is a youth and community activist and hopes to use the creative arts and multimedia outlets to empower youth and enhance positive critical thinking for positive lifestyles and a future of healthier communities. Servicing parents, teaching artists and educators as well, with an Annual VONYspeaks Youth Media/Arts Conference, workshops, products, and listings of educational resources for their use in order to improve communication and interaction with youth.

Workshops coming soon:
* Writing development and Spoken Word Performance Workshop: Program Mentor, Suzen Baraka
* Focusing on The Future: YWAF: Young Woman's Awakening Forum: Program Mentor, Nikki Ntu

Contact info: (917) 405-5542 voicesofnewyork@gmail.com