New Victory Arts Break: Connect to nicHi douglas

What do you see in the world? Last week, we developed creative characters through movement, and this week we’ll look at the places we live to help shape the stories we share. We may soon see that wherever we look, there’s joy to be found!

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New Victory Arts Break: Connect to nicHi douglas

Ode to the Little Things

There are little things all around us that spark joy if we just know where to look. nicHi douglas has shared how putting puzzles together or going on a walk offers her some quiet time and allows her creativity to make some noise!

Making art is such a special way to celebrate and honor what makes us happy, and doing the things that make us happy inspires us to create more art. Now that’s a practice made perfect! Follow along with New Victory Teaching Artist Ana Cantorán Viramontes as she teaches us a way to create an ode to the little things that make us happy.

For Ana, a physical theater artist, creating a movement piece was true to her artistry. To do what Ana did, say your happy word many times in different ways and move when you say it! Decide on your favorite movement and expression of the word, and once you can remember and repeat the movement, take the words away. Do this for several words and put them together to make a full movement piece!

But maybe your artistry is different from Ana’s. There are lots of ways you can recreate these steps in different art forms to make the ode that feels true to you. Inspired by Ana’s process, see what it’s like to create a piece of visual art dedicated to what makes us happy. Let’s get started!

Materials: Paper, colored pencils, crayons or markers

Step One: Grab your New Victory Notebook and list some of the things that make you happy!

A handwritten list of things that make someone happy

Step Two: Pick one of the words (or items) from your happy word list. Pick out a color or set of colors that reminds you of that word. Write that word really big in the center of the page.

Step Three: Now draw images in and around the word expressing why this particular word makes you happy.

A drawing of the word

What other ways can you celebrate the little things? Keep finding ways to appreciate the moments, activities and small joys that make a difference in your life.

Hometown Homies

Who is your hometown? nicHi douglas is inspired by the histories and characters that reflect a neighborhood. In your own community, look at the people in it and the events that characterize it. What do those things say about your town’s personality? Let’s give some love to our hometowns by imagining them as characters—think of all the wonderful stories they can tell!

Step One: Think of your hometown and write down its name at the top of one of the pages in your New Victory Notebook.

Step Two: What is your hometown known for? Jot down as many things as you can think of. Famous places? Famous foods? Maybe a mascot? Whatever comes to mind when you think of your hometown should be written down on this page. Here are a few things that come to mind for our hometown of New York City.

A handwritten list of NYC-related items

Step Three: On a new page in your New Victory Notebook, start sketching out what your hometown would look like as a single character. We imagined New York as a superhero made out of all the things we love about it!

A drawing of a superhero made out of NYC-inspired items

Step Four: Now, it’s time to think about how this character acts, talks and walks. What do they love to do? What is it like to have a conversation with them? Have a friend or family member ask you the following questions while you answer them in character as your hometown homie!

  • What is your name?
  • Where do you live?
  • What is your favorite thing to do for fun?
  • What makes you angry?
  • Who is your best friend? What do you like to do together?
  • When you are really happy, what do you do to celebrate?

Have any other favorite locations? Maybe a friend’s neighborhood, where your parents come from or a vacation spot could offer some inspiration. Create as many super character creations as you can!

Youth Corps Spotlight

At the end of every New Victory Arts Break, we spend some time with a member of the New 42 Youth Corps who has a connection to one of the art forms, themes or artistic processes showcased over the previous weeks. This week, we revisit a few of our past Youth Corps Spotlight members as they use their favorite art forms to create tributes to their neighborhoods.

Each Youth Corps Member was tasked to go out into their community and take some photos of their favorite things. Then, inspired by those photos, they created a work of art to share with us! Let’s see what Keanna, Aleks and Amy have to say about their hometowns.

Keanna Peña

Images of Youth Corps Member Keanna's neighborhood

Keanna created a poem based on photos she captured all over New York City, taking us on a journey with her words!

“My Favorite Place”
by Keanna Peña

Take the J to Broadway
hop on the L
get off at Bedford

Walk down the street
see the door of stickers
the corner graffiti with art
the benches imprinted with words

Get back on the L
take the N,Q,R, or W
and get a glimpse of the lights
the screens
the moving pictures

Or take the ferry
enjoy the wind blowing on your face
stay until dark
and look at the lights that surround you

isn’t it beautiful?

This is the city
this is my home
my favorite place

Aleks Kwiecen

Images from Youth Corps Member Aleks' neighborhood

Aleks found a very visual way to showcase the fabric of her community—through needlepoint!

Youth Corps Member Aleks' needlepoint

Amy Castanos
Art and Play

Images from Amy's neighborhood

Amy found a way to use the photos she took to create a fun game. Give it a try with your own photos!

Step One: Go out into your neighborhood and snap four or more photos.

Step Two: Using those photos, see if you can get someone to guess what part of your neighborhood you captured. Feel free to use sounds or movement. Get creative! Make it as easy or challenging as you want.

Step Three: Once you have gone through the photos, have someone else guess which of your photos they are describing through movement and sound.

We hope you’ve had fun learning more about the artists of New Victory LabWorks. If you want to see these artists at work, come visit them at Little Island this summer! For the park’s inaugural season, New Victory will provide family-friendly performing arts experiences and interactive engagement opportunities, including an exclusive series of New Victory LabWorks Open Rehearsals on select Sundays.

Learn more about New Victory at Little Island!

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New Victory LabWorks Supporters

New Victory LabWorks is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by grants from the Madeleine L’Engle Fund of the Crosswicks Foundation, The Ford Foundation and the Howard Gilman Foundation.