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Connecting through the arts in NYC - Williamsburg artist Noah Jemisin receives honor from public school program

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A Williamsburg artist is lending his expertise to public school students.

Noah Jemisin, an award-winning painter, has spent the last 20 years as a teaching artist with the support of ArtsConnection, a not-for-profit organization supporting art instruction in public schools.

For his efforts, Jemisin has received a Janklow Award from ArtsConnection.

“I love teaching. I love working with kids,” Jemisin said.

Jemisin, a former professor in the City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) systems, began working in public schools when arts education was under fire in New York City.

“ArtsConnec­tion was just perfect for me in the ‘80s when they were talking about taking the arts out of the schools. I couldn’t bear that because I had two teachers – an elementary and a high school teacher – who had been very inspiratio­nal,” Jemisin explained. “The idea of taking the arts and athletics out of schools didn’t feel right considering it was a lifeline for me when I was a student.”

Through his partnership with ArtsConnection, Jemisin has worked as a teaching artist in schools throughout the city, including M.S. 88 and the John Jay Campus in Park Slope.

Jemisin, whose work is in collections at the Smithsonian and Metropolitan Museum of Art, says his mission is to provide students with a vibrant arts education, especially since the city Department of Education (DOE) currently maintains a strong focus on standardized testing and core academic subjects.

“Instead of taking arts out of school, they need to put more because the kids are starving for them,” he said.

“Noah’s both an accomplished artist in his own right and a very accomplished teaching artist,” said Steven Tennen, executive director of ArtsConnection. “What’s really special about Noah is his interest in each individual child and his ability to give direction so that kids not only understand what to do but they understand that Noah’s got very high expectations. The quality of the work his kids produce is really extraordin­ary.”

For more about ArtsConnection, log onto www.artsconnection.org.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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