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Representing Brooklyn

Alexander Torres and Timothy McGillivary , artists from AHRC New York City’s Brooklyn Day Habilitation showed their local pride, recently painting their impressions of the borough’s Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

The paintings were selected to be featured in an art contest hosted by the Brooklyn Family Support Service Advisory Council.

Alexander and Timothy continue to create new works for exhibition in galleries across New York City and beyond.

Chad DeRoche Debuts New Music Video: Gummi Bear Paradise

Chad DeRoche, of AHRC New York City’s Brooklyn Day Habilitation, is an accomplished multimedia artist. Beginning as a painter, he has branched off into sculpture, illustrations, textile work, and more.

Recently, Chad has been creating original songs and music videos to further communicate his ideas. Always interested in social justice, Chad’s compositions often have inspiring calls-to-action and an uplifting message of unity and fun.

Chad’s newest music video, Gummy Bear Paradise, has been posted to YouTube. It features Shelia Carroll and Gifford Moy, two of Chad’s friends from Brooklyn Day Habilitation. Check it out!

ArteMoose Collective Showcases Summer Flavors at NURTUREart

The Artists of ArteMoose exhibited their creative work at NURTUREart, a gallery in Bushwick, from August 18th through August 26, 2016. TThe exhibit was titled, Summer Flavors, and showcased the disparate styles of Fernando CruzTimothy McGillivaryAlexander Torres, Chad DeRoche, Denisha Brown, and Gifford Moy.

How the Exhibition Came to Be

I have a friend who referred me to this gallery, since they work specifically with emerging artists,Megan Landrum, Community Support Supervisor, said at the opening reception on Wednesday, August 17th. Beginning nearly three years ago, artists and staff from Brooklyn Day Hab would visit the gallery one Wednesday per month.

We were here for a day trip and there was another exhibition occurring,Brianna Hill, Community Support Professional, recalled. She said she spoke with Molly O’Brien, NUTUREart’s Education Director, about being able to exhibit artists from program at the gallery. “It was just a matter of finding a gallery,” Brianna said. “This was the spot that made it happen.

Creative Works

The exhibition contained paintings, sculptures, illustrations, and textile materials. Simple marker on paper creations by Gifford Moy were juxtaposed with complex acrylic works by Denisha Brown and Alex Torres. Some of the pieces such as The Unity Feast were large and collaborative while others featured individual talents on a smaller scale.

I was interested in showing all of their unique practices, but because of the collaboration involved you can see shared interest in subject matter and materials,” Molly, who curated the exhibit, said. She indicated that food was a common theme in many of the works.

This was very successful,” Molly continued. “It was fun to have them here installing the art and continuing our relationship.” Brianna agreed, saying “The artists are passionate, and art is a big thing at Brooklyn Day Hab. It fulfills me as a teaching artist and a lot of them don’t often get this opportunity.

Chad DeRoche Releases Music Video for “Presidential Remix”

Make a better nation – That’s my aspiration!

– Chad DeRoche, Presidential Remix

For years, Chad DeRoche has used a variety of media to speak his mind.  With sculptures and drawings celebrating his passion for protecting the environment, to his self-advocacy efforts on the behalf of people with disabilities and the direct care workers that support them in New York State, Chad speaks up for what matters.

Chad often draws artistic inspiration from the world around him, commonly using his talents to highlight social injustices.  Through his quilted piece, Sleeping Bag,  Chad makes statements about the plight of poverty.

Sleeping Bag by artist, Chad Deroche

Chad was inspired to create the quilted piece after witnessing a homeless man on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue.

In recent years, Chad’s vision has deteriorated, and as a result, his creative work has gravitated toward textural, kinetic, and aural expressions. His latest work is the song, Presidential Remix, a rap about President Barack Obama and the importance of elections in the United States.

I believe in you, and all the people to make our world safe and peaceful.”

In his song, Chad asks the President to “listen to the people.,” and reminds listeners to join him in standing up for our civil rights.

Make a statement, Take a stand,
Make it happen, Lend me a hand!

Along with his friends, Chad also created a music video for the song, which you can view below:

You can listen to more of Chad’s music by visiting his Soundcloud page.

Alex Torres, Artist and Entrepreneur

Being an artist requires experimentation and dedication. For some, being an artist isn’t just a title; it’s an essential part of their self-expression and overall life. Alex Torres, for example, is a painter, designer, and musician. Over the past decade he has devoted himself to cultivating his identity and artwork.

Alex Torres with a staff member from AHRC NYC's Brooklyn Day Habilitation

Alex’s devotion paid off in January 2015 when the Brooklyn Arts Council awarded him a Community Arts Fund (CAF) grant in the amount of $1,000. He received the grant to develop his clothing line, Baby Skills. Alex was able to bring his designs to life using the digital platform, to.be. With his t-shirt designs printed and tangible for the first time, Alex had to experiment with and dedicate himself to selling them. Alex has always wanted to sell his artwork. For him, this has always been more satisfying than traditional job roles filled by people with disabilities.

T-shirt design by Alex Torres

Alex connected with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to sell his t-shirts at the Albee Square Farmer’s Market over the summer. Every Friday in June and part of July, Alex set up a table, interacted with potential customers, and handled cash and credit for the shirts he sold. While Alex had shown his paintings at a few galleries (Silent Barn, Front Street Galleries, Arts Unbound), this marked the first time that Alex was directly engaged in the process of selling his work and courting customers. There was a big learning curve; Alex adjusted and readjusted his pitch, how his shirts were displayed, and prices week to week. Alex learned how to use the Square App to accept credit and debit payments for his shirts. After the Farmers’ Market, Alex had two more opportunities to display and sell his work through gallery shows at Gridspace and Pratt Institute. To date, Alex has sold 15 of the 20+ shirts printed with the grant money and made approximately $300. Alex is very grateful to have received the CAF grant for it was what made his dream possible.

Alex Torres's work at the Pratt Institute

Alex and his family plan to reinvest the money made from the shirt sales into Alex’s future artistic and musical pursuits as well as those of his Brooklyn Day Habilitation peers in the Arte Moose Collective.

Multimedia Artist Chad Deroche Discusses Song Composition

The Arte Moose Collective was founded in 2012 in Brooklyn, New York.  The members of Arte Moose are artists with developmental disabilities, who founded the collective to introduce their ideas and visual creativity into the larger discourse of contemporary art.  Chad DeRoche is one of the most prolific artists of the collective.  For years, Chad has been creating artwork using a variety of media and with support from the staff of AHRC New York City’s Brooklyn Day Habilitation program, he has had several opportunities to exhibit his creative work in local galleries.

My newest drawing is Solar Powered Boat,” says Chad.  His pen illustration is a nautical scene which at first glance, appears to be a dot-to-dot drawing.  “Feel the drawing,” he suggests.  Each dot is a tiny puncture in the canvas of foam core, and the drawing is meant to be touched.  In the past few years as Chad’s vision has faded, his artwork has gravitated toward textural and kinetic expressions, including sculpture.  “The boat has pinwheels, and energy, and a bathroom kit, and it can land on water or the ground,” he adds.

Chad DeRoche Solar Powered BoatMontagew

When asked about his other art projects, Chad says, “I want my own songs,” while opening his iPad.  He launches the Garageband app and begins to scroll through a long list of songs he has created, finally selecting a song called Big Blue Remix.  He pushes the PLAY button and a beat begins, followed shortly by a dual vocal track featuring Chad himself:

Talkin’ ‘bout remix,

Talkin’ ‘bout remix,

Talkin’ big blue remix… New York Giants…

They lift weights and train all day,

In a team, that’s the only way!

Talkin’ ‘bout remix…

 

Chad 02w

The song celebrates a few local sports teams, their fans, and important games against rivals.  To make his songs, Chad records multi-track compositions, adding both vocal and drum beat tracks, which can be repeated on a timeline.

iPad Chad 01 fixedw

I write the songs and send them to Kyle [AHRC NYC staff member] in a text message,” says Chad.  “We decide which words we don’t want to use and we take those out.  We add new words.  We use rhymes in the song, and then we fix it up.”

Community Support Professional, Kyle Farrell, supports Chad’s musical efforts by providing technological assistance when needed.  The relationship is part of the Individualized Technologies Strategies-Balanced Incentive Project, (ITS-BIP,) a relatively new AHRC NYC initiative that pairs people receiving services with technological devices and support staff, to provide individualized opportunities for people to explore new technologies.

iPad Chad 02 fixedw

Chad’s newfound fondness for writing music hasn’t prevented him from continuing to make physical artwork.  “My next sculpture will be called Rollercoaster Bridge,” he says.  Chad’s plan is to create something similar to his earlier sculpture, Rollercoaster House, which was made from recyclable materials.  For his new bridge sculpture, Chad plans to incorporate a seesaw, monkey bars, and an exercise space.   “No one ever built a rollercoaster bridge before, and it’ll be cool for the kids!

When asked why he has chosen to make use of so many different media as he creates, Chad explains, “I do art.  I do drawing.  I do sculpture.  I do painting.  I’m making big projects.

You can listen to Chad’s music by visiting his Soundcloud page.

AHRC New York City is proud to celebrate Chad’s creative work, and the works of many other people with disabilities who are finding new ways to express their creativity.

Brooklyn Day Hab Artists Travel to New Jersey for Gallery Exhibit

written by Megan Landrum, Community Support Supervisor, Brooklyn Day Habilitation

As Chad DeRoche, Alex Torres, and I rode the 3 train from Nevins Street to Penn Station we talked about New Jersey.  Chad had taken a train into New Jersey before to visit his family.  They live in a house with a parking lot. It’s near a basketball court and a buffet restaurant.  Chad remembered being dependent on cars to get everywhere during his visit.  It’s a fact of suburban New Jersey life that he doesn’t like.

We were headed to New Jersey because a few weeks earlier, by happy chance, I had met Margaret, a curator at Arts Unbound, a studio and gallery for seniors and artists with disabilities.  Art Saves Lives is a mantra that appears again and again on the walls and artwork at the gallery.

dev Chad and Pillow

The theme of this month’s group show, up from May 6th to May 28th, is soft sculpture.  When Margaret mentioned this I immediately thought of Chad’s artwork–his sleeping bag, his pillow, his tent.  I showed her the ArteMoose Collective’s website.  Chad is a founding member and there are lots of photographs of his work and even a short video about him on the site.  Margaret fell in love with the sleeping bag at first sight.  This was a common refrain we heard at the opening reception.  All night people approached Chad to tell him how much they loved and admired his work.

dev wig

The opening reception on the night of May 7th was a small, classy affair complete with wine, cheese, chocolate chip cookies.  We sipped on ginger ale and talked to the gallery’s director, curators, and interns. We spoke to other artists in the group show.  One woman designed silk scarves, a man around Chad’s age made jewelry, and a group of elderly women handmade a collection of dolls.  Alex even tried on a handmade yarn wig!  Everyone was very welcoming and we were invited to come back anytime.  We were also invited to submit work to future exhibitions and open calls.

The Arts Unbound community was very impressed by all of the work that the ArteMoose Collective artists have been doing.  One of the gallery curators lives in Brooklyn and a studio visit to Brooklyn Day Hab may be in the future.  We had a great time at the opening reception and we’re grateful to have participated.

Artist Alex Torres Receives Art Award at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Alexander Torres, a longtime artist who receives services at Brooklyn Day Hab and is part of the art collective Artemoose, was recognized for his digital designs and paintings by the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). Alex received a Community Arts Grant, which was made possible by BAC through the support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Group at BBhall

Alex was nominated by Megan Hummel, a former Community Support Professional at Brooklyn Day Hab who now works at a shelter in Brooklyn. “[Alex] has been working so independently in a lot of his art projects and I thought he would make a great candidate,” she said.

BBhall 01

The grants ceremony was held on March 18 at Brooklyn Borough Hall and featured speeches by a number of distinguished guests, including Ella J. Weiss, President of BAC; Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Borough President; and Edwin Torres, Deputy Commissioner of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.

BBhall02

The night also included performances by Truthworker Theater Company, a social justice oriented hip-hop and dance group, and Batala NYC, an all-female samba drumming group.

Alex Salute

I feel happy about this grant because I love my art,” Alex said. He thanked his parents; Raquel PinnockProgram Director of Brooklyn Day HabChad DeRoche, his friend and fellow Artemoose member; Megan, for her longstanding assistance and mentorship; and “everybody who supports and helps me achieve my goals in life.” He also passed along some inspiration for his peers. “I know that people like me with disabilities can always do art and win every day. I hope that winning this grant will inspire people like me. I promise one thing by getting this award – to get more goals and achieve more. I won’t stop doing my art any day.

Brooklyn Day Hab Features Artist Collective

A myriad of colors, canvasses, and crafts lines the walls and halls of AHRC New York City’s Brooklyn Day Habilitation Adult Day Center. From an origami-inspired tabletop piece to a large quilt depicting social justice figures and phrases, the artwork featured here showcases a wide variety of talent and personalities. A number of the works will be featured as part of the Arte Moose Collective, which is launching a website dedicated to featuring the artists and their pieces in the near future.  Each of the artists participating in the art collective will be featured prominently on the new site.  Each artist brings a unique perspective to their shared experiences in the day program and in their surrounding community.

Chad DeRoche is a founding member of the Collective and his work is quite varied. Chad is visually impaired and has taken up sculpture and tactile works to combat this.

RollerCoasterHouseMontage

Chad’s most recent project is an amazing model of what appears to be a towering roller coaster surrounded by a red house and trees. He has had his work exhibited at Kingsborough Community College and the Pratt Institute, each located in Brooklyn.

Fernando Cruz has been inspired to create his art both from his personal life and from artistic experiences out in the community. His most recent work, Mexico, made from a piece of board left over from Chad’s sculpture, resembles a Jackson Pollock painting he saw at MoMA and celebrates his national heritage.

FC_Mexicodiptic

Fernando recently visited Mexico and said “I liked it and I loved the food!” Fernando’s other works include Bones I and Bones II, both of which were inspired by an exhibit he saw at Atlantic Center about bones.

Gifford Moy, the youngest member of the collective, focuses mainly on sculpture. He recently made a colorful tabletop decoration based on origami techniques, fusing paper and different kinds of tape together; it is fittingly entitled One of a Kind.

Honeymoon Special Car and One of a kind

Gifford also crafted The Honeymooners, two movie stars made out of wood and clay who travel around in their Honeymoon Special Cars. The young artist created a stop-motion animation film starring his creations that premiered at the FiveMyles Gallery.

Denisha Brown‘s art features jumbled colors of varying hues coming together to form intricate patterns and grids. Her work is meticulous and takes hours to complete.

Denisha Brown art Sopido Torpedo

Denisha’s magnum opus thus far is Sopido Torpedo, a remarkable work in which various pastels and paint fuse to create a world of complex drawings and M.C. Escher-esque designs.

Alexander Torres focuses primarily on painting. His work features all types of imagery, including religious, social, personal, and athletic perspectives. The paintings alternate from bright, warming colors to dark, brooding ones.

AT_TheBoss

Perhaps the piece most indicative of Alex’s style is The Boss, which is part tribute to George Steinbrenner, part self-portrait, and entirely eclectic.

Supporting each of the artists as they create each new project, Community Support Professional Megan Hummell, provides direction and opportunities for artistic exploration.  She recognizes the importance of creativity as a means of self-expression.  Each artist featured in the collective works closely with Megan to achieve their artistic vision.

Megan with Gifford

With a background in art education and having displayed some of her artwork as part of a special staff artwork exhibition in the lobby of AHRC NYC’s Maiden Lane headquarters, Megan is thrilled to share her gifts and knowledge with all of the people she supports. “I love working here because I get to actually see the power of art impacted,” she says. “It helps give them the power to use their free time productively.”

Brooklyn-based Artists Exhibit Work with Students of the Pratt Institute

On the evening of December 5, 2013, the Art + Design Education Department of Pratt Institute hosted a gallery opening entitled Exhibiting Education.  The exhibit included artwork created by students who attend the Pratt Institute, as well as artists who are supported through programs provided by AHRC New York City’s Brooklyn Day Hab.  The exhibit, (currently on view in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn at Gallery 216,) is a culmination of collaborative workshops between the two groups of artists.

During the past semester the visiting artists from Brooklyn Day Hab, including Chad DeRoche, Gifford Moy, and Alexander Torres have been preparing their artwork, with support from Art ConsultantsMegan Hummel and Joslyn Richardson.  Below are some photos captured during the opening of the exhibition.

Alexander Torres' painting, Heaven - Lost Spirits, incorporates acrylic and spray paint, as well as pastel chalk and marker. Alexander created the painting as a tribute to his late grandmother, who is depicted as an angel, hovering over the kingdom of Heaven.
Alexander Torres’ painting, Heaven – Lost Spirits, incorporates acrylic and spray paint, as well as pastel chalk and marker. Alexander created the painting as a tribute to his late grandmother, who is depicted as an angel, hovering over the kingdom of Heaven.
As an emigrant born in Grenada, Chad DeRoche has done his share of traveling. The installation piece, Welcome Home From Your Journey, was built as a haven for anyone passing by. The tent structure is formed from a patchwork of abstract images of New York City, which Chad considers his source of shelter.
As an emigrant born in Grenada, Chad DeRoche has done his share of traveling. The installation piece, Welcome Home From Your Journey, was built as a haven for anyone passing by. The tent structure is formed from a patchwork of abstract images of New York City, which Chad considers his source of shelter.
Left to right: Artists, Chad DeRoche, Alexander Torres, Gifford Moy, and Alexander Torres with Art Consultant, Megan Landrum
Left to right: Artists, Chad DeRoche, Alexander Torres, Gifford Moy, and Alexander Torres with Art Consultant, Megan Landrum
Gifford Moy totem
Gifford Moy’s sculpture, Rainbow Totem Pole, was created in a collage style, using found images from magazines. Gifford arranged each image by color, resulting in a banded series of advertising images that flow across the color spectrum.

AHRC New York City thanks Professor Borinquen Gallo and the students of the Pratt Institute, as well as the staff from Brooklyn Day Hab for their work and dedication in creating the collaborative workshops, which have enabled these artists to express their creativity.