Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Recent installations, "The Assassination of Barack Obama" and "The Assassination of Hillary Clinton "explore the figurative, but highly effective attempts by the American populace to assassinate both candidates reputation during their historic candidacy for president. Reflecting the sentiment that no one is without blame or responsibility, artist Yazmany Arboleda's installation shows the extreme effects of a society's intent on castrating anyone in power.

Everyone is responsible, no one - and no group - is safe in this highly evocative and controversial exhibit. In the all-encompassing installation that explores the themes of sexism, racism, ageism and homophobia, one questions to what end we are willing to go to tear down our leaders in the process of electing them.

The installations can be viewed online.
The Assassination of Barack Obama
The Assassination of Hillary Clinton


What's the biggest problem needing attention in the philanthropic world today? "Getting Americans to realize that their future — safety, the taxes they pay, quality of schools — is linked to addressing social problems. People need to feel that not contributing and being involved directly hurts their children. We apologize for asking for funding instead of reminding Americans that they chose this system — compared to Europe and Scandinavia, which have higher taxes — that depends on philanthropy and volunteering to compensate for our lower taxes."
~Allan Luks, Departing Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Filmmaker George Lucus has been interviewed discussing how we should rethink the way we teach communications skills to young people and that should not only be about grammar and punctuation, but other associated skills like interpreting art, color, and perspective. Lucus, who is also the publisher of Edutopia Magazine says, “Art and music are usually thought of as therapeutic or fun, but not approached as a very valid form of communication.”

An eight minute video by the George Lucus Foundation includes a segment on the
Greater Brunswick Charter School in New Brunswick, NJ where a teacher works with the class to analyze an advertisement. Voices of Hope Productions also interviewed numerous teachers, staff and kids at this school for the New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) short film, Invest in Change because NJCC helped to finance the school. The Jacob Burns Center in Pleasantville, New York is also highlighted for their work with 8000 children who can access communications classes. 4th graders are shown learning how to produce animated shorts.

Students and teachers throughout the country are not only making media, but are dissecting newspapers and advertising and critically analyzing the messages held within. This video illustrates that writing along with critical thinking skills and media analysis instructs young people on how to become well-rounded individuals. Hopefully in the future we will see this more consistently as the traditional classroom experience. One where the student will not only learn grammar and writing, but will also be exposed to graphics, cinema, illustration, animation and music--taught in a basic class called communications. As Lucus explains, communications should be taught as a language all its own and not as an “arty thing, but a practical tool to be used to sell, to influence people, get your point across and to communicate with other people, especially at an age where kids are using more and more multi-media.”

Read the
Edutopia article

Watch the Voices of Hope Productions’ video "Analyze this: Message in the Media"