The Dream Big Initiative
The Dream Big Program is a summer arts enrichment program created in 2010, and now includes an afterschool program, with the goal to inspire children to dream big, work hard, follow their passions, and to become caretakers of their world. Through Dream Big, children attain the skills to create and share their art with their peers and family members in a public setting while learning about interesting topics like the environment, Afro Cuban Jazz, health, the American with Disabilities Act, and the life of Bronx artists and luminaries like U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Sonia Manzano, Bobby Sanabria, and Dr. Valerie Capers.
DREAM BIG SUMMER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM
What: An arts and music enrichment program
Who: Approximately 100 2-3rd grade children from Bronx CBOs and schools
When: Three times a week, for four-five weeks, culminating in a one-day celebration in July or August
Where: Two to three Bronx community based organizations, with Dream Big Day held at a Bronx university
Current Funders: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Macy’s, Montefiore Medical Centers, New York Women's Foundation and New York Yankees Foundation.
Program Description: Dream Big is an arts program, the purpose of which is to encourage children to entertain and elaborate on their grandest desires for their futures. It is offered as a summer enrichment program at two to three community-based organizations with day camps. Museum teaching artists provide visual and performance arts instruction to children designed to impart a sense of pride in themselves, their culture, and in the Bronx, three days a week for up to 15 sessions. Each year, a different Bronx-related theme is chosen for children to learn about through the arts. Dream Big Day is the culminating celebration of this program, where Bronx-born luminaries in the arts and public life interact with the children and inspire them to pursue their dreams, and where children display what they have learned. Two of our regular visitors are Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, who has attended all ten Dream Big Day summer celebrations, and Sonia Manzano, formerly “Maria” on Sesame Street.
DREAM BIG AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM AT P.S. 5 - 2019
What: A dance and music enrichment program
Who: Approximately 25 2nd-3rd grade children
When: Twice weekly, two-hour sessions for eighteen weeks from January-June
Where: P.S. 5
Current Funders: This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, through a CASA grant from City Council District 8.
The Bronx Children’s Museum Dream Big After School program worked with 24 children in second grade at P.S. 5 to provide 33 dance, music, and fine art sessions, 66 contact hours, twice a week from January to June 2019. Teaching artists Luss Nigaglioni, John Robinson, Dr.Valerie Capers, and Yvette Martinez from Retumba! guided children in a multidisciplinary exploration of music, dance, and art to inspire students to create their own original artwork, music, and dance compositions that celebrate the rich cultural traditions of the Bronx and Afro-Latino cultures.
The program began with a field trip to visit Bronx-born Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at Hostos Community College. Students learned about her life story and how she “dreamed big” to accomplish her goals. Students used this as a starting point to explore other Bronx luminaries such as Valerie Capers who visited with the students nine times to create a percussion composition with students along with teaching artist John Robinson. Students also learned about the life of Bronx-born, Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Sanabria. The students used these Bronx heroes as inspiration to create their own self portrait paintings using acrylic paint on 18 x 24 inch canvases exploring their dreams and goals for the future. Students worked with Yvette Martinez from Retumba! to explore African and Latin dance compositions such as salsa, merengue, and the cha-cha. Students then created their own contemporary dance compositions inspired by these traditional dances. At the ending celebration on June 3rd, 2019, students performed their original songs, dances, and displayed their artwork for all after school groups and caregivers, for a total of 189 people. Children performed for this audience and enjoyed food and dancing with their peers.
“The Dream Big After School Program provided valuable experiences to our first grade students. Providing a trip to visit with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was an invaluable experience that the children will never forget and inspire them to Dream Big. I have observed your teaching artists and staff work with students to help them develop performance and presentation skills as well as building self confidence. The after school performance was a joy to watch and I cannot wait to see next years. We value your commitment and collaboration with PS 5. Thank you Bronx Children’s Museum!”
— Principal Diane Keane
“I like the way the staff interacts with the children and the combination of dance, music and history. It was great to watch Miriam perform at the Gala too!.” — Miriam M., Mother
“I’m happy she got to do all the dancing and work with Ms. Valerie Capers. Everytime I asked her about the program she was so happy.” — Madison C., Mother
“My dream is to become a doctor so I can help people get better. I want to work hard too.” — Ryan K.
“My favorite part of afterschool was dancing the cha-cha with Ms. Yvette.” — Yefferson M.
For more information about the Dream Big Initiative, please contact Director of Arts and Programming Natalie Wood.