Community Works has grown from a small, grassroots organization to become one of the largest providers of quality arts, literacy and mentoring programs to schools and community groups around New York. Working with a network of community-based artists and organizations, Community Works serves more than 150,000 public school students and community groups every year through live performances, workshops, exhibitions, mentoring and other programs.
The program Theater Connections brings affordable multicultural performing arts events to 65,000 students a year (Pre-K to grade 12). Every year both established and emerging artists treat students and community residents to music, dance and theater performances in a range of styles. These groups present highly interactive, professionally produced and affordable performances, and include everything from Shakespeare plays and African storytelling to Afro-Haitian percussion and Latin jazz ensembles.
Community Connections workshops send mentors to public schools and neighborhood centers across the city to train young people in theater, dance, music and the literary and visual arts. Programs also focus on leadership development, peer mentoring and conflict resolution.
Exhibitions which focus either on history or the visual arts are presented in schools and community centers throughout the city. The Long Walk to Freedom, for instance, honored unsung local heroes of the civil rights movement highlighting the contributions of 16 civil rights activists; Harlem Is... Celebrating the Living History of Harlem, an adjunct to concert performances of the same name, celebrated 30 Harlemites whose contributions to the fields of art, music, education, politics, community service and sports have defined the neighborhood’s rich and diverse cultural legacy.
Community Works' Theater Connections program takes place at four major sites—Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture in the Bronx, Kumble Theater of the Performing Arts in downtown Brooklyn, Pace Downtown Theater in Lower Manhattan and Riverbank State Park Theaters in Harlem—as well as in dozens more intimate venues throughout the metropolitan area.
Programs for Seniors
Senior centers can inquire about the Theater-to-Go program, which includes performances and films.
Community Works has several workshop, residency, public art exhibit and performance programs that take place in schools and at other community sites after school. All programs include hands-on instruction, literacy components, curriculum linkages and study guides, teacher training and parent engagement activities. Community Connections includes multicultural, multidisciplinary workshop and residency programs in the performing, literary and visual arts. Making a Difference is an arts-based program that investigates local heroes as a means to create curriculum projects that improve literacy, develop youth leadership skills, and foster a commitment to community service. Public Art programs are interactive exhibits centered on community leadership, art and public service. Theater-to-Go brings performance demonstrations in music, dance and issues-based theater directly into classrooms.