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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: CEI's Social Action Benchmarks

May 29, 2024 (Randall’s Island, Manhattan) – Students from schools across the city braved the rain to proudly showcase their social action murals at Center for Educational Innovation’s (CEI) annual Benchmarks Kickoff.

Benchmarks is a comprehensive student arts residency program that inspires young people to tackle major social issues and become engaged citizens. Students create large-scale, meaningful artwork on benches for public display, to effect social change.

This year’s subject matters included racism, homelessness, mental health and animal abuse.

In addition to the students, who explained the meaning behind their respective murals, remarks were provided by CEI’s President & CEO, Michael Kohlhagen, and Executive Director of Arts Education, Alexandra Leff; NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner, Tricia Shimamura; and New York State Assembly Member Edward Gibbs’ Chief of Staff, America Munoz. Also present were New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda’ Community Liaisons, Vincent Sepulveda and Christian Cardus.

The project culminates in a visit to a guest artist’s studio and in the creation and public display of issue-based works of art on benches in parks in all 5 boroughs.

At the Manhattan unveiling in Thomas Jefferson Park, New York City Council Deputy Speaker, Diana Ayala was represented by her Chief of Staff, Elsie Encarnacion. Also, in attendance was DHC’s Associate Director of Government Relations, Melissa Chapman-Samad.

To learn more read about Benchmarks in QNS, click here.

Pic 1: New York State Assembly Member Edward Gibbs’ Chief of Staff, America Munoz
Pic 2: Melissa Chapman-Samad, Vincent Sepulveda and Christian Cardus.
Pic 3: Melissa Chapman-Samad and America Munoz
Pic 4: Elsie Encarnacion with instructors and student artists

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