Artists Exhibit on Staten Island and Kickoff Inaugural Film Fest at Manhattan's Gramercy Theatre

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Derrick Walbrook poses with his pastel drawing

Prints surround someone studying










The UCP of NYC Film Festival Marquee

2012 was a busy year for artists at UCP of NYC, and to close it on a high note they kicked-off the inaugural UCP of NYC Film Fest at the Gramercy Theatre and showcased an exhibition of prints, drawings, and paintings at St. George Library on Staten Island.

“This has been an incredible year for our Arts Program” said Peter Cobb, Director of Community Outreach. “The NYC community has been incredibly supportive of our projects and we have fostered some really exciting new opportunities for the people we serve.”

On October 10th, UCP of NYC showcased the first-ever UCP of NYC Film Festival at Manhattan's Gramercy Theatre. As the result of an innovative partnership with Gramercy Theatre, UCP of NYC’s pilot festival is staged to become an annual tradition.

The Film Festival project began as a means to give UCP of NYC Media Arts program participants a place to showcase their talent in film development and production. With the direction of the Media Arts Specialist, Laura Bennett, along with the support of the Drama Specialist Bianca Vesco, Community Specialist, Megan Blades and program staff, the Media Arts group executed six short films for the big screen. Not only did these budding filmmakers play a central role in filming and producing, many of them acted, and/or tried their hand at directing.

“It was so exciting to watch the actors as they happily made their way down the red carpet to be greeted by their families, friends, and staff,” said Parnelle Labonte, Coordinator of Operations, Day Services. “Everyone ensured that guests were welcomed and our actors were treated like stars from the beginning to end.”

Labonte also acknowledged that the overwhelming success of the event would not have been possible without our partners at Gramercy Theatre. Margaret Holmes, General Manager of Gramercy Theatre, and her exceptional team donated their time, energy, and their beautiful space for the film festival screening. Moreover, by working closely with everyone from UCP of NYC they helped to deliver a memorable Red Carpet event for all.

Just a month later, in November, fine artists, families, and friends gathered for UCP of NYC’s exhibition opening at St. George Library in Staten Island. Despite Hurricane Sandy delaying the show, the mood in the room was bright and the artwork well worth the ferry ride.

The exhibit, which ran through December, consisted of a series of images—including prints, drawings, and paintings—created by artists who attend Staten Island’s Port Richmond Adult Day Program. Eve LeBar, the Staten Island Art Teacher responsible for helping coordinate and hang the show, has been tremendously successful in getting artists to try new ways of creating work.  Several years ago, with the help of a grant from the Kaufman Foundation, she launched a print-making class that continues to be a highlight of the Arts Program at UCP of NYC.

When discussing her teaching philosophy, LeBar said, “It’s all about them, their ideas, and their work. My job is to teach, encourage, guide, and support their adventure in the art room.”

She also pointed out that it hasn’t been an easy journey for everyone. In the beginning there were a few hurdles and challenges; many of the artists were never even exposed to drawing or painting. On top of that, each individual has his/her own story and faces his/her own unique set of physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges. But Eve has helped facilitate countless breakthroughs in the art-making process.

With the leadership of all of our UCP of NYC art teachers, accompanied by the unwavering support of our community partners, our artists have made a great splash in 2012.  From film, to fine art, to drama and music, we know to expect a very creative year ahead!

To learn more about the Arts at UCP of NYC, contact:

Peter Cobb, Director of Community Outreach at 212-677-7400 or email

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