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"Creative Heights" VONY WORKSHOP in collaboration with Real Estate Arts



Judgement Day


2009 VONYSPEAK! Conference PSA


2010 VONYSPEAKS! Conference PSA



VONY moving strong, thanks to all

Peace and greetings to all VONY members and supporters,

I am happy to say that VONY is going strong and growing everyday. We are happy to have the network of parents, artists, educators and activists involved in the VONY mission, to empower youth and ignite community involvement to help communities socially progress. We have come a long way as a collective pushing this movement, and now, as a non-profit we hope to offer regular services and programs to communities. Hoping to enhance our level of awareness as a whole and unite people to "help each other, help the growing minds of today". ~VONY

Below you will find an updated version of our current and future projects coming soon. We are thankful for the consistent support from each and everyone of you, and a big thanks to the VONYteam that keeps the wheels turning. We look forward to seeing more of your kids in our programs/workshops and intermingling in near future events. All inquiries, please feel free contact us at the provided info below.

VOICES OF NEW YORK: "help us help the growing minds of today"

About Voices of New York
Voices of New York's mission is to provide mentors and youth media/arts programs that promote positive critical thinking skills and confidence through creative expression to youth in underserved communities, as well as to offer services and educational resources to parents and educators who seek to improve communication and interaction with their youth. In addition to these programs and services, the organization will produce events promoting community engagement and raising social awareness.

About VONYworks (Youth Programming Department: "help us help the growing minds of today")

Voices of New York provides unique progressive programs and services that heighten creativity and social awareness among our youth. The department's goal is to use 21st century learning models to develop a dynamic curriculum designed to create new content for youth, by youth. Using project based learning activities, participants will enhance their critical thinking skills and become more empowered to affect social change among their communities.

About "Kids Dream in Color"

"Kids Dream in Color" an intensive workshop series managed by Visual Artist, Arts advocate and Youth Mentor Lichiban. "Kids Dream in Color" is a part of VONY's Creative Expression Workshop series which is designed to expose young people to the arts and use it as a tool to develop communication skills and confidence in expressing ideas and feelings. Classes are intended to encourage positive attitude and empower their minds to think critically, while allowing their creative talents to shine.

About Dare to Dream Project
Dare to Dream Project is a dynamic annual media arts initiative for New York City youth. Starting in January and going through June, young adults will receive hands-on professional and artistic training, culminating in a special screening of their films and multimedia projects. Program participants will be asked to make a commitment to an intensive curriculum that vigorously improves their media literacy skills and engages them with their community

About VONYspeak Youth Media/Arts Conference
An annual youth media/arts conference designed to offer an opportunity for parents, artists, and educators to receive professional development through workshops and panel discussions, in addition to viewing professional and youth made film screenings, art exhibits, and a keynote speaker presentation. The conference is focused on the exploration of new learning models, time management, arts in education, and the sharing of valuable resources specifically for those engaged in the empowerment of youth. Together learning how we can improve programs and techniques that will keep our youth engaged and stimulate their creative needs.



"Kids Dream in Color," or KDIC for short, is a part of VONY's Creative Expression Workshop series which is designed to expose students ages 8-14 to the arts and to develop their imagination skills and use it as a tool to develop communication skills and confidence in expressing ideas and feelings. Classes are intended to be fun and to encourage positive attitudes, team building and self-expression.

We have successfully completed on of our"Kids Dream in Color" intensive workshop series called CREATIVE HEIGHTS" this April with the generous support of Real Estate Arts, a NY-based branding and marketing agency. The workshop was conducted by Visual Artist and Youth Mentor Lichiban.

A view of a workshop is shown below:

"The Empire State Building of the Future"

This short documentary of a KDIC workshop chronicles a group of young students participating in a program that gave them the task of re-imagining the iconic Empire State building. The film follows the young artists as they visit the structure for inspiration, are guided in a visualization process, and mentored by professional artists to finally bring their creation to life. In creating their own versions of the building, they incorporated information they learned about environmental design, but most importantly, they included elements of themselves in a revealing way. The kids finally present their work on the final day, closing the chapter- but not the book, on a very fun and unique artistic experience. Interviews with the children, mentors, and parents provide the unique perspectives of each of those involved and affected by the program. It enabled the exploration of the capabilities of the kids' imagination and showed how they applied it to the task while staying interactive and having fun.

This workshop, keeping up with KDIC's goal of creative expression, offers but a glimpse of the kinds of project, kids will undertake in this program and the effects it can bring to their thinking and work.



Kids Dream In Color Philippines

One of our affiliates, Raisa Perez from the Phillipines, brought Kids Dream In Color to her motherland! Raisa worked with us in our New York office for several months last year and developed a workshop for students at the Pinagtulayan Elementary School in Paombong, Bulacan.

In her own words: 


November 21, 2010 was a big day for the Kids Dream In Color team. After months of planning and consultations with the VONY team, my team and I have finally executed a workshop that we have been dreaming to create. 

The Problems In Dreaming

Planning Kids Dream In Color was never easy. From the start, I was having issues with the school that I was working with. Originally, I thought I could only accommodate a maximum of 10 participants because of budget constraints. But the week before the workshop, the number of participants doubled. This was the first hurdle that the I had to face. Managing an art workshop for 20 kids is no joke especially for the inexperienced. 

The sudden boom in participants urged me to further campaign to look for volunteers. I was very lucky to be able to find 13 more young students and volunteers to help out in  mentoring and facilitating the workshop.

Now that the problems on volunteers have been resolved but one thing stays unsettled, the budget. An art workshop requires a lot of materials which were quite expensive. Materials for the oil painting were particularly expensive and a little bit difficult to find. In addition to that, I had to provide for lunch and snacks to at least fifty people that included, the participants, the volunteers, teachers, and the parents who attended. 

Fortunately, I have parents who were very supportive and very willing to give me all the monetary resources that I needed. It was never difficult to ask for help from my parents. They explained that providing for the budget might be the only way they can help out in their community so might as well do it. All in all I spent a little more than P 6,000 ($135) for the workshop which were all spent very well.  

Oil Painting

After some visualization techniques I asked the participants to draw in paper the 2030 life that they saw during their breathing and visualization exercises. The children were provided with drawing papers and various drawing materials such as colored pens, crayons and oil pastels. Their drawings became their blueprints for the oil paintings that they were about to make. After 20 minutes of drawing, Rodneil Manahan (mentor) stepped in and proceeded to teach the kids with some guidelines for oil painting. After the brief introduction, the volunteers distributed individual oil canvases and palettes. Since 5 sets of oil paints and linseed oil (a type of oil commonly used to dilute oil paints) had to be shared by everyone, the volunteers had to give out paints and oil themselves as requested by the participants. Each kid had 3 types of paintbrushes each, one flat brush, one rounded tip, and one smaller brush for outlining.

A workshop such as Kids Dream In Color does not require a whole lot of technical lessons. What the kids need from the artists are only basic guidelines in painting. Youngsters aged 9 to 11 are already equipped with the right amount of knowledge necessary to proceed in painting without any difficulty. Kids at this age are already drawing, coloring or painting with significant ease. More than teaching painting, these kids need to be guided in the visualization process. The artists were able to teach the children how to envision an abstract matter, such as the future, which helped them envisage themes for their artworks. 

Clay making

After a quick lunch break, Joeanna took time to create some sample clay models of airplanes and buildings. These were the materials she used for her twenty-minute demonstration and introduction to clay making. The participants were very eager to start with this part of the workshop because it seemed that clay making for them was a “break period” or play time. 

As with the oil paintings, the theme of the clay making was to make a version of their future but this time it was three-dimensional. After twenty minutes of individually creating a clay version of their future, the participants were divided into 5 groups of four members each (one group had five members). They were later tasked to create their future community where every participant had to contribute something from their imagined future. 

Group Art

The group art of the children are supposed to make them realize that in order for their dreams to come true, they had to help each other and work together to strive for the ideal. This part of the workshop was facilitated by the two teaching artists and was mentored by myself and all of the volunteers. By this time, all the participants and the volunteers were up on their feet and were roaming around the room to trade for different colored clays. Everyone were very energetic as it was the last activity of the day and also because they only had twenty-five minutes left to work at their future community.

After the participants finished their group art, everyone went outside and displayed all of their 2030 clay community on the stage. When all the clay communities were put on display, everyone got their own paintings and the show and tell begun.



PICS: ACROSS THE BOARD x VONY artshow / autism awarness fundraiser artshow


On Saturday, August 28, 2010, the Soapstone Gallery in midtown NYC will host over 30 artists transforming raw skateboards into one of a kind works of art. All pieces will be on sale with a portion of each sale donated to Autism Speaks. 


Across the Board: Artists For Autism Awareness at Soapstone Gallery NYC: Organized and conceptualized by Laurie Markiewicz, her love for skateboarding, art and most of all her child, Jack. At 2 years of age, Jack was diagnosed with PDD-NOS(a non-specified type of autism). It has been Laurie’s mission to raise autism awareness and advocate for more programs and services for families within the NYC autism community.“Across The Board” is one way of achieving her goal. Featuring artists such as Miguel Paredes, One9, BlusterOne, TooFly, Alice Mizrachi, Gigi Bio, MERES, Marthalicia, Lichiban, 2ESAE, and Damion Silver,veteran as well as emerging artists give voice not only to autism awareness, but to relevant community issues. “Across The Board” is an open discussion, but a dialogue that is ultimately designed to create a greater urgency about Autism.


In keeping with that mission, premiering at the event is“The Across The Board Project” a short documentary filmed and edited by participants from VONYʼs (Voices Of New York) “Dare To Dream Project” youth program.Featuring autistic children, participants from VONYʼs (Voices Of New York) “Kids Dream In Color” youth program with teaching artist Lichiban, artist mentor Marthalicia, singer Bilal, and art therapist Lina Meza-Murillo. The Across the Board project is a workshop produced and organized by Laurie Markiewicz (Across The Board) and Suzanna Ali-Oliver (VONY Executive Director) offering children on the spectrum a chance to partner up with VONY kids to design and paint their own skateboards to premier at the “Across The Board” event.

Saturday, August 28, 2010 from 7pm-Midnight

Soapstone Gallery, 11 West 36th Street 5th Floor, New York, NY 10018



Across The Board Project:

"Across The Board Project" or "ATBproject" for short, is a collaboration between Voices Of New York and “Across The Board: Artists For Autism Awareness,” a charity event for Autism Speaks, joining forces to develop a special multimedia project to empower youth and educate people about Autism.

In this program, VONYkids work with Kids Dream in Color Teaching Artist, Lichiban to collaborate with Special needs Art therapist Lina Claire Meza Murrillo and children under the spectrum of Autism, to paint and design their own skateboards for the ATB charity event, set for August 28th, 2010 at the Soapstone Gallery in midtown NYC. The process itself was documented by our Dare 2 Dream Project junior film makers, whose assignment was to produce a short documentary on Autism Awareness. The entire video is youth made from the shooting, editing, to the music production.

The final D2D short film will be officially premiered at the ATB Charity event. It will also be streamed online as a viral campaign to raise awareness on Autism and will also be featured on various sites. In addition, the kids will use the film to enter into several youth media contests for a chance to win and get recognition for their hard work.

Our junior photographer Saya Baker 9 years old, who took part in the VONY mixed media project, provides pictures of this amazing Skateboard designing project that took place at the 14 Street Y on June 19th 2010. (Special thanks to them for providing us all with a space to work.)

Please join us at, Across The Board: Artists For Autism Awareness,” a charity event for Autism Speaks set for Saturday, August 28th 2010 Doors open at 7pm! Come support Youth Art and check out an amazing film by our VONYkids!