PolyArts

Partnerships & Outreach

Celebrate Arts! Upper School Musical: "The Prom" debuts Friday, March 8, 2024

Engaging with professional artists

New York City. It’s one of the arts capitals of the world, and Poly Prep makes the most of it.

Our partnerships with artists and institutions infuse our programs with creative energy and inspire our students, teachers, and the entire Poly community. Engaging with professional artists, composers, dancers, filmmakers, art scholars, musicians, and storytellers of all kinds are an integral part of the student life at our school.

We give our students opportunities to experience the creative process in action through artist visits, performances, hands-on learning, collaborations, and so much more.

10 Hairy Legs abstract

Movement as Art

Our partnerships with organizations like STREB Extreme Action, CORA Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and 10 Hairy Legs—an all-male dance company—have been a huge part of getting our students to expand their view of what dance and movement can be.

Through our work with professional dancers, students gain confidence in their physical abilities, which helps give them an edge in sports, dance, theater, and much more… while enjoying every minute of these unique experiences. This melding of dance and athleticism allows them to connect with each other and forges a lasting appreciation for the performing arts.

From performances to class workshops to off-campus experiences, Poly students are exploring movement, as well as issues like offstage bullying and gender stereotyping, all done through our unique and creative partnerships.

Brooklyn Museum Project Mati Hassan '21

Museum Studies

By working with artists and art professionals through our Arts Partnerships program, students confront creative ideas and real-world issues through the lens of adults that are in contact with art, both historical and contemporary, on a daily basis. Through field trips, visits to cultural institutions like the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, and the Whitney, students have the chance to meet curators, museum educators, conservators, and artists that are on the cutting edge of critical thinking about visual culture.

Our special partnerships with the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art anchor Poly’s curricular programming around curatorial and museum studies. 

Jill Sigman artist in residency

Artist-in-Residence

Poly’s artist-in-residence program is a unique experience for our students where they can collaborate and engage with a local contemporary artist on a long-term project. Talks, installations, and performances complement our arts and academic curriculum.

Our first artist-in-residence, alumna Jill Sigman ’85 created an installation called “The Living Room” out of recycled materials with help from our students.  It quickly became a space for classes, speaker events, and community gatherings to explore topics like sustainability, immigration, and Poly’s history. Our next artist-in-residence, Sarah E. Brook, a Brooklyn sculptor, surveyed students and staff to ascertain which were the most meaningful spaces and structures to our Poly community. She returned in 2020 to resume her work of creating an installation on Poly’s Dyker Heights grounds, which mirrors shapes seen on campus architecture, using natural light to reimagine those structures.

“One of our goals is to bring world-class artists to a school with a world-class arts program. It’s fulfilling to help students try new art forms, but moreover, give them the opportunity to see art through the eyes of its creator. It opens up a whole new perspective.”- Michael Robinson
Head of Arts

More PartnershipHighlights

Poly Prep mural

In 2023, students collaborated with renowned street and graffiti artist Lee Quiñones to create an original mural which now stands near Poly’s Admissions office.

“I think working on the mural under the guidance of Dan Herwitt and Lee Quiñones really taught me the importance of collaboration and cohesion,” said Jordan Millar ’24, “especially when working on such a large scale project. There were so many of us in the class involved with creating the mural, and we each created an individual panel. I hope that the theme of Brooklyn really comes across to viewers,” Millar added. “We incorporated a lot of symbols and imagery that we felt represented Brooklyn, so I hope that some of those will resonate with the audience. I also hope they are able to appreciate the details within each of the panels!”

Cameron Bossert

It’s a testament to Poly’s environment of creativity and education that so many of our successful alumni are eager to come back to the school and work with our students. In this photo, composer Cameron Bossert ’02, whose work has been performed by the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra, returned to campus to collaborate with our Concert Choir and visit with former teachers.

In 2020, our Winter Concert featured the premiere performance of “Tomorrow Lives” a new composition by Cameron that was commissioned by Poly Arts for Advanced Concert Choir.

Robert Cort

Movie screenings and discussions with writers, actors, filmmakers are part of the Poly experience. In this photo, producer Robert Cort ’64 returned to campus in 2019 to meet with our community about his film On the Basis of Sex, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He brought with him former New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood P’04 (a Poly parent) to discuss everything from movie making to the history of women working in law

Since the program began in 2019, numerous virtual film screenings have taken place, each followed by lively and informative conversations among a panel of alumni who are actors, producers, directors, writers, and Poly students.

26 Pebbles

As in many communities, the theater serves to bring Poly family and friends together to share in the joy of storytelling and creative expression. As part of our partnership programs, Poly invites playwrights to create original plays with our students, who then get to perform them. We’ve presented staged readings, sometimes including professional actors from among Poly’s alumni and families, as well as students and teachers, followed by enlightening and informative Q&A sessions. Master classes in playwriting are also part of our vision for teaching drama, whether in-person or virtual.

In the photo, playwright Eric Ulloa collaborated with Poly on a production of his play 26 Pebbles, which is based on interviews with members of the Newtown, CT community affected by the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

Elizabeth Meryman

Art and science may seem like separate entities, but our guest editor connected students to the idea that they can be merged. Elizabeth Meryman (pictured) talked with students about the use of fine art to illustrate science, engaging in vibrant discussions with them as they selected their own examples. More opportunities such as this take place at Poly each year.

  • Poly Prep mural

    Artists

    In 2023, students collaborated with renowned street and graffiti artist Lee Quiñones to create an original mural which now stands near Poly’s Admissions office.

    “I think working on the mural under the guidance of Dan Herwitt and Lee Quiñones really taught me the importance of collaboration and cohesion,” said Jordan Millar ’24, “especially when working on such a large scale project. There were so many of us in the class involved with creating the mural, and we each created an individual panel. I hope that the theme of Brooklyn really comes across to viewers,” Millar added. “We incorporated a lot of symbols and imagery that we felt represented Brooklyn, so I hope that some of those will resonate with the audience. I also hope they are able to appreciate the details within each of the panels!”

  • Cameron Bossert

    Music

    It’s a testament to Poly’s environment of creativity and education that so many of our successful alumni are eager to come back to the school and work with our students. In this photo, composer Cameron Bossert ’02, whose work has been performed by the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra, returned to campus to collaborate with our Concert Choir and visit with former teachers.

    In 2020, our Winter Concert featured the premiere performance of “Tomorrow Lives” a new composition by Cameron that was commissioned by Poly Arts for Advanced Concert Choir.

  • Robert Cort

    Film

    Movie screenings and discussions with writers, actors, filmmakers are part of the Poly experience. In this photo, producer Robert Cort ’64 returned to campus in 2019 to meet with our community about his film On the Basis of Sex, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He brought with him former New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood P’04 (a Poly parent) to discuss everything from movie making to the history of women working in law

    Since the program began in 2019, numerous virtual film screenings have taken place, each followed by lively and informative conversations among a panel of alumni who are actors, producers, directors, writers, and Poly students.

  • 26 Pebbles

    Theater

    As in many communities, the theater serves to bring Poly family and friends together to share in the joy of storytelling and creative expression. As part of our partnership programs, Poly invites playwrights to create original plays with our students, who then get to perform them. We’ve presented staged readings, sometimes including professional actors from among Poly’s alumni and families, as well as students and teachers, followed by enlightening and informative Q&A sessions. Master classes in playwriting are also part of our vision for teaching drama, whether in-person or virtual.

    In the photo, playwright Eric Ulloa collaborated with Poly on a production of his play 26 Pebbles, which is based on interviews with members of the Newtown, CT community affected by the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

  • Elizabeth Meryman

    Art & Design

    Art and science may seem like separate entities, but our guest editor connected students to the idea that they can be merged. Elizabeth Meryman (pictured) talked with students about the use of fine art to illustrate science, engaging in vibrant discussions with them as they selected their own examples. More opportunities such as this take place at Poly each year.

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