"What Matters?" Multi-disciplinary Social Art

Self expression for all people including those who may not have a voice in our communities.

A fundraising event for Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

Event Information

Friday, May 12, 2017 from 7:00pm - 9:30pm

We are creating unique connecting experiences using words, music, movement and drama as a way to bring people together. The arts has a way of healing each of us one at a time and also collectively as a community. This is what we strive to do.

We are raising funds through June 2017 to support SIX free workshops for everyday people and those with limited access to the arts, asking the question, "What Matters to you?".

The National Endowment of the Arts has awarded a grant to the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary
 Art to create these workshops designed in partnership with community and cultural organizations. We invite participants to use word, music, movement and drama to create shared public performances.

Free innovative workshops taught by professional artists, writers and performers include:

1) A Writing Circle
 for Seniors at the Peekskill’s Field Library. People in their 50’s-90’s create rich memoir pieces inspired
by prompts such as “What mattered to me when I was six?”, “A conversation I wish to remember” and other
 provocative starters to explore what matters. A reading by our “elders” share their voices with the larger
 community. This program ran from March - May 2016 serving folks of diverse socio-economic backgrounds. This class was taught by writer and memoir writing facilitator, Cathy Wald who developed a great feeling of support and camaraderie in the group.

2) Family Theater Workshop, New Era Creative Space. Through drama and musical improvisation, families created performance pieces about the relationship between parents and children (ages 11-14) at a time of 
increasing independence, communication challenges, and vulnerability. Taught by director Leslie-Cruz and Jazz vocalist/music educator MJ Territo. Hosted by NECS director, Ridvan Foxhall. Playful drama skits and musical blues created by families sharing what matters. A joyful expression with parents, kids and best friends connecting through drama, words and music improvisation: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

3) I Am Here. I Belong. (Inter-Cultural Connections: 
Bilingual English-Spanish Theater), Embark Peekskill. Participants share What Matters to them in
their lives, community, culture and family, exploring their differences and similarities with the goal of mutual
 respect and understanding. Spanish speaking and English dominant participants from
 various corners of our community are invited. For adults and family. We ask participants to be 10+. This program runs from January - June 2017. Directed by Sol Miranda and Juana Pinyol. In collaboration with the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art performance series. Reading by Sol Miranda.

4) Maiden, Mother, Matriarch – Performance Art,
 Embark Peekskill. A diverse community of women examined: What matters in the past, present, future
 through a woman’s eyes. This program ran from Spring 2016 to Spring 2017 reaching hundreds between participants and audience members. Directed by Katie Schmidt-Feder with co-artists/directors, Kelly O'Connor, Deb Carlin Pohill and Marcy B. Freedman. Please enjoy this video of the final performance. Marcy B. Freedman concurrently held discussions among 60+ women from their 50's to 90's sharing their experience of aging. An encore presentation of what she discovered will be held on April 30, 2017 at 2PM at the Croton Free Libary in Croton, NY.

5) Penpal
/Mail Art Project: The Power of Handwritten Connections
What Matters to Kids in Peekskill and Elsewhere (around the world), Embark Peekskill. Children ages 9-14
 connected to a penpal to using words and pictures to tell each other about What Matters in their lives.
 This program ran in Spring 2017. Some of the works were donated to the Art for Allepo cause for the children Syrian refugees. Taught by poet/collage artist MaryAnn McCarra-Fitzpatrick and visual artist/musician Adam Love.

6) Performance Art in front of the What Matters Mural
Street interviews by performance artist, Marcy B. Freedman inquired what people thought of the mural and more importantly, what matters to them? Filmmaker Larry Horowitz recorded their responses to be reflected back to the public in a Youtube video to invite further inquiry from viewers. This event was widely attended by the community and by those who simply passed on the street from 11 AM to 3 PM on Nov. 12, 2016 a few days after the US Presidential election. The best viewing spot for the mural is 1045 Park St, next to the C-Town Supermarket in Peekskill, New York. (1 hour North of NYC along the Hudson River).

Funding Goal

This project is partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts under the fiscal sponsorship of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. Your donation on this site and by check is tax-deductible. To match the NEA grant, we need to raise an additional $40,000 to create these worthy public programs. To date, we have raised approx. 25K in in-kind donations (volunteered time and resources) and 5K in cash. We are actively seeking sponsors and donors for remaining approx. 10K budget . If you would like to give or know someone who would, please donate on this website or reach out to artist/project director, Lana Yu.

If you wish to donate by check:

Make check payable to HVCCA, Attn: The What Matters Project, HVCCA, 1701 Main Street PO Box 209, Peekskill, NY 10566.

Your gift goes 100% toward paying teaching artists and the expenses incurred to run these programs. So far we have been largely run on passion by community members giving their time and resources, yet we still have concrete costs that need to be covered. For us to receive funding from the NEA we are required to match their grant times two.


Information about What Matters programs and how you can get involved as a participant, volunteer or
 audience member: artist/project director, Lana Yu, lanacyu@gmail.com or 914-737-1141. More about What matters: www.lanayu.net

Sponsorship and donating to one or more of these programs

Sponsorship includes naming you and/or your organization on all media including all our program materials to the participants and the general public, including all print pieces, social media, Web, radio and newspaper announcements, and content. If you wish to create a new what matters experience with  your group please contact the artist, Lana Yu.

Thank you for caring and supporting what matters.

"Maiden Mother Matriach" what matters to a woman as she moves through life?

May 6, 2017

Real women share their very real stories with the community. Please enjoy this video

What Matters featured in Westchester Woman

October 13, 2016

Please enjoy this article in the press about the What Matters project!


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