Casita Maria


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The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Exhibition and Ceremony

This past weekend, we celebrated the 2010 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for Middle School students and High School art students! We are now gearing up for the final ceremony at Casita Maria on Saturday!

Last week’s ceremony for middle school artists and writers was absolutely packed. At Scholastic, Inc young artists stood proudly next to their artwork on display. We expected over four hundred people to attend! There were so many guests that we had to broadcast the ceremony to another space.

As students, families and friends moved through the gallery, I became a little more nervous about speaking in front of everyone. I worked on my speech for weeks and often rehearsed it in front of my computer screen or patient boyfriend, blushing. Speaking to the 2010 Award Recipients was so important to me – I didn’t just want to encourage, I wanted to ignite. While supportive parents, friends and teachers are some of the best resources any young artist can ask for – an artist’s sense of agency is essential to realize early on.

At the ceremony, each recipient walks up to the microphone and says what school and award he or she received. Many students took the brief public speaking lightly – often breaking nervousness with funny remarks. It was wonderful to see everyone gathered as one New York Unit. I think that the recipients left with a real feeling of community.


Filed under: art gallery, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards,

And so it began…

Originally uploaded by CasitaMaria

Lila Downs arrived at Casita Maria on Thursday afternoon with her kind staff and band mates. They ate lunch in our conference room (and no one was shy to finish the brownies!). After lunch, Lila and the band went through our gallery. We had just finished putting up the artwork from the New York Region Scholastic Art Awards. They were very impressed! Some could not believe that this was “student” work.

Later on in the afternoon I could hear Lila Downs warm up. From my desk I heard the range of her vocal chords.  Listening to her practice felt almost too private – like I was intruding on some great magic before the performance. I tried to concentrate on my work but it was hard! Her presence was so graceful and humble. When she smiles, she means it.

As six drew near, the phone did not stop ringing: “how can I get there?” “What is the status of the waiting list?” “I can’t BELIEVE Lila Downs is here!”

Our performance space felt like it was going to burst. No one could resist the energy of the room. Or when Lila Downs first walked on stage! The crowd roared and then danced. Some of the audience brought their hands to their cheeks in awe and celebration. Lila Downs is more than a performer. She is a presence.

We are so proud to look back on that night. We cannot thank Lila Downs, her wonderful band, generous staff and Carnegie Hall enough.

Filed under: Community Sing, music

Smile! Casita’s Camera Roll

We Are

Jacqueline Weld Drake

Chairman Emeritus
Norrisa O’Keeffe

Vice Chairman
Benigno Rodriguez-Cubeñas

Mario Buccellati, II

John E. Avery

Nancy Barry
John L. Bernbach
Martha Bograd
Elizabeth A. Caldas
Ambassador Paul L. Cejas
Gaetana Enders
Miguel A. Fuentes, Jr.
Alan G. Levin
Alberto Mariaca
Alberto Mejia
Liliana Melo de Sada
Violy McCausland Seve
Joseph Unanué, Sr.
Saundra Whitney
Michael L. Ziegler, Esq.

Chairman’s Council
Daniel Brodsky
Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Anne Eisenhower Flöttl
Wolfgang K. Flöttl
Sergio Millerman
Frank T. Modica
Lewis S. Ranieri
Pilar Crespi Robert

Executive Director
Sarah Calderon