Town Hall & Con Edison Host Black History Month Student Poster & Essay Contest Winners Today

Art will imitate life as six grade school children receive top honors as winners of The Town Hall-Con Edison 2017 Black History Month Student Poster & Essay Contest on Wednesday, May 10 at 5 p.m. at The Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street). This year's winners are: Benny Josie Collado (P.S. 4 Duke Ellington School in Manhattan), Isabella Rodriguez (P.S. 4 Duke Ellington School in Manhattan), Destinee Charles (P.S. 189 The Bilingual School in Brooklyn), Monie Michel (P.S. 189 The Bilingual School in Brooklyn), Mario Sosa (P.S. 114X in The Bronx) & Kai Collado (Jose De Diego School MS 84 in Brooklyn).

Every February, The Town Hall and Con Edison present a variety of performances from ballet and modern dancers, to African drummers, violinists, spoken word artists and more to celebrate Black History -- free of charge -- for public school children in grades three through eight, and their teachers. Following the February performances, a Black History Month Poster & Essay Contest is held for children who attended. The contest encourages children to think critically about the performance they saw, as well as express themselves through words and pictures. Six winners are selected & receive an award of $50, and their winning posters & essays are featured for one year on The Town Hall website.

The February performances at Town Hall were by The Black Iris Project, a ground-breaking ballet collaborative that celebrates diversity and black history. Founded in 2016 by Jeremy McQueen, it includes predominantly minority dancers who perform original and cross-disciplinary pieces. In addition to performing its visionary works, the Black Iris Project also works to provide ballet education to young people to foster an appreciation and knowledge of dance. Their ballet performances in February at Town Hall featured the stories of Langston Hughes, Nina Simone, Arthur Mitchell, Augusta Savage, and Dizzy Gillespie & also included a spoken word/rap narrator who spoke about these artists' lives and work.

The Town Hall's Black History Month was sponsored by Con Edison and supported by the Ford Foundation. This and other programs are made possible, in part, by the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the Ford Foundation.

The Town Hall is among New York City's most historic venues. Built in 1921 by a group of suffragettes, The Town Hall began as a lecture hall and public debate forum and grew to be a national landmark institution for arts, culture and education. Over the decades, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, Billie Holiday, Igor Stravinsky, Marian Anderson, Bob Dylan and MiLes Davis have graced the stage. It was home to the legendary radio program, America's Town Meeting of the Air, dozens of historic albums and recordings, and American debuts of musical legends. Today, the Hall boasts the very best in music performances, spoken word, comedy and dance, including speaking engagements with residents and senators, live broadcasts of Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, and a number of new and critically acclaimed music series.

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