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5 spots left in Harlem printmaking class for middle schoolers

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For middle schoolers looking for a fun activity during spring break, a printmaking class in Harlem still has five spots available.

"Print Change," a five-day printmaking intensive, offers 12 students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades living in Harlem the opportunity to learn how to silkscreen, print with linocuts and visit art studios and local museums. The class will be held from April 14 to 18, the official spring break for public school students, about which Time Out New York first reported last Friday.

Seven students are currently enrolled in the class, said Petrushka Bazin Larsen, program director for The Laundromat Project, a community-based nonprofit arts organization that brings artists and art programming to laundromat spaces in Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Hunts Point. The organization is offering the class through Works in Progress, its arts education program. The application deadline has been extended to March 24.

"There's a lot of programming for early childhood and there's a lot of programming for high school but sometimes, middle school gets forgotten," Bazin Larsen said.

The class also looks at the history of printmaking and its role in sociopolitical movements as well as contemporary artists who integrate printmaking into their work in a socially relevant way, Bazin Larsen explained.

"It's going to root these techniques in actual events that we have experienced as a country," she said. "It's just to say that art making isn't always art for art's sake. It can be used as a tool to organize people around a particular topic."

Shani Peters, a Harlem-based artist and educator who works on videos, sculptures and installations, will teach the class. Last year, she served as an artist-in-residence through Create Change, the organization's artist development program.

The historical component of the course will focus on the 1950s to the present. Topics will include posters from the Cuban Revolution from 1953 to 1959; Emory Douglas, the minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 to the 1980s; poster printmaking work from the American Indian Movement, a Native American civil rights organization founded in 1968 in Minnesota; and posters that are reflective of Harlem residents.

Students will also learn about the hip-hop and graffiti movements as well as street artists such as Swoon and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

"We want to hear from them but we show them other people's work to help them spark their own imaginations and get their minds and creative wheels turning," Peters said.

Sliding scale tuition is available for the class. Students' work will be displayed at The Laundry Room on 143 W. 116th St. The organization plans to offer the course again during the summer and throughout the year if there is a demand for it.

The printmaking intensive will be held from April 14-18 on Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Dream Center at 203-205 W. 119th St.

Those who are interesting in participating can sign up online here.

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