Friday
Jul312015

Introducing Vox Culture's Marketing Coordinator, Nadir Hashmi

What attracted you to Vox?

It can sometimes be difficult to find your place and a sense of belonging in a new city, a new country, without a stable structural environment like a work or college setting. Thus, it was actually a good stroke of chance and luck when I met someone from Vox Culture at a Halloween gathering last fall. Breaking into conversation, I learnt about their mission to solve social causes in creative ways, and I talked about some of my key interests related to writing and travel, as well as my background in marketing. I ended up discovering a space where I could contribute through my skills and also break into the fold of the intriguing metropolis of Houston. It was an inviting place for like-minded creative professionals where I felt I was needed, and where I could belong and make some difference.

What is your favorite ice cream? 

Chocolate fudge brownie. Brownie chip chocolate fudge. Choco chunk brownie chips... Doesn't matter how outrageous and ridiculous the flavor is, but if it has the word chocolate in it, it's for me!

What are your favorite things to do in Houston?

So far... Walking around the museum district, discovering new hiking trails in the city's green spaces, taking in the aroma of coffee while listening to the ambient music in cafes, and stumbling upon bits and pieces of what Texans call Texas! With less than a year in this gigantic city, I'm still wandering about, trying to explore and find stuff to do.

What are some main differences between living in Houston and Pakistan?

Life in Pakistan is very different from what we witness in Houston, and America, in general. The sputtering throttle of an auto-rickshaw darting its way through winding lanes of chaotic traffic is one of the norms in major cities of Pakistan. The hustle and bustle of an exploding population packed in congested metros results in this chaos, with motorcycles and cars sometimes even dodging traffic on the wrong side of the road. The sight of a donkey cart or a herd of cows crossing the road is also not unheard of. The men, almost always men, leading these animals will often be sweating as profusely as their sources of livelihood, working in sweltering heat for the major part of the year. Their measly wages can still get them a decent meal at a roadside hawker's eatery, perhaps a mix of chopped fruit with spices or some lentils and bread, served by a child who never went to school. A cup of tea and lively gossip usually follows, from topics as diverse as corruption allegations on the government, performance of the national cricket team, and a recent bomb blast in a certain part of the country. All until the power on the rusted pedestal fan runs out, and they feel its time to return to work. Some expensive cars might park in front of the roadside tables, and their occupants will calmly walk past the unkempt chairs to a large department store behind them. Life can be cruel and difficult for many Pakistanis, but yet beautiful in the way it just goes on past their so many troubles.

 

 

Friday
Jul312015

Artist of the Month, SonKiss'd!

This month we are featuring SonKiss'd dance troupe that hails from Houston, TX 

 

How did SonKiss'd form? 

Sonkiss'd Dance Theater Started off with a group of guys with a true passion for Christ and entertainment who decided to create a platform through dance to inspire and create experiences so powerful audiences don't leave the same. 

 

What challenges and successes have you encountered? 

We put all the challenges and successes in one category and call it experiences lol. We're constantly learning, growing, adding and taking away. A challenge can easily turn into a success once you figure out a way to over come and success can easily become a challenge if you stop being innovative and presenting fresh ideas, especially in arts and entertainment. 

 

 What ways can the community support SonKiss'd?

I think the best way the community can support us is to continue supporting our concerts and events and reposting our videos and fliers. We want to see the world and we want the world to see us! 

 

 


Friday
Jul312015

Colors of Houston

Vox Culture will be hosting its 7th anniversary fundraiser on the evening of Sunday, September 27th, 2015 from 6:00PM-9:00PM at Chateaux Crystale. Our theme this year, and the title of our event, is The Colors of Houston. The event will feature a range of Houston-based artists from the realms of dance, spoken word poetry, live painting, and more. Vox Culture’s fundraisers are unique in that we leave our participants with a message on the state of the world through various forms of creative expression.

 

The Colors of Houston will feature the numerous ethnicities that make up the United States and examine how we can find unity in diversity. For example, a live painter will be present to illustrate this by asking the audience, “What color represents you?” With the issue of race dominating headlines over the past year, we believe there is no better time to celebrate diversity and promote acceptance. We hope you would join us in this endeavor.

 

GOAL: The Colors of Houston will help fund Vox Culture through 2015 and into the 2016 fiscal year. Funds raised will support Vox Culture's partner of the year, the Houston Independent School District (HISD), with whom we are working to alleviate challenges within Education, specifically literacy. The funds will also support our projects for 2016, where we will be addressing the issue of Economic Development amongst under-served neighborhoods. Finally, funds raised at The Colors of Houston will help support staff, artist honorariums, technical equipment, and internship opportunities, as well as bring us closer towards the goal of creating scholarships for high school students seeking to pursue educational advancement or careers in arts or advocacy related fields.

 

SPONSORSHIP: Interested in sponsoring The Colors of Houston? 

We are offering several opportunities to sponsor our fundraiser. To find out how, and what is received with each option, please send a message to viktor.kopic@voxculture.org.  

Monday
Jun222015

What does Art offer to Education?

Arguably arts as a means of academic and personal development is an important element of any education. Still, it is often assumed that Arts in education is only for people aspire to become artists. The challenge faced by educators then is to justify the existence of arts in the school curriculum on the basis of its contribution in boosting academic achievement in subjects such as literature, physics, math and ‘non-art subjects’. As students face the daunting task of learning new content, educators are poised to determine effective teaching methods where students not only acquire knowledge of a specific subject but improve self-awareness, self-esteem, inclusion, creativity and a greater level of comfort working with their peers.

While some teaching methods may have little to do with art, it has been argued that arts-based methods are integral to expression where students have difficulties describing experiences and feelings in words. The integration of psychological and educational teaching methods with a variety of creative therapies such  drama, music, painting, and  photography is Informed by contemporary research, and meet the objectives of the principles drawn from the Positive Psychology, Social and Emotional Learning framework .

To emphasize, general education reforms, such as the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) hold schools accountable for standardized test scores in mathematics and reading while emphasizing the four pillars within the bill:

  • Accountability: To ensure those students who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency.

  • Flexibility: Allows school districts flexibility in how they use federal education funds to improve student achievement.

  • Research-based education: Emphasizes educational programs and practices that have been proven effective through scientific research.

  • Parent options: Increases the choices available to the parents of students attending Title I schools.

While the quality of teaching and inter-personal skills of the teacher matter, the increase in students from culturally diverse backgrounds means that educators often have to revise their own teaching practices to accommodate and reflect social, cultural, religious difference and  boost academic achievement. Brainstorming for example may enable students of all ability and cultural background to introduce ideas in a nonjudgmental context. Teachers are able to modify the content, process and teaching methods to suit an individual student’s need. To achieve this, they use indirect approaches to learning such as in-cooperating arts into learning. For example, Helene L.Perry changes the content of math problems for middle school students to reflect their personal interests, streets in their neighborhoods, and interactions in their social lives. Educators use collective judgment based on related research and informed knowledge on current educational approaches which have produced results.

Nonetheless, the usefulness of the approaches that schools implement within the context of the educational system given the available resources is debatable. Even though arts-based methods - the use of play and other creative activities have long been incorporated into learning there is still a need for more research on the effectiveness of these approaches, how they are achieved and how they can be sustained.

Undoubtedly, certain conditions may foster or impede students learning and coordination. For example, schools can make little difference in overcoming the background factors that negatively affect a student’s academic development/achievement. They include student’s truancy, lack of interest, and the complexity of the content of study.

More research is needed if educators are to produce a powerful case for positioning the arts at the center of primary and secondary school curriculums as a means to achieving the goals set out in educational reforms. To succeed in the long term educators require commitment, sufficient resources, and a policy context that allow for unconventional teaching and learning methods to thrive.

REF:

Chisholm, I. M. (1994). Preparing teachers for multicultural classrooms. The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students14(11), 43-68.

Coholic, D. (2010). Arts activities for children and young people in need: Helping children to develop mindfulness, spiritual awareness and self-esteem. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Marzano, R. J. (2004). Building background knowledge for academic achievement: Research on what works in schools. Ascd.

Kohl, H. R. (2012). The Muses Go to School: Inspiring Stories about the Importance of Arts in Education. The New Press.

Taccogna, J. (Ed.). (2003). Powerful teaching: Developmental assets in curriculum and instruction. Search Institute.

Zakaras, L., & Lowell, J. F. (2008). Cultivating demand for the arts: Arts learning, arts engagement, and state arts policy. Rand Corporation.

 

Wednesday
Jun102015

Introducing Vox Culture's Public Relations Team Leader Shen Ge!

Please welcome Vox Culture's Public Relations Team Leader Shen! Shen is in charge of directing, leading, and assigning tasks to the Public Realtions Team. In addition, reaching and seeking out to media contacts. 


I am formally educated in Aerospace engineering and physics, butdoing solar energy work in two solar companies. I also like to do research, photography,and poetry on the side.

What attracted you to Vox?

VOX = Culture + Art + Social Causes I care about all three. Sounds like a good combo.

What is your favorite ice cream? 

My favorite ice cream is either Strawberry or Vanilla. 

If you can be any famous person for a day, who would it be and why?

I would be myself. No one better than half-tapped potential.

What are your favorite things to do in houston?

A few of my favorite things to do are explore new restaurants, cafes, and bars, meet new people, go to art shows and poetry readings and collaborate with other locals on creative projects.

 

 

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