FOR ARTISTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
YWCA of Brooklyn–Brooklyn, NY
Each Tuesday evening in April 2011, five residents of the Brooklyn YWCA could be found stitching sock monkeys. fresh art volunteers, AnnMarie Harris-Anderson and Rebecca Sievers, facilitated the group. One of the residents brought her 12 year-old son, who turned out to be an enthusiastic sock monkey maker. Each of the participants, with one exception, was able to finish their own very cute and very huggable sock monkey.
Slope Geriatric Day Center-Brooklyn, NY
During the months of July and August, fresh art staff and volunteers led a
four-week sock monkey workshop for 12 seniors with dementia at the Park
Slope Geriatric Day Center in Brooklyn. Volunteers Alexandra Blatt and
Sara Greenfield, Exhibitions Coordinator Beverly Bergman, and fresh art's
Executive Director Suzanne Kreps taught the workshop along with the
Center's staff and volunteers.
Avenue Womens Shelter of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Sock monkey volunteers Cassandra Oberhausen, Suzi Bigliani, Rebecca Sievers and Suzanne Kreps taught a five-week sock monkey-making workshop to 8-10 enthusiastic participants. “Where have you been?”-one resident inquired at the first workshop. All enjoyed a good time creating wonderful monkeys.
Avenue Womens Shelter of Lenox Hill
monkey volunteers and workshop leaders Cassandra Oberhausen and
Natasha Browne taught an eight week sock monkey workshop to ten
participants at this womens shelter. The women enjoyed the workshop
and several created elaborate apparel for their sock monkeys.
Hospital's Chemical Dependency Out Patient Clinic
In March 2008,
the fourth sock monkey sewing workshop took place at Bellevue
Hospital Chemical Dependency Clinic. The workshop was staffed
by Intern, Jacqueline Han and Art Therapist, Lena Friedman, who
demonstrated the sewing techniques to eight to ten men and women.
The photographs below picture some of the monkeys the artists made
for themselves. The group reported that they learned about completing
tasks and raising their self-esteem.
Ave. Women's Shelter of Lenox Hill Neighborhood
"Sock Monkeys are Back!!" declared
one of the women at Park Ave.Women's Shelter on
the first evening of fresh art's eight-week long Sock Monkey Workshop
beginning in March of 2008. Back by popular demand, volunteers from
the sock monkey volunteers sewing group
assisted intern Jacqueline.
St. Martin de Porres Transitional Housing Residence, Brooklyn, NY
Sock Cat Workshop
November 2007-March 2008
2007 through 2008, the staff of fresh art created a workshop with
a new twist on Sock Animals. The Sock Cat Project consisted of three
separate sessions, two of which were lead by Beverly Bergman for
12-weeks each. The women at St. Martin de Porres Transitional
Residence were guided to think about the difference between
domestic and feral cats, how to make them look real, and how to
place them in an miniaturized environment of a set design, which
completed the third part of the Sock Cat Project.
The Sock Cat Project will be installed in a window display in New
This workshop is funded by the Darwin Urffer Foundation.
in February 2007, fresh
an on-going sock monkey workshop with the women of SCI's
St. Martin de Porres Transitional Residence in Brooklyn.
Eight to ten women attend the weekly sewing group taught by Beverly
Street Settlement Workshops
2007 – 2008
in the summer of 2007 and running through 2008 fresh
monkey volunteers led two 10 week workshops to the residents of
Street Settlement's East Third Street Residence. The five
the workshop made these lively, well dressed primates.
next sock monkey workshop began in January 2006 and ran for four
consecutive Wednesday evenings. Six fresh
taught ten to twelve women from Lenox Hill Women's Shelter
on the Upper East Side of Manhattan how to make their own sock monkeys.
creating of the sock monkeys, by all of these artists with special
needs, has a healing effect. During the time they are sewing, stuffing
the limbs, deciding on the clothing, the buttons for the eyes, these
artists are engaged in the moments of creativity that make them
forget they are in recovery, that they are homeless, that they are
ill. The sock monkeys become an object they can make, control and
manipulate in ways that please them. They become part of the sewing
groups community and experience a healthy camaraderie. And when
they are finished, whenever they look at their sock monkey, they
will remember with pride, that they created something unique.
G. Olivieri Center Workshop
– November 2005
October and November 2005, over a five week period of Saturday afternoons,
the Sock Monkey Volunteers lead a sock monkey sewing workshop for
women at the Antonio G. Olivieri Center, a drop
in center for homeless women located in midtown Manhattan. Approximately
eight to ten women took part in the workshop. The women created
inspired adornments and clothing for the sock monkeys they made.
Dependency Clinic at Bellevue Hospital Workshop
July 2005, the third sock monkey sewing workshop took place at The
Chemical Dependency Clinic at Bellevue Hospital. The workshop
was staffed by volunteer Ann Peden Robertson, fresh art Director,
Suzanne Kreps and Art Therapist, Lena Friedman, who demonstrated
the sewing techniques to eight to ten men and women. The photograph
above pictures some of the monkeys the artists made for themselves.
Ivory House Workshop
– November 2004
second sock monkey sewing workshop took place at the Cecil
Ivory House, a Bowery Resident’s Committee residence
in Harlem. Over five consecutive Monday evenings in October and
November of 2004, fifteen to twenty clients participated in the
workshop taught by six fresh art volunteers.
Residents Committee Workshop
three week Saturday workshop taught by three volunteers and veteran
sock monkey sewers to five residents of The Bowery Residents
Committee. The sock monkey sewers helped the residents
make their own sock monkey dolls.
Street Settlement Workshop
October 2000, fresh
its Art Product Development and Marketing Program with a sock monkey
doll workshop at the Grand Street Settlement, in
Lower Manhattan. This first twelve-week workshop taught at-risk
teen girls from the Lower East Side how to sew the dolls, along
with basic marketing skills.
MONKEY VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
2001 – Present
September 2001, fresh
out its first call for volunteers to help sew sock monkey dolls
to help raise funds for its Art Product Development and Marketing
program. Through a posting in the New York Cares (a non-profit volunteer
placement organization) newsletter, we received dozens of phone
calls and began a sock monkey sewing circle with twelve volunteers.
Four years later, women of all ages and from all walks of life—editors,
scientists, artists, teachers, graphic designers, fashion consultants,
writers, students, retail managers and seniors come together every
other Monday evening at the fresh
offices in SoHo to hand sew sock monkeys and have conversation.fresh
blessed to have such a committed group of people who believe in
the importance of supporting our artists with special needs through
the donation of the sock monkeys they create.
The sock monkey volunteers also participate in fresh
workshops at drop in centers for homeless women and at supportive
housing facilities for formerly homeless men and women. At these
workshops we show people how to make their own sock monkeys.
Sock monkeys can be purchased via the web site and
through Pay Pal or an appointment can be made to stop by the fresh
to see available sock monkeys.