hello video!

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Our new video “The Messy Artist – An Art Studio for Kids” is now proudly showing on the home page of our website and our youtube channel, and we could not be more thrilled with the way it has turned out.  Catherine Stratton of 9Beach Films has created an insightful, delightful gem of a film featuring our art studio and students.

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The video shoot occurred one day in the spring when Catherine filmed four different classes.  She is a one-woman operation: shooting, doing sound, and all editing.  We were able to get an exclusive interview with Catherine after she had finished our video.

Donna Bernstein (CEO/creator of The Messy Artist) and Catherine Stratton of 9Beach Films.
Donna Bernstein (CEO/creator of The Messy Artist) and Catherine Stratton of 9Beach Films.

1.  How did you get started making films?

My first job was cutting documentaries on 16mm film for the PBS series, Frontline and Nova. I worked in an editing shop located in Times Square, when it was still scary. A very different place than it is now! Shooting and editing a film was a very different beast back then. Without a great deal of funding, it wasn’t possible to make a film on your own, from “soup to nuts,” as it is today with digital technologies.

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2.  What is your favorite part of the process?

I love shooting and editing. I like doing both because, when I’m shooting, I know what  I’m going to need when I go to edit. Since I don’t use scripts, it’s important to find and look out for those natural life moments that will move the story forward and engage emotionally with the audience.

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3.  Have you ever found yourself in any tricky situations while shooting?

There’s no ideal shoot. One way to plan for “problems” is to have any tools or extra supplies on me that may come in handy. Sometimes, though, that’s not enough and you just need to figure out a “fix” which usually means figuring out an alternate way to get what you want or, in some cases, to realize you can’t get what you wanted so you need to find something else that will work just as well.

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4.  We hear you just won an award from Channel 13 – congratulations!  Could you tell us more about this?

PBS holds a weekly contest called Reel13 on its website, www.reel13.org. My film, Sutton Clock Shop, won a year and a half ago but they recently held a new contest in which the Staff chose their favorite three. Mine was one of those chosen to compete and it won another round.

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5.  How was it to shoot at The Messy Artist?

Shooting at The Messy Artist was a real treat. The space was large and colorful and had good lighting — all great for filmmaking. The kids were wonderful and, because they are kids, they were completely at ease with my camera. After a few curious looks, they didn’t even notice I was there! Donna and the other teachers were patient and they didn’t seem to mind when I ordered them around a little bit. 🙂

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6.  Besides The Messy Artist, what have been your favorite shoots?

How did you know that one of my favorite shoots was at The Messy Artist? Well, you’re right! Every place I’ve shot is so different. I’d say my least and my favorite place to shoot is one in the same:  the New York City Subway. It was challenging in so many ways:  I wasn’t allowed to use a tripod, I was using a very heavy camera in dark places, lots of people and, well, shooting on a moving train does have its challenges  . . . but it was also so exciting. I never knew what was going to happen next, or what I’d see or hear. There is so much life going on down there.

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Thanks so much for the video and interview, Catherine!

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hello blood donors!

On Sunday July 28, our art studio was transformed for a unique event. The easels and paint – gone.  The paper and clay – gone.  Summer camp and birthday party supplies – also gone.  All were moved out of the way so that the American Red Cross could set up their equipment for a blood drive.

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“This was our first blood drive and we were thrilled with the way it turned out,” said Donna Bernstein (our CEO here at The Messy Artist).  “We moved to this location in East Hanover last summer and have been wanting to do a blood drive ever since. It was fantastic to see our students’ families and the community come in and be so generous to donate blood.”

Donna Bernstein of The Messy Artist with Jen Rosenblatt of Philly Pretzel Company of Livingston
Donna Bernstein of The Messy Artist with Jen Rosenblatt of Philly Pretzel Company of Livingston

Donors came from all over the local area to donate: Millburn (Bernstein’s home town), Parsippany, Summit, Bloomfield, Chatham, Nutley, East Hanover and Orange were a few of the towns represented.

Instructor Anthony donating blood
Instructor Anthony donating blood

“We put out art supplies so kids could be entertained while their parents donated blood, and local merchants donated coupons so that we were able to provide a gift bag to each donor.  Godfather’s Brick Oven Pizza and Philly Pretzel Factory of Livingston each donated food for today, so the donors had a nice meal or snack to enjoy after giving blood, ” added Donna.

One of our students and her dad before he donated blood
One of our students and her dad before he donated blood

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We host community service events every season.  In June, we held a drop-in and play fundraiser for one of our students and kidney disease research (see hello Savannah!).  To learn more about upcoming community service projects, please check back.   We are finalizing details for book drive in September, so stay tuned!

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nj kids art class blood drive