Jen Chantrtanapichate is an artist, community arts educator and activist from New York City. She has received formal arts training from Goucher College and the Tufts School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  She has a B.A. in Urban Studies and earned her Masters in Urban Planning from Hunter College's Department of Urban Planning and Policy. In 2012 she co-founded an arts youth program at the Sixth Street Community Center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Since then, she has been directing their thriving youth and adult programs. Prior to her work with Sixth Street Community Center, she gained experience as a teaching artist for Grand Street Settlement- a youth centered non-profit.  

After years of experiencing the inequality of arts access and education for NYC youth and adults, she is motivated to make art spaces accessible and inclusive for all.  The youth program that she directs at Sixth Street is an arts, creative writing, wellness and urban sustainability program. Roughly 90% of the youth that attend receive some form of financial aid and program fees are determined on a sliding scale based on income.  Her arts work with young people explore a range including but not limited to: drawing, painting, textile design, printmaking, sculpture and creative writing. Her investment in urban sustainability and environmental justice has fueled her to develop a regular exposure for inner city youth to urban agriculture through regular urban farming workshops at a local rooftop garden on top of the Earth School. As a way to integrate Sixth Street Community Center’s local community supported agriculture (CSA) program into the youth program at the center, she utilizes the weekly CSA veggies to develop cooking workshops. She believes providing youth living in urban settings with the tools to draw connections between the earth, the food we can grow and the food we eat is critical, as we often become disconnected to a food’s lifecycle when living in the city. 

Jen is certified in Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy (FOAT), a technique that accesses one’s inner body wisdom and expressive arts to gain deeper insight on any changes that one’s authentic self is seeking.  She feels passionate about using artistic expression as a vehicle to heal, empower, and build community.  In the spring of 2017, she expanded her community arts efforts internationally by developing and leading a pilot arts, storytelling and wellness program for a group of 20 kids ages 10 to 15, in Punta Gorda, Belize. 

Although she creates art in various mediums, her most known art is primarily expressed through custom jewelry that she makes. She is able to share her jewelry arts through her small Brooklyn based jewelry company, Crystal Chimera.  Always remaining active in her own community, in May 2015, she founded the grassroots community organization, Cleanup North Brooklyn, which advocates for environmental justice, particularly in response to waste inequity. The group is entirely run by roughly 50 locally based volunteers/families who either live or work in north Brooklyn. In early 2017, she became a partner at Studio X Bushwick, a multi-disciplinary studio focused on creative wellness and community growth.  When Jen isn’t busy at Sixth Street, taking classes, making jewelry or organizing with Cleanup North Brooklyn, she can be found at her local park with her dog, Luna.  

 

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