About this Project

News Release

SEPTEMBER 26, 2008
CONTACT: JANE TENNEN (212) 652-2850 or jane.tennen@mail.cuny.edu


Helen Wheelock and Steve Elm, two senior Teaching Artists at Creative Arts Team (CAT) which is in residence at the City University of New York’s Office of Academic Affairs, will venture farther afield than their usual venues to bring CAT training to a group of undergraduate education students at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in the city of Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates. 

From October 4th to 18th, in addition to class time, the teaching artists will hold meetings and demonstrations for government agencies, schools, and community groups.  Like CUNY, which is the largest urban public university in the nation, UAEU is a top public educational institution in its region.  . 

Ms. Wheelock and Mr. Elm are among 50 professionals who, under CAT’s banner, use interactive drama to strengthen the academic and life skills of New York City students.  CAT was founded in 1974.

Typically, Ms. Wheelock and Mr. Elm work in public schools and preschools in the five boroughs.  They split their time between working directly with kids and training teachers to use CAT’s proven approach and methods.   Teacher training is especially rewarding, said Ms. Wheelock, who also serves as CAT’s director of early childhood programs. 

“CAT’s residency at UAEU will allow our students to gain a unique academic and artistic experience and help our students learn to use the arts as a catalyst to learning,” said Dr. James Mirrione, an American UAEU faculty member and CAT cofounder who arranged the residency.

The residency will serve as a pilot for future CUNY partnerships with UAEU, said John Mogulescu, Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the School of Professional Studies.  “We at CUNY are delighted that CAT is partnering with a leading public university in the Middle East.  We hope this is the foundation for a long and productive partnership between the two institutions.”

Ms. Wheelock and Mr. Elm are already making their packing lists.  In their luggage will be clothing, personal items, specially chosen storybooks, and an armful of puppets. 

However, the most significant item will not take up any space, says Ms. Wheelock.  “Our passion is for the power of CAT’s work and this wonderful opportunity to introduce it to a new group of people.  That’s when I feel most proud of what I do.”

The Creative Arts Team (CAT), founded in 1974, catalyzes New York City’s young people to develop and strengthen the three most essential competencies for the 21st Century: critical thinking, literacy, and social-emotional awareness.  Our cutting-edge approach, Applied Theatre, turns classrooms and community sites into supportive settings for young people to practice the attitudes and skills they need for success in school and in life.  CAT is a resident, University-wide initiative of The City University of New York – a true “people’s university” and the largest urban public university in the nation. 

Visit CAT’s website: www.cuny.edu/creativeartsteam
Contact CAT: (212) 652-2800 or cat@mail.cuny.edu