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Inspiring U | Oct 31, 2023

What's New With U? October


As we enter into a new month, we hope that Usdan will serve as a source of joy and inspiration for the members of our community. Please read on for some bright spots from October.



We all know that Usdan is the best camp on Long Island (if not the entire country - though, perhaps we're a bit biased). So let's make it official! Please remember to vote for Usdan once per day, every day from now until December 15! The only way that we can win is if everyone in our community votes consistently every day. Please share the link with your friends and family to ensure that everyone knows that Usdan is the best camp on Long Island!


This series not only seeks to highlight the remarkable work of our alumni, but also to explore all of the amazing career paths that studying the arts at Usdan can offer to our students. 

Introducing Hannah Berson, Deputy Executive Director of New York City Public Schools Arts Office:

The majority of Usdan alums pursue careers in arts, arts administration or arts education. In this month's spotlight, we had the pleasure of catching up with one such alumna, Hannah Berson, recently appointed Deputy Executive Director of the New York City Public Schools Arts Office. Hannah is leading the development of the Arts Hub, the Arts Office’s first brick-and-mortar space. The Arts Hub brings together school leaders, teachers, students, and artists in a central space to collaborate, create and learn - just like Usdan! As the Deputy Executive Director, Hannah is spearheading arts education for the largest school district in the country serving nearly one million students. 

Prior to joining the New York City Public Schools Arts Office, she served as the Director of Programs and Assessment at Exploring the Arts, a nonprofit organization founded by the legendary Tony Bennett and his wife, Susan, a former public school teacher. The organization developed innovative after-school internship programs and performing arts career pathways for students from partner schools. 

Reflecting on her days at Usdan, when she was an early elementary-aged student, Hannah's memories may be a bit fuzzy, but two main things stood out. First, how cold the pools were first thing in the morning, and secondly, her time in the visual arts studio. For Hannah, this was an opportunity to explore painting and drawing, a departure from her year-round dance classes. It was a special chance for her to experience a different art form. Reflecting on the experience, she stated, "I remember a feeling of 'I can try anything!' - what could be more important for a young person's (or any person's) creativity and growth?"  

Congratulations to Hannah on this new position, we can't wait to see all that you accomplish as the new Deputy Executive Director!

Are you a Usdan alum, or do you know a Usdan alum who would is doing something amazing? If so, please email and tell us all about it, and you (or they) could be featured in our next newsletter!


Earlier this month, Usdan was honored to join our nonprofit partner, Ramona's Gift to Music (RGM), for an award celebration at Brentwood High School. This past summer, RGM awarded scholarships to nine talented student musicians from Brentwood - and three students from other districts - to attend Usdan. All of the students participated in either the Band or Orchestra. Usdan has a strong commitment to making our program financially accessible, and we are so thankful for partners like Ramona's Gift to Music who help us bring students passionate about music and the arts to Usdan.

If you know a Usdan student that is doing something amazing that you want to share with our community in our Student Spotlight, please let us know

Artists in Residence Updates

The Knights - Artists in Residence, 2020 - 23

From Usdan to Carnegie Hall!

We are extremely happy for our Artists in Residence for the past four years, The Knights, who commenced their 2023-24 series at Carnegie Hall this past week. They will be playing premieres of works by Chris Thile, Du Yun, Jessie Montgomery & Michi Wiancko, and Anna Clyne, with special guest performances by Thile, Wu Man, Magos, and Jeffrey Kahane. Pictured above is The Knights at Carnegie Hall and Usdan Executive Director Lauren Brandt Schloss on opening night with The Knights Board Chair Graham Parker (far left) and Graham's husband, Dr. Adam Benson (middle), who are also Usdan parents. Congratulations to The Knights!


Superhero Clubhouse - Artists in Residence 2022-24

Lanxing (Lani) Fu and Jackie Rivera, both Artists in Residence at Usdan and members of Superhero Clubhouse, are performing in a new show that was recently reviewed in the New York Times and Vulture. In the production titled "Helen," Lani stars as the title character, and Jackie plays Menelaus, Hektor, and Hekuba. Presented at the La Mama Experimental Theater Club, this production presents a feminist reinterpretation of the legend of Helen of Troy, told from Helen's perspective.  Congratulations to Lani and Jackie!


Fall Into Usdan


Here's what's happening this Fall!



Do you know someone who is thinking of sending a child to Usdan this summer for the first time? We invite families to take a tour and experience our beautiful campus and meet our friendly staff! We will be hosting tours on November 19, December 3, and December 17. To register, please keep an eye out for our email announcement or call us at 631.643.7900.