In the spring of 2012, students from Natalie Pardo’s 11th grade English Language Arts class from the Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering collaborated with CUP and teaching artist John Dalessi to explore the steps to build power in New York City – specifically, how to become a City Council Member.

The group interviewed Antonio Reynoso, Chief of Staff for City Council Member Diana Reyna (of Council District 34 in Bushwick). Reynoso is also a 2013 City Council candidate for the 34th District. After becoming experts in the art of creative metaphors, they took all we had learned from our interview and research and created visual metaphors for the steps that are essential to running for City Council.

The group created a booklet as an introduction to what it takes to get elected to city government. They presented their work to other 11th graders at the Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering.

Resources & Links

The Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering (AUPE) is a public school in Bushwick with an urban planning theme-based curriculum.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Jane Carey, Meredith Degyansky, Antonio Reynoso, Sanborn-Hum, and Mamie Tinkler


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • John P. Dalessi
  • Project Lead
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Project Support
  • Christine Gaspar 
    Sam Holleran
  • The Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering
  • Students
  • Dimitri Agosto 
    Gendyliss Almanzar 
    Medelin Almanzar 
    Fausto Avinicio 
    Amaris Brignoni 
    Ramon Luciano
    Capellan Peguer 
    Christopher Estrella 
    Angel Flores 
    Rosa Gomez 
    Gabriel Marte 
    Fabian Morales 
    Juan Morales
    Luis Morales 
    Jaquan Robinson 
    Alexis Suarez 
    Josue Torres

  • Classroom Teacher
  • Natalie Pardo

  • Project Coordinator
  • Josh Lapidus

Robin Mooty