As Henry presents his drawing of urban planning, the rest of the class applauds. Virtually, that is. All amazing and inspiring. Watching the video of a 9-year old student, you’d think you’re watching an architect in the making.
SUPtown, which name derives from ‘what’s up town’, is dealing with the current crises as required by the pandemic. The school of arts and music offer lessons for a wide range of ages, but the core of its business comes from young kids and teenagers.
Michael Gilsinan and Gigi Lau Gilsinan, the owners of SUPtown met while they were both studying at The New School in New York City. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Gigi immigrated to the U.S in 2014 and fell in love with the Jersey boy.
SUPtown’s first branch, Fort Lee School of Music was founded in 2010 by Michael who has a master’s degree in classical guitar. His mission was to help aspiring musicians and artists advance their skills, unleash creativity, and develop the tools they need to thrive in other aspects of life.
As Gigi came on board as a partner in life and business, she incorporated new classes into the program. With a background in architecture and urban policy, she wanted to share her love for design with the younger generation. From cartoon to city drawing, to figure drawing, Gigi wants to unleash the architect and designer inside each student.
The couple who is currently based in Manhattan is conducting all classes virtually. “Since the shutdown, it’s been very strange. We are now slowly and gradually coming back to a normal enrollment online”. During this summer, they organized five virtual concerts and presentations.
“We are trying to make the most of the current situation. A virtual lesson still gives students something to look forward to and get feedback from their teacher. It’s an incentive to keep practicing. It’s important for students to keep preparing and performing”, Michael said.
In the fall of 2019, the SUPtown branch opened in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. “In fact, we designed the second location and we built it ourselves”. The facility, up until Covid19, was a multi-functional space, holding events, expositions, meetings, concerts, and all kinds of gatherings.
Three months after the Manhattan inauguration, the pandemic hit. Like so many businesses who had to pivot in a matter of weeks, the school is now almost 50% of its original capacity by switching to online classes. “Our teachers are phenomenal artists and many of them have a master’s or doctoral degree in music and arts”.
SUPtown and Fort Lee provide students an exciting and engaging learning environment to take music, visual arts, and design lessons for kids, adults, and senior citizens, in both private and group lesson options. A great way to put a smile on our faces!
To have more info about SUPtown, visit https://suptown.nyc