Video, photography, early childhood education and yoga all figure into the art of Grant Henry. Currently a resident of Brooklyn, New York, Henry, 35, grew up in Tucson. He gained a love of working with children through 10 years of teaching preschool at Temple Emanu-El, and his primary career goals still revolve around childhood education.
“I got into teaching when I was an undergraduate at the University of Arizona. I was 19 and my mother asked me to be an assistant at the preschool where she was teaching, and I loved it,” Henry says. His mother, Lyn Henry, has been the early childhood education director at Temple Emanu-El since 2003.
Henry developed an interest in video while in high school, where he spent a lot of time in the computer lab, working with Photoshop. “Video is my main passion, but I have dabbled in photography here and there,” he says. His experience as a preschool teacher, he explains, has allowed him to develop ways to keep kids engaged and comfortable in front of a camera.
At the UA, Henry majored in media arts and communications. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in film and digital technology from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. He moved to New York three years ago, seeking more opportunities for his work. In 2017, he earned a master’s degree in digital media design for learning from New York University, and completed a 200-hour training certification course to teach yoga.
“I had extra motivation to learn yoga,” Henry says. “When I was 23 I was diagnosed with chronic ulcerative colitis, and for about two years was in and out of the hospital.” He says that he improved his health through changing his diet and routines, but gives some credit for his improvement to a cousin who travels the world teaching yoga. She encouraged him to learn yoga and get certified to teach.
“I wouldn’t have been able to survive the stress of living in New York City without yoga,” Henry says.
“And now I really want to teach yoga to children.”
While training to teach yoga, Henry learned his teacher needed photos from the yoga studio, so he started a side career in photography. He describes his specialties as kids, yoga, and fitness, and his main clients for video and photography are yoga teachers and fitness apparel companies. He also would like to do bar mitzvahs and other types of life events.
Henry’s newest project is “Yogi Tales,” a program aimed at teaching 4- to 5-year-olds yoga through storytelling and music. He developed this program with a friend, Evan Nachimson, a musician.
“The children learn yoga poses while acting out a story and listening to music, so the program provides entertainment as well as education,” says Henry. “Yoga can help children with motor skills, breathing techniques, building self-esteem and confidence, and help children deal with the stresses that may come up in their lives.
“We’re excited about this program,” says Henry. “It emphasizes fun, and we are trying to be role models, especially for young boys, as an example of men who do yoga. I wish I had started when I was younger.”
Henry says he misses Arizona, and tries to get back to visit Tucson at least twice a year. He misses his family — his parents, Lyn and Ralph, and his brother, Steve, sister-in-law, Mindy, and their two kids, Ellie and Nate. Grant also misses his dog, Daisy, a 7-pound Yorkshire terrier he couldn’t take with him when he moved. But he does enjoy living in New York. He has joined a temple and has a girlfriend, Erica Chen, who is a yoga teacher. Future goals include learning to play a musical instrument and creating his own television show for children.