What life is about

My name is James, I used be known by Ashley and I’m a 2009 New Urban Arts alumnus. I’m writing to ask you to support a place that’s made a big difference in my life.

I went through most of high school thinking I was unusual. I was shy and awkward. But as soon I as I walked into New Urban Arts I knew it was the space and the community I wanted to grow in. I joined two writing mentoring groups. The next year, I dove headfirst into photography and learned that I was actually pretty good at it.


My piece in New Urban Arts 2009 summer program

New Urban Arts was the place I truly found myself.

Most importantly, I took away things here that school couldn’t teach me: like how to make friends with someone completely different than you, how never to give up on something even if all the doors are locked (because you can always build a new one), and how to build a fort to fit at least ten people in. I learned that sometimes, it’s okay not to know what’s going to happen, because finding out is really what life is about.

Now I’m a junior at Guilford College triple majoring in political science, gender studies, and philosophy with a minor in photography. I’ve spent my summers here at New Urban Arts as an intern, mentor and volunteer. I want to help more young people have the same opportunities I’ve had.

Growing up here in Providence, I know firsthand how hard it can be for young people. How few inspiring places there are for youth. 

You can support New Urban Arts and make a real difference.

We need your support. Every gift, big or small, keeps our doors open. I hope you’ll join me in supporting New Urban Arts’ annual campaign before the year ends.

a. James Escobedo
New Urban Arts graduate, 2009