Our neighbors at Crossfit Providence, 425 Washington Street, will host a Workout of the Day (WOD) benefitting New Urban Arts on Thursday, February 7. Part of the workout will involve making art at New Urban Arts! Proceeds will go to the Jeanne Risica Fund for Art Education, a Rhode Island Foundation fund exclusively benefiting New Urban Arts. The Risica family established the fund in 2011 in memory of Jeanne Risica, a Rhode Island artist who passed away in 2010, shortly after her first solo show in New York City. John Risica, Jeanne’s brother, is an athlete at Crossfit Providence, as is New Urban Arts Development Associate Dan Schleifer.
Here’s a reflection from Dan on the common philosophies behind New Urban Arts and Crossfit:
You may ask yourself, what’s the connection between an art studio for high school kids and Crossfit?
At first glance, they look really different. When you enter Crossfit Providence, you’ll typically see 18 athletes who all appear to be doing the same thing. When you enter New Urban Arts, you’ll see 35 high schoolers who appear to be doing 100 different projects.
But these are both communities built around a passion—and the belief that we can better all aspects of our lives by pursuing that passion, whether it’s art or athletics. Both of these communities sustain their members with what they offer, as long as the members commit to being present.
So I’ll probably never crack 5 minutes on Fran*, but that’s not the point. Josh B (Crossfit Providence’s head coach) says, “come 3 -5 times per week and good things happen,” and he’s right; when I come regularly, I feel better; I’m more energized, and I have more mental acuity.
It’s the same at New Urban Arts; most of our students don’t go on to arts school. However, once they start showing up and connecting with mentors through this community, good things happen. I’m reminded of Abel, who grew up in the Hartford Projects, started coming here as a high school freshman, graduated from college and returned to New Urban Arts to mentor other youth before starting his own business this year. Here’s what he says about the role of New Urban Arts in his life: “I probably wouldn’t have attended college without New Urban Arts, and that was all free stuff that came in addition to the art.”
And Abel is just one of the many lives that this arts studio has transformed. So I hope you’ll participate in the WOD for New Urban Arts. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and you’ll be helping transform the lives of some local young people who don’t have many opportunities.
*Fran is the name a of a Crossfit benchmark workout.