In Providence, like in many other cities in our country,
young people—particularly low-income youth and those in communities of color—are systematically denied access to high-quality, creative learning opportunities. This climate, alongside current economic trends, means that organizations like New Urban Arts are under increased pressure to meet students’ learning needs in the arts. Our free, year-round out-of-school youth programs are an innovative response to that need. 

Each year, we serve over 500 high school students, 25 emerging artists and over 3,000 visitors to our studio, through youth programs, professional development workshops, artist residencies, public performances, and exhibitions. 

2015-2016 Overview

478 students enrolled in our Youth Mentorship Program.

190 students actively participated in the studio each month.

25 artists (Artist Mentors) and 1 tutor (Study Buddies), and volunteered over 4,000 hours to mentor Providence area high school students.

225 hours of summer programming offered paid internships in the arts for 25 youth.

30 seniors graduated from New Urban Arts, and 26 are attending colleges around the country. Over 60% of our seniors worked with our A Life After School (ALAS) mentor in our pilot year of the program. 

Our ALAS mentor provides post-secondary advising, including college advising, to ensure all our seniors have a plan for post-secondary success. College Visions provides group workshops for students and their families on the college process, essay-writing, and FAFSA.

With support from other program staff, the ALAS mentor also assembles resources for youth not planning to go to college. As part of this effort, the ALAS mentor continues the initiative, piloted in 2013-14, to work with community partners to present the “Not-College Fair,” a showcase of post-graduation programs, such as AmeriCorps and YearUp.

3,464 people attended 20 public events & exhibitions, the majority of which were free and open to the public, including art exhibitions, workshops, and a large community-led block party. Notably, in October 2014, we co-hosted the first annual Rock the Block block party event with the Providence Public School Department. To facilitate this event, New Urban Arts helped to forge a partnership with PPSD and 30 community organizations. The Block Party was held in the courtyard between Central, Classical and PCTA high schools, across the street from New Urban Arts. We hosted over 10 planning sessions with other organizations to coordinate this large event that engaged over 1,600 people.

$130,000 in donations were received via the Annual Campaign. (Thank you!)

2015-2016 Student Demographics

32% Male
3% Other
65% Female

35% Hispanic/Latino
24% Multi-racial
17% White/Caucasian
18% African or African American
5% Asian/Asian American
1% Native American 


Grade Level
31% Seniors
27% Juniors
25% Sophomores
17% Freshmen

 of students were new to New Urban Arts.

86% of our students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch based on income guidelines.

89% of our students are from five ZIP Codes; 02904, 09205, 02907, 02908, and 02909 where collectively the poverty rate for families with kids is 34%, almost twice the national average.

2015-2016 Student Response

98% of students say they have developed a way of creating that expresses who they are.

say they have built strong, trusting relationships with their peers and Artist Mentors.

feel they are more open to trying new things.

say they have developed more confidence.

say they have developed a better sense of what they want to do in the future.

agree that New Urban Arts is a supportive and safe environment. 

The following are open-ended responses to the question, “Do you like working with an Artist-mentor? Why?”

  • “I like working with an artist mentor because then I have more of an idea of what I can do in the studio and mentors usually teach new techniques and the like.”
  • “I enjoy working with the mentors because they come up to me and push me to try new things and art styles.”
  • “I guess I do sometimes for a little help with tips and tricks to art.”
  • “I find it really great because you can learn a lot of things from them, and always know that you have a support for when things don’t exactly go great.”
  • “I do because there is always room for improvement.”
  • “Yes, because I feel like I’m comfortable enough to ask questions. They’ve learned from me too! It’s a mutual sharing of ideas.”
  • “Yes and no. Yes, they show what I could possibly do better. However no, because I like finding my style on my own. No shade to the mentors, they’re awesome. But it’s something I wanna do on my own.”
  • “50/50 because there are some things that I feel like I have to explore for myself. When I need help or learning something new, that’s when I like to work with a mentor.”
  • “Yes, because not only do I get to learn from them, but I get to connect to them on a more personal level and develop an awesome relationship.”
*all responses taken from the 2015-2015 year-end student survey

2015-2016 Artist Mentor Demographics

20 local artists volunteered twice weekly from October through May.

95% of artist mentors were college students or college graduates.

29% were alumni students.

49 artists applied for 13 spots.

7 artist mentors returned from the previous year (53% retention rate).

Program Evaluation

New Urban Arts is deeply committed to the rigorous collection, analysis and sharing of both qualitative and quantitative data. We evaluate and monitor both the impact and quality of our programs through a variety of strategies including detailed demographic analysis, attendance enrollment and participation tracking, student self-assessment, written and verbal reflections, and regular public exhibitions and performances of student work. We do all this to hold ourselves accountable to the public and communities we serve, to identify new and emerging needs in our community, and to improve our work. Below are several evaluation tools we currently have in place:

The Participation Index
 is an equation to assess studio usage that takes into account how the number of active students correlates with the frequency of their participation. We begin by tracking student participation daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. This information is then cross-referenced with student demographics. 

Student Registration Forms allow students to reflect on their creative practice in an open-ended, written format at the start of each program year.
End of Year Surveys are distributed each May in order to collect qualitative and quantitative feedback from Artist Mentors and students. As a bookend to the Student Registration Forms, students are asked to reflect in an open-ended, written format about the development of their creative practice during the program year.
Written Artist Statements accompany each studio exhibition and provide a platform for students to reflect on their process and learning throughout the program year.

Rhode Island Program Quality Assessment (RIPQA) As a 21st Centurty Community Learning Center, New Urban Arts participates in an ongoing RIPQA process,

Program Evaluation Reports