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. 

2014-2015 Overview

516 students enrolled in our Youth Mentorship Program.

207 students actively participated in the studio each month.

20 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 37 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.

3,334 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.

$119,000  in donations were received via the Annual Campaign. (Thank you!)

2014-2015 Student Demographics

38% Male
1% Other
61% Female

35% Hispanic/Latino
27% Multi-racial
14% White/Caucasian
17% African or African American
6% Asian/Asian American
1% Native American 


Grade Level
28% Seniors
30% Juniors
24% Sophomores
18% Freshmen

 of students were new to New Urban Arts.

80% of our students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch based on income guidelines.

88% 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.

2014-2015 Student Response

94% 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?”

  • Yea, why not. Eva was extremely helpful and friendly. Plus the mentors made me feel more like a friend than a student.
  • It kinda depends because when I know how to do something I don’t really like having a shadow but it’s great that they help me and teach me new things.
  • Yes because they’re people too, not just teachers.
  • Yessssss, they drive me to try new things and push my art to new limits. The mentors give a blanket of security.
  • I like working with them because they are willing to drop what their doing to help you so I feel like what I’m asking matters.
  • I like working with someone who has experience and has made a life based on art. It gives me confidence.
  • Sometimes. Because sometimes I want to do things by myself so its peaceful and sometimes I want everyone to be around.
  • Yes because they teach you how to do new things, and trying new things are important in maintaining an interesting life.
  • I do like working with artist-mentors although my art process is usually done alone. I love having the friendship to sit beside them and ask for guidance though.
  • Yes because it feels less like they are teaching me or forcing me to do what they want and more like they are a friend just offering insight. 
*all responses taken from the 2014-2015 year-end student survey

2014-2015 Artist Mentor Demographics

21 local artists volunteered twice weekly from October through May.

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

29% were alumni students.

25 artists applied for 10 spots.

11 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, an evidence-based model for conducting quality assurance of out-of-school youth programs.