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Youth Voice, Creativity, Education Reform

From Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberbg’s 100 million dollar gift to the Newark Public schools, to the rapid expansion of charter schools to policy interventions like Race to the Top, education equity has attracted perhaps unprecedented mainstream media attention. Unfortunately, absent from our national dialogue are the critical roles that creativity, the arts and youth voice have to play in transforming American education for the better. New Urban Arts’ Executive Director Jason Yoon, a former elementary school art teacher, museum educator and New Urban Arts artist mentor, will explore this further in conversation with CJ Jimenez, James Escobedo and Aneudy Alba. CJ will also be doing an artist talk.

Light Food will be provided.

About the conversationalists:

Aneudy Alba is a student alumni of youth programs at College Visions, New Urban Arts and Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth. He is currently serving as an AmeriCorps Teaching Artist with Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth working at Roger Williams Middle School doing in-school and after school arts program. Prior to this, Aneudy served as a Senior Corps Member at CityYear Rhode Island and as the chair of the Studio Team Advisory Board (STAB), New Urban Arts’ youth and alumni leadership council.

James Escobedo: Born and raised in Providence Rhode Island, James is a college student at Guilford College in Greensboro North Carolina. Currently he is attending New York University for a domestic study abroad trying to find a balance between art and activism. James is a poet, photographer and Bonner scholar. He is on the planning committee of Free Minds Free People, an education conference taking place in Providence RI in July 2011. He is also the co-founder of an after-school arts program at Guilford aimed at the children of migrant workers. With several other New Urban Arts graduates, James also co-launched An Urban Classic Poetry Collective, an online poetry project.

CJ Jimenez is the Chair of New Urban Arts’ Studio Team Advisory Board and currently spending her post-graduation year pursuing her interest in organic and sustainable farming techniques at Farmacy Herbs in Providence, R.I. and Sandy Beach Farm in Cumberland, R.I. She plans to attend college to study art and ecology in the upcoming school year. As the chair of STAB, CJ has represented New Urban Arts at local and national conferences on topics ranging from the arts, education and after-school. She is trying to be the trouble she wants to see in the world.