The New Urban Arts Board of Directors announced today the appointment of Daniel Schleifer as executive director of this nationally recognized arts organization for young people in Providence, Rhode Island. Schleifer, former director of development, has been serving as interim executive director since the resignation of former Executive Director Elia Gurna, who relocated to Los Angeles in December.
Schleifer joined the New Urban Arts community in the fall of 2007 to pilot the Studio Study Buddy program, which combines academic tutoring with the structure and values of New Urban Arts’ core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts. As director of development, Schleifer fostered a 40% increase in individual giving to New Urban Arts’ annual fund along with significant increases in grant funding. These funding increases have allowed the organization to adapt to major growth in student enrollment. Other significant successes include spearheading New Urban Arts’ first capital campaign, seeding an endowment, and paying off the mortgage on New Urban Arts’ building.
”I’m just so proud to watch his growth from volunteer mentor in our youth programs to ongoing responsibilities in development to now executive director,” says Tamara Kaplan, New Urban Arts finance and operations manager. “As another working creative professional, I also appreciate Dan’s continued commitment to the What Cheer? Brigade, the award-winning 21-piece brass band, even while taking a leadership role at New Urban Arts. It’s so refreshing to see that he doesn’t need to give up one creative practice for another.”
In addition to his major development wins for New Urban Arts, Schleifer is well versed in youth development principles and practices. In conjunction with his development duties, Schleifer led the first iteration of New Urban Arts’ Untitlement Project summer program, which continues to be one of the organization’s most popular summer programs. The Untitlement Project provides an opportunity for low-income youth to explore, through writing and art, issues of identity, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Schleifer also participated in the 2010 Program Committee which created a vision for New Urban Arts to better serve a larger number of students. At this time, New Urban Arts is experiencing the highest level of student engagement in its 18-year history.
Schleifer says, “It’s an honor and a joy to head this community of artists. More young people than ever are coming to New Urban Arts, and I’m eager to ensure they get the support and mentoring they need to create, learn, and lead.”