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Countdown to the annual event: 11 days left!

Meet Emily Ustach!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Director of Programs 

Emily Ustach originally joined New Urban Arts over the summer of 2007 as a studio manager and has since been involved in various ways including as an artist mentor, volunteer and the chair of the 2011 Program Committee. She has received training in Art History and painting, but has found her creative practice lies in youth development and non-profit administration.

Prior to joining New Urban Arts as Director of Programs, Emily developed the Education Fellowship AmeriCorps program at The Learning Community, a nationally recognized public charter school. She also worked as the Program Coordinator at Rhode Island Campus Compact, where she supported college student’s civic and community engagement. Through her work with the Education Fellows and college students, she has built a practice of supporting emerging professionals as they take risks and explore future possibilities.

Emily was born in a small town in Eastern North Carolina where she was raised among artists and scientists. She received her B.A. in Art History from Salem College, in Winston-Salem, NC and her M.A. in Community Based Arts Education from the Rhode Island School of Design.  She lives in Providence with her husband Mike and their cat Kepler.


We interviewed Emily and asked them to share with us how they got started with New Urban Arts. Here’s what they said:

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
I first heard about New Urban Arts when I was a student at RISD in their Teaching and Learning Department.  We visited a number of community arts organizations, and New Urban Arts was one of them. 

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
I first became involved with New Urban Arts over the summer of 2007.  Sarah Meyer, the Director of Program, asked me if I would help out over the summer that the founding director, Tyler Denmead, was leaving. Since then, I have been an artist mentor for two years, and the volunteer chair for the 2011 Program Committee.  In 2013 I became the Director of Programs. 

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
There are so many things that make New Urban Arts special.  One thing that stands out to me is that our students get to hire our mentors and staff.  It really makes NUA a place where the adults that are here are welcomed and invited in by the students.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
Every day at New Urban Arts is an adventure for me! 

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
I support New Urban Arts because it is vital to the health of our world and community.  There are such few places where young people feel free to explore who they are, build healthy relationships with adults and artists and have open access to materials to express themselves creatively.  I support New Urban Arts because having seen what is possible in a place like this, I cannot imagine my world without it.