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Meet Doug Best!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Board Member, Award Winner

With a long career in retail loss prevention management, Doug Best has worked for Borders, Barnes & Noble, T. J. Maxx, and B. Dalton Booksellers. He graduated from Boston College (BA in history and secondary education); was a member of the CVS Highlander School Board; and currently serves on the School One Board of Trustees. He and his wife Maureen Reddy live in Providence where they raised two children. He worked as a security consulting firm that provided loss prevention training and structure for small businesses.

We interviewed Doug 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 was first invited to a fundraiser held by Susan Smulyan many years ago, maybe 6 or 7 years ago. We went to that event and found out about New Urban arts, what they were doing, and met some of the people involved there, But after that I didn’t get involved however for a couple of years.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
Since the middle of 2011, I got invited to apply for a position on the board. I thought that it worked well with the kinds of other volunteering that I do. I work on other boards that involve HS aged kids, and I thought the mission was important, especially with the lack of funding for HS art programs, I thought that this was something I should support.

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
Well there’s a certain community. People seem to be very happy here. It’s a very diverse community, both age, gender, racially diverse. It really represents the City of Providence where I chose to live and raise my kids, so I feel really good about that. The people that work and volunteer here just seem to do it so effortlessly and willingly that it was just fun.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
I don’t really go on too many adventure at this stage in my life. I guess every day I get out of my house is an adventure in some way. But in terms of heading out on a mission, I guess it would be my last vacation. We went out to California and toured Big Sur, a coastal community famous for San Simeon which the home of the Hearst Mansion. It has breathtaking views and shorelines, cliffs, rocks, winding roads, changing weather patterns, so it’s a lot like Rhode Island, only much bigger.

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
I support NUA for all those reasons I mentioned before. I felt that it was something that was really something good for me to do. I had the time, the energy, and I actually like meeting the people that I’ve met here. Met some friends, new and old that are also involved in this. It’s been a good experience. I really think that this fits with living within the city of Providence, and being involved in the arts community.

What do you think about when you hear the words “New Urban Art”?
Now I think about the Studio space, because the building I here, it’s so permanent and we put a lot of effort into it. I always think about the kids and the different projects they’re working on.

If you were in High School, What Projects would you work on while at New Urban Arts?
In high school I was a real jock. I didn’t do very many art projects at all and at some point in my life I decided that I wasn’t any good at art so I didn’t do it any longer. I think that if I was in high school now and at NUA I think that I might have a different attitude and I would try to do things that I enjoyed, but wasn’t very good at. I probably would be involved in sewing, because there are a lot of seamstresses in my family.