New Urban Arts is a space that matters deeply to me as an alumnus and a staff member. Today, I am asking you to donate because I know that New Urban Arts matters to you as well. Whether you are an alumnus, a parent, an artist, a donor, a Providence resident, or someone who cares about our community, New Urban Arts is a space where your gift is guaranteed to have a lasting impact. My story is proof of that.
When I was a junior in high school, my mom encouraged me to check out New Urban Arts, but I was resistant because I didn’t know anybody involved, and you know how terrifying it can be as a teenager to step through a new door on your own, unsure of how—or if—you’ll be welcomed. The fall of my senior year, with my best friend, I finally walked through the door.
My year as a student at New Urban Arts was incredible. I learned to dance salsa and make papier-mâché sculptures. I made new friends and reconnected with old ones. New Urban Arts was a place where I could be silly, but still be taken seriously. Adults at New Urban Arts listened to me, and I established lasting bonds with volunteers and staff. Supporters like you made that experience possible for me, and I hope you will donate today to do the same for current students.
Because I was only involved as a student for one year, I didn’t think I could count myself as one of the “regulars”—one of those students who was part of the fabric of everyday life in the studio. I wondered if my experience was a fluke, and I certainly didn’t imagine that I would one day be writing you this letter.
As I grew in my professional career, New Urban Arts kept calling me back. I was working in Rhode Island but outside of Providence, and I felt the ties to my home, my community, and my support system stretching thin. I yearned for an inclusive space like the one I had found in New Urban Arts as a teenager, and so I returned as a proud alumnus, attending art openings to see what current students were creating. I was embraced with the same warm welcome years later and found a new generation of young artists thriving. In 2017, I was excited to make my first donation to support New Urban Arts, a home where young people’s brilliance shines.
Inspired, I applied to work for New Urban Arts. I wanted to dedicate my time to an organization that works to uplift the future of our community: the youth of Providence.
Now that I’m on staff, I recognize that my incredible experience as a student was not a fluke, and it was essential to who I am today. Each day I come to work, I am in awe of the remarkable level of effort and intention that our staff puts into creating a welcoming environment for all young people. Now, I am sure that it didn’t matter whether or not I was a “regular.” I know that I counted because the staff was working hard to ensure that I got what I needed.
New Urban Arts becomes what each student needs it to be: a place for artistic exploration, a quiet retreat, a place to get loud, a safe space, a supplier of snacks and RIPTIKs, a source of college application advice, a home away from home, and so many other things.
I am thrilled to witness how New Urban Arts continues to be a space for young people to express themselves and how it adapts to their changing needs. Fiercely committed to my community, I am proud and excited to be investing my time in helping to expand this space that opened its doors to me in my youth. And, as a donor you too make this unique, intentional learning space possible for young people.
Your donation to New Urban Arts is your opportunity to invest in an organization that values the growth of students into civically-engaged community members. Whether alumni stay in Providence or travel to other communities around the world, they carry the experience and values of New Urban Arts with them. The experience is also carried by mentors, staff, friends, and donors like you to every corner of world we touch.
I promise you, your donation to New Urban Arts is worth it, because the moment a student walks through that door, their life is changed forever. Will you consider making a generous gift today?