As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. For our eighth month, we are highlighting our Summer programs with an interview with our Youth Programs Assistant, Jobanny Cabrera, who worked with STAB and helped facilitate Summer Open Studio and other programs.
What summer programs did New Urban Arts run this year?
Jobanny: Let’s see, there was STAB, Waterways, and College Explorations. STAB is the Student Team Advisory Board where we went into deep deep details about what is a nonprofit, what is NUA, what is a board of directors, what does hierarchy mean—we talked about power dynamics and structure with our student leaders. Waterways was a partnership with MEO [Movement Education Outdoors] to explore what the relationship between water and humans here in Rhode Island is like. They asked questions like, ‘How do we affect the water and how does it affect us?’ and made art about it. College Explorations went in hard on colleges: students as early as 10th grade were looking at the process, took field trips to different campuses, explored options outside of college, and looked at all the different things about different schools to think about. We also had Summer Open Studio, which was our drop-in time for students to use the space however they saw fit. Students came in who weren’t in our summer programs and our summer students sometimes stayed late to finish projects. STAB was working on a video project and that took extra time during open studio, for example.
Can you talk a little bit about how NUA programs and NUA Knights programs worked together this year?
Jobanny: At NUA Knights, Andres, the music mentor here in the studio during the year, co-taught a music summer program at Central High School, and taught led a small group of students in a film-making project. At the end of the summer, they performed a live soundtrack over the film, which was amazing.
STAB and Heroes of the Knights (NUA Knights’ student leadership group, brand new this summer!) got together and did a few games and exercises together to explore leadership and different leadership styles. We went on a field trip to the ICA in Boston to see their teen summer program and that was really awesome. It was cool for them all to see how different programs were run and learn more from that. We were all jealous of their building at the ICA.
What was your fav project you saw being made in the studio this summer?
Jobanny: There were two: as I mentioned, STAB made a video for NUA because we haven’t had a “commercial” in a long time that really described what the space is. They went really deep into it by looking at the older videos and figuring out what they didn’t like, what didn’t accurately describe NUA from the students’ perspective, and decided what they wanted in a new video. They put that together and I helped edit it. Stay tuned it will be live in a few weeks.
Andres’s students also showed their film and played a live soundtrack over it which was really cool—it was such a cool commitment. I heard them talking about it before the school year ended, and they actually followed through and made it. It was great to see.
What would you like to see in next year’s summer programs?
Jobanny: More student-lead programs, more of what students want and less of what we, as adults, want to do over the summer. Not that there weren’t really great things happening, but I think a lot of the students who weren’t in Waterways wanted to do more outside and were interested in those activities. It’s summer!
What would you like to see for NUA’s summer programs in a perfect world?
Jobanny: More field trips would be cool, maybe an international arts program, being able to get out of Rhode Island and see the world. A majority of our students don’t have access or time to travel outside of the US. Even something like the Tennessee field trip [our partnership with Crafting the Future] was really awesome to see, and I would like more students to be able to get out of their box like that, but even further.