Alumni Spotlight: Jobanny Cabrera

After being a frequent New Urban Arts student, a Volunteer Artist Mentor, and NUA staff member, Jobanny Cabrera moved last year to New York City to continue working on music production, community service, and design. We caught up with Jobanny to see what he’s been up to and ask him about his time at NUA in light of his new experiences.



Tell us about your history with New Urban Arts.

Jobanny: A friend brought me to NUA randomly when I was 16, like how most kids find out about it. I didn’t start really going on my own for a while, but then I built a relationship with Ashley [former Studio Director], Aneudy [former Youth Engagement Associate], and Ian [Printmaking Volunteer Mentor, now Resident Artist Mentor] and they helped ground me in the space through lots of conversations and screenprinting, which is a big thing for me. After that point I spent every day at NUA, making music, screenprinting, etc. Like every student, I had to go through the heartbreak phase after high school when I couldn’t go to the studio anymore and I would visit as much as possible. I waited the mandatory year, and then I volunteered with Ian as a screenprinting mentor. And that taught me so much. I learned how to mentor, how to facilitate spaces, and everything Ian taught me about process made it into how I make my own music and stuff like that. I got a job working at a bank through Year Up and learned a lot about what I didn’t want to do, which is just as important. It doesn’t take a lot for me to try something, I’m curious, so I end up learning a lot both ways.

The pandemic came around, I was still in Year Up, and I made so many friends but I hated the work so much. NUA posted a job and I realized I didn’t want to go into the corporate world, and so I went all in for that application and got the job as Youth Programs Coordinator. It felt serendipitous. Those three years I was on staff at NUA, I was able to learn a lot about the workings of nonprofits because I saw the other side of the places I went to as a child. It taught me a lot about what a healthy workplace looks like and how to spot that.


And then you left staff last year to go to New York – what are you up to?

Jobanny: I’m currently an employee at Henry Street Settlement, it provides social services and art and healthcare programs in the Lower East Side and the greater New York area. I’m an Employment Coordinator here, so I help people get jobs and fix their resumes and stuff. When I first moved to New York I was just looking for something to get started, and I was looking for places that had NUA-type energy and the people here really get it. It’s a very similar vibe workwise and was the exact kind of thing I was seeking out.

I got accepted into D&AD Shift with Google. It’s a night program to get people into the advertising agency world that only takes about 20 students a year. I go to class every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and they help me develop my creative portfolio and practice. It has me rethinking my practice a lot, and puts me in touch with people very high up at cool businesses and those are my teachers. Group Creative Director of YouTube gave a lecture last week, and Spotify was like 3 weeks ago, which was cool for me as a musician. I get to connect with all these people and learn from them.


How did that happen?

Jobanny: Shout out to Sherly [Painting and Drawing Mentor], she sent me the info for D&AD Shift many months ago—it’s for self taught creatives who didn’t go to college who are interested in that kind of work, which I had already started doing on my own, so she forwarded it to me. I applied and got accepted later, on the same day I signed a lease for my new apartment in Brooklyn, it was so exciting.

The program is only 4 months, so I’ll graduate in May. The type of jobs people seem to get after they finish are all over the place, social media, 3D design, but it’s definitely ad/marketing focused. Everybody in the program has been so good to me, and it really feels like they see where I want to go.


What are you hoping to do?

Jobanny: What I’d really like to do is Creative Direction at a music company like Spotify or something. I want to oversee creative projects and come up with the mood boards and the direction, find the talent, come up with the ideas, etc. My ideal situation is that I’m in a position to help other people get into these big jobs, people like me, people of color that have the creative drive but get picked over because they don’t have the same access, etc. I told my teachers when I started I wanted to open up my own nonprofit and teach kids like me this stuff because you can’t learn this without going to college but I know, I’ve seen how the youth can definitely do this. These are skills that are adding a lot of value to my life and that doesn’t mean I want to work for a big conglomerate or anything, but they’re good for my work and also helping my career.

So eventually I do want to go back to RI—I’d like to own a house one day and it’s not going to happen in New York haha—I just needed to leave for now to grow, there are other experiences I wanted to have for now. I want to build a community, I have friends and family in New York, but I want to meet people and build a real community. I want to make a livable wage, which is always increasing. I’d like for once in my life to really be able to sustain myself. But the connection to RI is still there. One of my classmates’ younger siblings just got into RISD and was asking me questions and I told her to connect with NUA to learn about being an artist in Providence.


Were there things you learned from NUA that are helping you with your art and career?

Jobanny: It feels like my whole time at NUA prepped me for this. Both as a student and as a staff member, NUA gave me space to operate on my own so I could learn things the way I want. I could breathe. I’ve always been a musician, but I was only a musician. NUA was where I learned how to screenprint, how to sew, how to design and all that stuff. The interdisciplinary approach is really central to what I’m doing here at D&AD Shift and what I want to do with Creative Directing. On the challenge day before I was accepted into the program, my group’s brief was to sell candles to musicians haha. We had an hour or two to figure it out and it felt like I could see how everything came together from different areas because I had been doing everything myself already at NUA.

As for art, I’m pretty short on time right now if I’m being honest, but I’m looking forward to doing more of that in May when the program ends. But I’m so excited about what I’m learning and I’m reevaluating my portfolio and reexamining my own work and how to frame it and pitch it. I’m getting back into what made me want to do my old projects. The program encourages us to look back on how we’re developing ourselves and how we communicate ourselves.

I guess I did just get featured in PAPER magazine the other day! Shout out to NUA for that, that job gave me the time and resources to work on my own music—while I was working there I was asked to feature on Ms. Boogie’s album. We connected through a mutual friend—I don’t generally send beats to people, and she really understood that and so she wanted to meet in person to talk about music. Then she invited me out to the Hamptons for a week and that’s when we worked on those tracks. The album got featured in PAPER and they wanted to interview everyone who was a part of it. Other magazines talk about the album, but they really went in depth. It was so cool to be a part of.


illustration by Terrell Villiers

I Love Book: February Break Recap

During this February Break, 10 students got together for I Love Book, our one week program about book-making. Along with mentors Ian, Jess, Filipa, and Teresa, students visited the RISD library, Binch Press, and other special collections, experimented with different methods of binding, worked on a collaborative zine, printed copies on a risograph, and finally, assembled and bound copies for everyone to take home! There was even a surprise visit from a special feline guest. Check out the photo gallery below to see what they got up to.


NUA Knights’ Book Club visits PPL

The NUA Knights Book Club spent some time at the Providence Public Library these past weeks before they dive into their next book. Book Club students were able to get their own library cards, explore all the amazing books (especially in the teen space), and even check out their special collections! They were also able to play around in the maker space and design their own t-shirts. Shoutout to the staff at PPL for being such amazing hosts to our Book Club! This semester Book Club will be reading Solit: A Memoir by Javier Zamora if you’d like to read along.

A New Year at NUA Knights

NUA Knights is kicking off a new year of programs over at Central High School. This year we are introducing several new programs based on feedback from students. Here are some we’re really excited:

  • Digital Media
  • Screen Printing (starting back from last year)
  • Dance (in the works)
  • Music Production/Beat Making (in the works)
  • Boxing (in the works)

NEA awards New Urban Arts $25,000

We are excited to announce that the National Endowment for the Arts has approved New Urban Arts for a grant in the amount of $25,000. We look forward to working with the NEA to finalize the grant paperwork and appreciate the agency’s support for this project. Specifically, this grant will support our resident artist mentors, the core educators in our afterschool Youth Mentorship in the Arts Program, NUA’s longest-running program, which the NEA has supported for many years.

“The NEA is delighted to announce this grant to New Urban Arts, which is helping contribute to the strength and well-being of the arts sector and local community,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “We are pleased to be able to support this community and help create an environment where all people have the opportunity to live artful lives.”

We’re grateful to the NEA and their continued support of community arts programming for Providence youth.

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Happy New Year from our Studio Programs!

Over the winter break, our team immersed themselves in dynamic team-building projects and collaborated on innovative program planning initiatives. The MET mentors, in particular, delved into the creative process, setting the stage for the successful MET Art Academy’s Messy Maker’s Exhibition last week on Thursday, January 25th. Currently, we are diligently preparing both the space and students for the upcoming Mid-Year Makings Exhibition scheduled for Friday, February 16th.

Adding to the excitement, we are actively coordinating February Break week with a special theme: “I <3 Book – A Special Week of Libraries, Collections, and DIY Makings.” This week promises to be filled with engaging activities, including explorations into drawing, writing, printing, and captivating field trips!

Our First Mentor Show Since 2019

On November 17th, the New Urban Arts studio hosted Sharing is Embarrassing, our first staff and mentor art show since 2019. This is the first year since before the pandemic that we’ve been able to field a full roster of volunteer artist mentors, and one of the exciting results, aside from being able to accommodate growing student attendance and interest across a variety of artistic mediums, was a stellar exhibition. Every inch of the studio was covered in art: paintings, drawings, etchings, ceramics, wallpaper, textiles, photographs, prints, felt pieces, sculptures, animations, videos, hand-made paper, culinary installations, and other mixed media experiences adorned the walls, floors, shelves, and computer screens of the gallery. Following snacks, three music mentors performed for us in their own unique styles. Thank you to everyone who came out and helped make the evening special, and thank you to our incredibly talented mentors and staff for sharing your skills with us in a different way.

Click here for more photos of work from the show.

$83,955 raised for FY24!

We have reached the middle of our fiscal year and while we still have donations coming in during these last couple weeks of 2023, we are excited to share that we have raised $83,955 so far! We appreciate our community for the support you all have given us. Each dollar donated helps sustain the work that we are doing and allows us to continue providing free access to the arts for high school students. And if you know us, you know this means more than just providing young people with the opportunity to make art. 
The work we do gives students the space to feel comfortable in expressing who they are and exploring who they want to be. It supports students in their weirdness and ability to start, finish, and abandon projects. It reminds students that they are allowed to just be, and that is enough. So thank you for supporting our work and this space that we are able to give young people. Our goal is to raise $200,000 by June 30, 2023 and we hope you can continue helping us reach our goal!
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705 Westminster Studio Fall Wrap-Up

Exciting news in the NUA studio: We’ve surpassed last year’s enrollment! Currently, 232 youths actively participate, with an impressive weekly attendance of 118. This outstanding achievement is a testament to the collective efforts and the positive impact of our various initiatives.

Youth Mentorship: This fall, Dana, our Manager of Artist Mentors, and the Student Team Advisory Board teamed up to hire 11 Volunteer Artist Mentors and welcomed two Brown University Bonner Fellows. This marks the first year post-COVID where we’ve been able to commence programs with a full cohort of Artist Mentors. The student recruiting efforts of our team, including Student Support Specialist, Sissy, significantly contributed to our enrollment success.

A Life After School: Teresa Conchas, our ALAS coordinator, guided students through the college process with in person and virtual college recruitment visits as well as workshops on topics like finding colleges, the common application, and time management.

Met Art Academy: Our second-year art internship with The Met continues, where NUA Painting & Drawing RAM Sherly Torres and co-mentor Alexis Gordon support 14  MET student interns.

This success is a result of our community’s combined efforts and passion. Let’s keep working together to provide creative and enriching experiences for our youths as we celebrate this achievement!

NUA Knights Fall Wrap-Up

We had a successful seventh fall session with NUA Knights this year! With a total of 11 programs including some youth favorites like Book Club, Cooking, eSports and Fashion & Design, and two new programs: Student Community Engagement and Art Club run by our very own NUA and Central alum Sherly Torres. At the beginning of this month we had a total of 175 youth participating in at least one program (many of our students participate in multiple programs), with an average weekly attendance of 96 youth. 

A major highlight this fall was the Cooking Club. Youth get to choose what they learn to cook each week and recently they decided on a full on seafood boil, complete with andouille sausage, potatoes, corn, snow crab and jumbo shrimp. We’re grateful for All Saints Episcopal Church for opening their fantastic kitchen space for us each week to cook in!

Interview with the MET Art Academy Mentors

Last spring, New Urban Arts launched its newest program, a collaboration with the MET High School. We talked to Sherly Torres, NUA’s Painting and Drawing Resident Artist Mentor and one of the creators of the program, and Alexis Gordon, our new MET Art Academy Artist Mentor to get a sense of how it’s been going.


What is the MET Art Academy?

Sherly: The MET Art Academy it is a semester long internship where MET high school students are welcome into the NUA studio/environment and work on drawing and painting skills in a structured environment. The program started last school year, January 2023 with me and Jori Ketten (former Artist Mentor). I worked with Emily Ustach (former Deputy Director) and Joselina Fay (former Studio Director) to develop the first semester of the program, and Jori and I updated the lesson plan as we went through it.

Alexis: We’re offering a foundational 2D art course with a focus on drawing, painting, and printmaking. The goal is everything from exposing students who have little experience with art-making and helping them develop a studio practice to helping students who are more experienced or have a more solidified idea of how art fits into their life develop their portfolios and have a dedicated practice. The course is taught by the two of us, Ian Cozzens (Printmaking RAM) is helping with screenprinting. Studio Director Jeannie Castillo-Pierre and Kim Reall (the Real World Learning and Pathways Manager at the MET), help us organize everything and I’m so grateful to them for it.


It’s an internship as opposed to an arts course?

Alexis: It’s a little bit of both. MET students are required to have an internship, and we wanted this experience to qualify for that. Their definition is broad, sometimes it looks like learning a trade, cutting lumber on a mill, and sometimes it’s closer to a workshop, like they offer at other youth art programs across Providence.

Sherly: Their efforts will culminate in an exhibition at the NUA studio, so they are required to produce a lot of work. We also have agreements we’ve developed as a community that we are all expected to adhere to, and all of these things were up front as things they should expect — those are the internship requirements, but the main expectation as artists is that they have to try. They have to try new mediums and think about building a portfolio.


How do students get involved?

Alexis: We sent out a description of the class to MET students. 26 applied, and we had group interviews of the students to narrow it down to a group of 14, which is four more than last year. The original description of the program was both as a foundational elements course AND a portfolio development class, so we wanted to merge those two things. NUA has so many resources and the MET isn’t as integrated at NUA as Classical or Central, so it’s also a way to bring MET students into the fold and offer our resources at critical junctures for youth artists.

Sherly: We were looking for a balance of students who had some experience and no experience, and we wanted to see what they were looking for, what goals they had. We especially wanted to save spots for those who had no experience. I think the diverse class better reflects how exposure to the arts can be.


What does a typical day in the program look like?

Sherly: A typical day looks like students coming into the 705 Westminster studio at 9AM, going over our agenda for the day, reflecting on the day before and doing some energy-building activities [Alexis: a game or at least a stretch]. Before we start assignments or activities, we also do a demonstration to introduce a project. Then we have lunches provided and then maybe another demo or project or both. Hopefully there’s space for a reflection on the day or some sort of time together to close out.


What projects are you working on now and what do you have planned?

Alexis: Right now we’re working on still life work, line and shading. From here we want to start incorporating tone and color and eventually paint, and THEN printmaking.

Sherly: Last semester’s internship we noticed printmaking takes a lot more time management and setup. And in the fall there are a lot more school breaks and we want the printmaking sessions to feel continuous, so we scheduled it a little later in the semester. For the spring, we are hoping to extend this cohort’s session into the next semester. We’re waiting on the greenlight for that. But the main thing I look forward to is always the student exhibition. It’s exciting to see them organize their art and get ready for the show and feel proud.

Alexis: Yeah it’s great to see them develop a creative practice and bring their goals to fruition in a place where people can see what they’ve done.


What would you like to see in this program in the future?

Sherly: Cubbies. Vertical painting/paper storage. I think a lot about storage haha. But I’d like to dive into sculpture! I think there’s so much besides 2D painting and drawing. A lot of students come to NUA for music and photography, for example.

Alexis: Yes, I would love to see different offerings and internships. A foundational course, a more deliberate portfolio development course that can also focus on grants/residencies/school applications, etc. A whole dedicated space would be amazing, or something more integrated at the MET. Having in-school programming for schools that aren’t the MET—so many of the art programs in our public schools have been gutted.

Sherly: And I’d like to be able to accomodate travel for students outside of RI, I would love to take them to the ICA in Boston, or maybe Paris haha.

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We’re looking for Volunteer Artist Mentors!

We are now taking applications for Artist Mentors for our 2022-23 Youth Mentorship in the Arts program. Mentors commit to volunteering 4 hours a week from October through May, building healthy relationships with high school students through the exploration of art media. Mentors help New Urban Arts create a safe and healthy environment, participate in year-long professional development and become important members of the New Urban Arts community.

Click here to fill out the form to apply, or you can download a paper application here.

Applications are due September 11, 2023.  
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2023 Summer Programs are Here!


We are excited to offer three programs for Providence youth this upcoming season. NUA Summer Programs offer a suite of summer enrichment programs that are designed to be accessible to low-income high school students. Students collaborate with Artist Mentors and visiting artists on a range of projects, from one-time group activities to long-term, highly-conceptual independent work. The programs‘ themes are explored through dialogue, art-making, research, writing, reflective activities, and field trips outside the studio. Click here to read more about each program and reserve a spot today!

The Story of NUA’s New Language

In our most recent strategic plan, we articulated a desire to re-examine our organization’s core documents. In 2022, NUA refreshed our purpose, mission, and values statements to better reflect our community as we look toward the next 25 years. Providence artist-educator MJ Robinson facilitated this collective effort. Here’s how we did it!

CHAPTER 1: Data Gathering
October 2021–April 2022

We found fun and engaging ways to collect thoughts, feelings, and ideas about NUA from stakeholders in our community: students, alumni, staff, board members, former staff, former volunteers, and the general public.


Story-ified surveys
We created sculptures that doubled as receptacles where students could respond to various prompts. Students from NUA Knights at Central High School fed their thoughts to an oversize rubber ducky, while students at NUA’s studio shared their responses with a fuzzy orange feedback monster. Many people also responded to an open online survey told from the perspective of the feedback monster.

Group Workshops
MJ facilitated several hands-on workshops with Studio Team Advisory Board (STAB) members, recent alumni, staff members, board members, and the 25th anniversary committee.

One-on-one conversations
MJ interviewed several key members of NUA’s community. Most were identified by staff leadership, while some reached out for further discussion after participating in other parts of the process..

Reviewing past language
MJ looked at our existing language, including products of our most recent strategic planning process (such as our core practices), with fresh eyes and encouraged others to mark up our previous mission.

CHAPTER 2: Data Analysis and Drafting
April 2022–August 2022

A team of staff plus one board member collaborated with MJ to review community feedback and draft language, prioritizing current student and recent alumni voices in our writing process. STAB met to revise the working draft.


CHAPTER 3: Approving and Celebrating
September–October 2022

STAB, staff, and board members met in September and voted to officially approve the new purpose, mission, and values. We partied with the new language at the 25th Gala celebration in October!


Alumni Spotlight

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. Alumni stay connected to New Urban Arts in a variety of ways from staying in touch with the ALAS program, volunteering, joining our staff and board, and becoming donors. For our eleventh month we asked five alumni to share what they’re up to, and how NUA has influenced them since graduation. 


Emely Barroso Madé, class of 2010
Currently involved with NUA as a Volunteer Artist Mentor. 

NUA has been like a home base that I could always come back to since becoming an alum. My life has changed in so many ways after graduation, none of which I could have foreseen.  Coming to the studio felt like a reward after a grueling hurdle of the school day. Then after college didn’t work out & I moved out of the New England area, I lost a lot of myself for a long time. As my life kept changing, so did NUA! We both had big moves, so many new faces have come in & out of our lives, we would look so wildly different than we did back when I was a student. Yet that feeling I had during open house all those years ago has never changed. I’ve always felt welcomed here. Whether it’s someone who’s known me since I was a teen or someone I’ve met a handful of times from a studio meeting now as an adult, that feeling of warmth, comfort & acceptance is the same. I feel really blessed & grateful to still have this connection. Now being a part of the new volunteer mentors has been a dream come true that I never thought would come true. But it did! That’s something NUA’s also offered me through all these years. Whether it’s been with art or in my personal life, being a part of NUA has given me these chances to make something I couldn’t see or believe happening come to reality.

I’ve learned a lot about myself since moving back to Rhode Island. All these challenging lessons & changes that have come with this move keep happening whether I’m ready or not so it’s been good to have one constant in my life. I’m looking forward to seeing how NUA & I keep changing & how we continue to grow together. I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of NUA, past & present, who’ve all helped shape me into who I am today. I’m glad we could build this home together & congrats on 25 years. I hope to pass that feeling on to the next generation of students & being a part of cultivating this space they can always be excited to come back to for the next 25 years. I’m still drawing & working on making comics. It’s funny how much I reflected on all these huge life changes but I still feel like the same kid who came to NUA to work with the then comics mentor. I’m also working on going back to school to pursue art education or graphic & web design. I took a long break from making art so it’s exciting to think about the possibilities of what my art can be or look like getting back into it. I still love cartooning, painting, making books & zines but now that I’m older I’ve also come to love film & sculpting also one of the resident mentors, Ian Cozzens, put me on to sewing these cute plush toys so I’d love to see how I can learn from & mix up a little of everything from all these mediums.

Angella Nakasagga, class of 2019 
Currently involved with NUA through A Life After School. 

First, I want to say that NUA has been a constant string in my life that has catalyzed my successful achievements outside and inside the classroom through highschool to my current day in college. Engaging in a co-creative/academic space like NUA has truly made me appreciate the meaning of aligning passion and purpose. So many lessons learned from Mara [former ALAS Coordinator], and the check-ins with Addy [the current ALAS coordinator] have been a shining star guiding me through admission processes, dissecting career and academic choices, and always-needed words of (life) wisdom. Now I am currently a junior at the University of Miami studying Public Health and Economics. All my personal projects are to do with economics research, and I hope to continue a life of learning through later-life post-grad studies. I really like to paint and since my start in NUA, I have engaged in the practice more deeply creating a few canvases that are dear to my heart.

MJ, class of 2021
Currently involved with NUA through A Life After School. 

Since I graduated, New Urban Arts has supported me academically and financially, which I greatly appreciate as a low-income, first-generation student. In addition, Addy has been incredibly helpful and supportive when I have questions about FAFSA or scholarships. In 2020, I participated in a virtual summer program focused on discovering different styles of art. I really enjoyed learning the different media and started writing poems as a form of storytelling and journaling. 

Adrienne Adeyemi, class of 2006
Currently involved with NUA on the Board of Directors 

New Urban Arts has been very instrumental in my personal and professional development. Participating in New Urban Arts’ programming as a high school student, and other like nonprofit organizations, inspired my career in the non-profit field. I kept in touch with NUA leadership – leaning on them as mentors as I found my own path, and I’ve now come to see them as close colleagues and friends. I had the privilege of serving as New Urban Art’s state grant officer during my time at the RI State Council on the Arts. I am now serving in my second term as a New Urban Arts Board Member, having recently been appointed as the Chair of the Development Committee. New Urban Arts has a funny and magical way of bringing its own back into the fold for our time, treasures, and talents. It’s been an honor to serve in various capacities over the years and to watch New Urban Arts’ evolution over time as I’ve evolved into the adult that I am today.

Dana Heng, class of 2011
Currently involved with NUA as a Resident Artist Mentor 

When I moved back to Providence after college, even after my immediate family moved away, I knew I wanted to come back to NUA to be a volunteer artist mentor. I started mentoring in film photography in 2016, which happened to be the first medium I tried at NUA while I was a student under the mentorship of Erik Gould back in 2007. After that year in photography, I was hired to co-teach the 2017 Summer Art Inquiry, and then I was hired onto year-long staff as a Resident Artist Mentor later that autumn. Since then I’ve participated in several professional development trainings, including ones in Painting with Mediums, Youth Development, and Restorative Justice.

As artist mentors, we are trained in NUA’s core practices, one of which is “[Youth] Agency and Freedom of Expression.” It has taken me my lifetime to instill this practice within myself, even as I’ve navigated higher education and the art world as a young adult. As an employee of NUA, I’ve felt like my coworkers have all mentored me at varying degrees. My coworkers and supervisors asked the right questions to guide me in a direction of my choosing, whether it was a vague goal I needed help working through for professional/career development, or a specific desire to create a studio system for student works-in-progress. It feels both collaborative and supportive. Whenever I tell friends outside the org that I’m never told what to do at my job, they are confused! It has been an empowering experience to feel supported by such a flexible workplace. Of course we instill structures that make sense for everyone, but we are ready to change when needed. The people here really define the studio, not the other way around. I am still currently employed at NUA. I work part-time, so I have flexible time for my own creative practice–which is all over the place!

Before the pandemic, I was doing a lot of fun installation collaborations with friends in unconventional spaces. We threw weird installation art parties called Ice Floe to help fund DIY projects, such as the first two Queer/Trans Zine Fests. In 2018 I co-founded Binch Press with some friends, with the idealistic dream of creating a radical community space for meetings, events, art, and publishing. In 2019 I was the RISD Museum Artist Fellow, and collaborated in a museum intervention with a socially-engaged art project, Look At Art, Get Paid. In that year, I also tried out a solo studio practice, which was unusual for me, but I learned a lot about myself and how I want to be a creative person. I’ve always been interested in the culinary arts, and the pandemic times really let me lean into it even more. I was doing caregiving work with my grandma, helped her cook, and documented many of her traditional Khmer home recipes. I’ve done a couple food pop ups, and I also just let myself get really creative at dinner time for a private audience. I’ve taken a couple clay hand building classes during the pandemic too–and that’s been a nice steady speed for creativity. Rediscovering my creative practice after March 2020 has been a slow process, but I am not too worried! I still think a lot about gender, labor, domesticity, mundanity, food heritage, and social and natural worlds when making (or not making) artwork.


Thanks for coming to our 25th anniversary gala!

Thank you for helping make our celebration a success! It was an amazing evening to share with our extended NUA community. Over 200 people attended in their best creative couture and, between our sponsors and guests, we were able to raise over $40,000 to kick off the next 25 years of New Urban Arts. Check out these photos of the evening courtesy of our friend Tracy Jacques. It was great to see you all and we hope to see you again soon!

Program Spotlight: NUA Knights

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. For our ninth month, we are highlighting NUA Knights with an interview with the Site Director there, Kelly Harlow, and the new NUA Knights Program Coordinator, Sherly Torres.

In 2017, New Urban Arts (NUA) and Central High School (CHS) teamed together to expand the after school programming for Central students. The NUA Knights expansion program is funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant awarded to NUA and CHS by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). NUA Knights offers comprehensive after school programming that strives to create a greater sense of community and personalization for students centering on Academics, Arts, Intramural Sports, Leadership and Social/Emotional Learning. 


What is NUA Knights?

Kelly: NUA knights is a space for Central High School students to explore their interests and passions after school. We’re a partnership that NUA and Central started in 2017, so we are starting our 6th year of programs!


What is the relationship between NUA Knights and the 705 Westminster Studio?

Kelly: It’s like a bridge to me—it really brings over a lot of the feeling of the NUA space right into the school. 

Sherly: It’s a 50-50 relationship in that we help NUA reach out to more Central students who need after school opportunities in the school (and who don’t want to walk all the way over to the studio), and we send students over to NUA and share some of the way we run programs.



Are the programs similar?

Kelly: We do have more structured programs students can sign up for, but it’s still drop-in, they don’t have to go to every single guitar club meeting, etc. And the programs are run by teachers and other staff at Central, but there’s also our office space where students can hang out with us, which is much less structured.

Sherly: Instructors have freedom in how they plan their program, and attendance isn’t mandatory, so students can come and go as they please. There’s time and space for teachers and students to connect in ways they might not in class.


Why is NUA Knights important for students at Central?

Kelly: I think without NUA Knights there would be so many kids that aren’t doing anything afterschool, just going home or hanging around. Allowing them to have connections with teachers/community partners after school is so valuable. 

Sherly: I consider it a place to let them breathe a little, a space for them to make executive decisions for themselves, and recognize that they are making executive decisions for themselves. Whether that decision is “do nothing at all,” or practice some kind of craft or art, this is a space where we acknowledge the students’ wants and needs and work with that rather than the other way around.


What is your favorite program that you run?

Kelly: Our office space is called “Hanging With NUA Knights,” which is a lot of fun. Students can break out a canvas or make bracelets or start a huge game of UNO, it’s just a place to be and hang out with people. 

Sherly: I like the activities that are beyond normal academic fields. They took out the music program during the school day, so we’re offering that now after school, and we have a cooking class now, which is really cool! 



You just organized an Opportunities Fair for the students—can you tell me a little more about that?

Kelly: Yeah! NUA Knights wanted not only to highlight our program opportunities but the opportunities of community organizations around Providence to the young people of Central, Classical, and PCTA. We invited 15 youth-serving orgs to table and promote their fantastic programs. In total, we had about 250 youth walk through to check out what was out there for them!


What are your hopes for the year?

Kelly: Being able to provide our programs to as many students as possible. 

Sherly: I hope that it can actually encourage some productivity for students. A lot of them are seniors coming back from COVID-world and they struggle with hopelessness in thinking about what to do after school. I think sometimes coming here helps them understand that they do have hobbies and maybe motivates them to think about that in the future.



What are your dreams for the future?

Kelly: A student being able to walk in and say, ‘I’m interested in X,’ and we can say, ‘We can do that!’ or if not, then, ‘Let’s make it happen!’ I want to build on what we have and offer a wide variety. 

Sherly: I hope to extend this program to other schools if possible… and more field trips haha. Something out of state would be really cool. 

Kelly: Yeah just more exposure for the students, getting out a little more.


Any words of wisdom for Central students as you gear up for the start of the year?

Kelly: Come spend an afternoon with us! We’ll be here, and if you show up and you realize none of these programs actually interest you, you can tell us what does interest you, and we can act as a hub and get you connected to a place where you can do that.

Shely: We start programs on October 11th! 

Kelly: We have a guitar program (which includes electric and bass! We’re getting a drum set and keyboard, we’re going to have a full band!), book club, fitness/weight club and training is maybe our most popular program, and chess team, which has won statewide awards. We’re gonna have a cooking program again which is very exciting, and a fashion/design program. We also have some planned partnerships for the future with groups like Farm Fresh RI in the spring. Sojourner House is gonna come in and talk about healthy relationships, and Young Voices will come in to talk about activism with the students. 

Program Spotlight: Summer Programs

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. 

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Become an Artist Mentor at New Urban Arts!

We are now taking applications for Artist Mentors for our 2022-23 Youth Mentorship in the Arts program. Mentors commit to volunteering 4 hours a week from October through May, building healthy relationships with high school students through the exploration of art media. Mentors help New Urban Arts create a safe and healthy environment, participate in year-long professional development and become important members of the New Urban Arts community.  
You can apply online through this form: 
Applications are due September 6, 2022.  
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Program Spotlight: Music – An Interview with Andres Bonilla

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. For our sixth month, we are highlighting our Music program with an interview with our Music Resident Artist Mentor, Andres Bonilla, who started his first year at NUA this last fall, in 2021.


This was your first year at NUA. How’s it feel in the music room? What has been surprising?

Andres: It was very surprising the environment, the vibe. I used to be a professor, there were specific hours, a schedule, but here it is an open studio. That was very surprising – to be in a space that I could be with the students in a different way every single day.

The other thing that shocked me from the beginning was the number of different instruments we have –  the synthesizers, the drums, the guitar pedals, the MIDI controllers, it’s awesome. It gives us a lot of opportunities to create, we don’t have the usual limitations, it’s not just one guitar, we have 3, and 3 amplifiers!


Why do you think music is important to students and the studio?

Andres: I think that music is one artform that you used to do with more people. It’s not like writing, for example: usually you write, you paint alone, not always, but often that’s the culture. Music is one where, yes you can do it alone, but usually you need more people to create your music – you need a bass player, a singer, a drummer, it’s a social activity. In the studio, it’s the most social activity. The students that play music in the studio, they work together and they stick together. You can spot them in the rest of the studio because they cluster together with each other–not because they are jerks, but because they learn and express together and it makes them close. I think it’s important to have that space. Sometimes music can be a way to overcome loneliness.

I know that you weren’t here pre-covid, but do you think that loneliness is more pronounced, are students more hesitant to play together now in the pandemic era?

Andres: My feeling when I arrived here was that the students were very isolated, each one in their own space creating their own thing. It was cool to see how the desire to make music made them socialize with others slowly. The desire to create music was stronger than their anxieties. Making music was the path and the tool at the same time: they wanted to play together to create music and so they were socializing and then creating music together. A lot of them came in with their own ideas, but I think they all slowly realized that they needed others to make music and a lot of friendships came out of it.


What is your background in music? What do you think you bring to the music programs at NUA?

Andres: I started to play when I was 13 years old, but my family always played guitars and folk instruments, so I have this Latin American, Colombian, folk background in one hand, and then eventually I picked up electric guitar and started playing Pink Floyd and Metallica and stuff. Then I went to university and studied jazz, salsa, a lot of classical of course. And then I went to Italy to study film scoring and I had this amazing experience that allowed me to compare my Colombian background against a European one. I brought something different than the other students and it helped me reconsider my own work in a new way that I am still exploring, the overlap of those two cultures. That is also what I bring to NUA, my background as an immigrant, as a Latin American musician. At NUA  it’s cool, there’s all this diversity and it’s important for the students to see someone who is not from here, for our immigrant students as well, to help them see they can draw from their own cultures as well, whatever they are.

What are your hopes for music going forward (immediate future)?

Andres: There are some people who seem interested in pursuing a career in music. I want to help them achieve their goals, going to university for composition or learning how to produce their own songs. This last year felt more like an opener: people came here for the first time since the pandemic and they had to figure out how to use the space. Now that they have seen the studio, some of them want to develop more of their own projects. I always love helping people get started with a new instrument and am looking for new tools to assist with that, maybe host some writing or production workshops, etc. 


What are your dreams for music at NUA over the next 25 years (long term/fantasy)?

Andres: I would like there to be different options for mentors within music, a violin mentor, a drum mentor, a cello mentor, with different rooms, and to start working with kids who are maybe a little bit younger since it really helps so much to start with an instrument and then maybe have a festival! There could be so many different kinds of music it would be great.

Any tips/words for students who have never tried music at NUA?

Andres: It’s important to know that talent is just the art of repetition. There is not some magical formula. Music has this particular quality, it is one of the most performatic arts. When someone is playing you see that instant, those two minutes. You think ‘Wow, that person is awesome, so talented, I could not do something so hard,’ but that person was practicing in their room for who knows how many hours per day. Just for fun. If you want to try, if you want to play some music, don’t worry about whether or not it’s good. Expose yourself to new things, ask around for help, play, and don’t worry. This is especially true for singers, people think ‘I don’t have a good voice,’ but that’s an instrument that can be practiced too. There’s also making music on the computer, where you don’t have to be an amazing instrumentalist. It’s another way of expressing yourself that is available now, that anyone can take advantage of. 

Program Spotlight: A.L.A.S.

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. For our fifth month, we are highlighting our ALAS program with an interview with Addy, our ALAS Coordinator, and Lateefat, a graduating senior who can often be found sitting across from Addy and talking about life after high school.


What is ALAS at NUA?

Addy: It stands for A Life After School and it is NUA’s post-secondary support program. I’m the coordinator and I help students plan for their life after high school: college, job support, learning new trades, etc.


Why is it important for a place like NUA to have ALAS?

Lateefat: A lot of times in school there is a lack of that support, especially at a bigger school where there are 4 counselors for 1,000 students. That’s like 250 students per counselor and that’s a lot for them to do! There’s only so much we can do on our own so it’s nice to have one-on-one support to keep me accountable.


What are some highlights from this last year in the ALAS program?

Lateefat: It helped me not just apply to college, but do so in a way that I was able to apply to all of the colleges I was interested in early-action. It made a scary impossible thing feel more manageable. Senior year is so stressful and I was burnt out from APs and scholarship applications and so many other things. It made me feel like I could actually do it—I think without that support, I wouldn’t have been able to apply to half those things. Sometimes I felt so tired I didn’t want to hold a pencil, but I wanted to make sure for each ALAS meeting that I always had one thing to show so that kept me motivated to keep checking off a few boxes.

Addy: A lot has happened this year. In the fall we had college visits from admissions officers from a variety of different colleges. We had a bunch of workshops on topics like financial aid, scholarships, résumés, and alternatives for students who don’t want college. We also had a series of financial literacy workshops for the first time… we collaborated with the FLY Initiative. A NEACAC grant helped us be able to pay students to attend those workshops which was really great. We’ve also been partnering with Crafting the Future to provide opportunities for our BIPOC students and alums to attend art workshops around the country. We’ve really been trying to boost our alumni support so we’ve got a newsletter going and are keeping in touch with all of them a lot more.


What have you utilized ALAS services for and how has ALAS played a role in your high school life?

Lateefat: I used it mainly to keep me on pace to set those deadlines and hit them. It was like having a gym buddy: this person is going to be there at this time. It helped me get things done a lot earlier and motivated me to do it. Then during school breaks I got to take an actual break instead of stressing on all the stuff I would have been behind on.

Addy: Lateefat was very proactive which was awesome. 

Lateefat: Some of it is so daunting. I heard about the common app a million times but no one actually told me what it was. Addy and I looked through it together and we broke it down into manageable pieces and made it approachable. It’s not that bad! Tedious maybe, but not that bad—especially compared to scholarships haha.


What advice would you give your self-from-last-year?

Lateefat: I would tell myself to slow down a little bit. It did work out, but I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to get things in at the earliest date. Scholarships was another one: researching them before they open would have been helpful because they don’t give you much time to get everything together.


What would you tell students who have not yet utilized ALAS services?

Lateefat: Just do it, even if you might not go to college, Addy can help you do whatever you’re thinking about doing. The financial literacy workshop was a bunch of stuff I didn’t know and it was great. Even one meeting can make a big difference. I feel like not utilizing ALAS is like not picking up $20 off the floor.

Addy: Or $1000 sometimes, haha. ALAS can be for whatever you want it for. It’s really just about you and your goals and whatever you’re trying to navigate in life. I think of myself as a connector so I just want to plug you in to resources or cool programs.


Lateefat, you also participated in the summer College Explorations program with Addy, what was that like?

Lateefat: It helped me break down aspects of colleges I was interested in and make sense of them because there are so many details. I was college-bound crazy, so I watched a lot of videos and it was so much information. 


Is college everything ALAS does?

Addy: No! College is only one part of what we do, we support students who don’t want to go to college or aren’t sure—it might just not be a good fit! We have hosted a variety of career exploration workshops including “Careers in the Arts” which brought in a lot of professionals working in the arts, some of whom have gone to college, some not, to give examples of what different paths after high school might look like.

Lateefat: I would just say if there are any students wondering if they should bother making a meeting with Addy, even if you don’t want to go to college or even know what you want to talk about, it’s so great to talk to someone who isn’t your parents to help you understand what you want, even if it’s just what you want to do right now or this summer. Addy can connect you to painting programs and help you even if that’s not your career. I was into fashion but I was afraid because I also want financial stability and Addy helped me find that there are programs like fashion marketing or business programs that can apply to fashion that made me feel more comfortable pursuing those dreams. And they helped me make my first résumé!

Addy: What’s gratifying for me is seeing how knowledge and education changes people’s lives. Even a small thing can make a big impact.

25th Anniversary Book—Call For Submissions

Art & experiences from 25 years of NUA community
**Submit by July 31st 2022**

Dearest NUA alumni and students, former and current mentors, staff, supporters and friends!

The 25th Anniversary Steering Committee is curating a collection and art book to celebrate 25 years of NUA community. We’re talking big, dope, coffee-table, museum-worthy art book that just says, “Wow, look at that awesome thing!” And we want you to be a part of it. 

We want this book to showcase the impression NUA has created in the world. It’s a souvenir! A yearbook! A community art history! A casebook of how we make NUA happen! A fundraising tool! A manifesto! It’s a chance to create a snapshot of everything that we were, are, and could become — a communal book for a now-global community.

For anyone previously or currently involved with NUA, you are invited to submit any (or several) of the following:

  • Your NUA story or timeline or history
  • 1-2 pieces of art, creative writing, or any work that represents your creative practice
  • A short statement (<20 lines) on how NUA has affected your life and your creative practice
  • An interview or discussion with another member of the NUA community
  • A special memory you have of NUA or interactions with NUA people in the wider world
  • A meditation on, or description of, something that someone made at NUA
  • A NUA How To (How to make a T-shirt. How to make a self-portrait. How to stop time. How to collaborate, etc.)
  • A critical piece exploring some of the issues or problems you think NUA addresses in the world
  • A studio tour
  • A love poem to NUA
  • Any other expression of what NUA means to you <3

For sponsors, friends, and extended community members, we invite you to write in or share with us creatively:

  • What is NUA?
  • What did you witness at NUA?
  • What inspires you about NUA?
  • What made you want to support NUA over the years?
  • What influence does NUA have on Providence, the community, or the world?

Do you want to be involved but can’t think of what to write or make?  Let us know, and we’ll make suggestions! Submit digitally or by mail! Please include your name, contact information, and your relationship to NUA (including alum year if applicable). Optional: Send a selfie too if you’d like.

Submit digitally to:

Share visual art as high-quality image (.jpg, .psd, .tiff) or vector files. Share written work as a word document.

Submit physical items via mail to:    
    New Urban Arts
    ATTN: 25th Book 
    705 Westminster St
    Providence, RI 02903

No restrictions on size or medium, but if you mail it and it’s small enough we might be able collage it in — no promises!

Just so you know: by submitting, you are consenting for your work to be printed in what we hope will be a lovely book. We can’t guarantee that everything submitted will make it into the book — but we will find a creative way to use all submissions. 

We will put out the word when this book is available — we would love to get a copy into your hands, and for you to be able to share it with your friends!

With much love,
  The NUA 25th Steering Committee

Abel Hernandez, Alumni & Former Artist Mentor
Alice Costas, Former Artist Mentor
Adrienne Adeyemi, Alumni & Current Board Member
Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director & Former Artist Mentor 
Emily Ustach, Deputy Director & Former Artist Mentor
Jane Androski, Former Artist Mentor & Former Board Member 
Jennifer Recinos, Alumni & Former Artist Mentor
Kath Connolly, Former Board Member
Marcus Civin, Founding Staff Member 
Maya Lehrer, Alumni 
Michael Fournier, Former Board Member 
Tamara Kaplan, Former Staff Member 

New Urban Arts Summer Programs Are Here!

Are you a high school student or do you know someone who is interested in being involved with New Urban Arts this summer?


New Urban Arts is accepting applications for 25 paid summer apprenticeships in three programs, Art Inquiry: Water Ways; the STAB Leadership Project; and College Explorations. Click for more information on these programs in English or in Spanish.


Youth receive $400 stipends for their participation.

Lunch, snacks and bus passes are provided to students at no cost.


Summer Internships at New Urban Arts is open to students entering 10-12th Grades. 

Students can apply online here:

or by downloading an application here

For more information, call 401-751-4556.  

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Program Spotlight: S.T.A.B.

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. For our fourth month, we are highlighting our STAB program with an interview with three of our current student members, Edwin, Katrina, and Brent.


What is STAB?

Edwin: Studio Team Advisory Board

Katrina: Sexy Teenagers A-broad… We represent the students at NUA. 

Edwin: We make decisions for the studio that revolve around students.

Brent: It’s an attempt to provide student representation in the governance of this organization. We are more here to give student perspective than to mastermind anything.

Edwin: We get to help hire people.


Why did you join STAB?

Katrina: I like knowing what goes on behind the scenes and I wanted to be more involved in this place because I think it’s cool.

Brent: Because I’m a control freak

Edwin: Ashley [former Studio Director] asked me if I was interested in STAB because I have strong opinions.


Why is STAB important to the studio?

Edwin: I think we have insight that mentors might not have. I think we do a good job representing the student body because we have a diverse committee. We cover all corners of the spectrum of NUA people. 

Katrina: So far we, as a group, have cultivated some good relationships, we get along I think. I enjoy hanging out with the STAB group. 

Edwin: Mentors are not as personal as the students.There’s always going to be a difference between mentor and student and students can represent their own needs better.

Brent: There’s also a financial component, students are the ones receiving the services that NUA provides, so we have the perspective on how to improve it and how to make it more accurately serve our needs.


What are some projects STAB has worked on this year?

Edwin: We hired the new studio director!

Katrina: We interviewed the studio advocate.

Brent: We discussed how students eat in regard to what is safe and comfortable given COVID safety stuff. When the guidelines were changing we gave input into what was working and what wasn’t.


What are your hopes and dreams for STAB in the future?

Edwin: I would like to see NUA expand in size to serve more students.

Brent: I’d like to see a yearly recruitment drive so we can have a constant influx of new students.

Katrina: All of the STAB members will be seniors next year, so we will need more students to join for the future.

Edwin: I think it would be cool to have the walls painted something other than white, student paintings/murals on the walls. For example, that wall is just blue, you can do better than that Dean. [note from the editor: Sorry Edwin!]

Katrina: Definitely the podcast.

Edwin: We’re starting a podcast.

Katrina: It’s called New Urban Farts, and it’s conversations with students, uncensored! It’s going to be launched on the NUA website and youtube channel. We are mostly going to discuss amongst STAB and it will be a resource for community members, future students/STAB members for what the studio culture is like.

Program Spotlight: Painting and Drawing

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. For our third month, we are highlighting our Painting and Drawing program with an interview with our Painting and Drawing Resident Artist Mentors, Dana and Sherly, and a current NUA student that has been very involved in painting this year, Geany.


Why is Painting and Drawing important to students and the studio?

Dana: Painting and drawing is the gateway medium to a greater artistic practice–it’s what people first encounter normally, what they understand as art.

Geany: It’s the most important thing in your life. When you’re little you paint a flower, your mom or your dad or whatever, it makes you feel happy. If we didn’t have that… it makes you feel less stressed. The paper, the brushes, you can make whatever you want.


What’s going on in the studio for you right now?

Sherly: We are coming back from February break and installed all our findings and nature art on our walls. Some students are completing their art that was left before we closed for break, others are starting from scratch. At the same time, I’m encouraging students to exhibit their art for the upcoming show in April.

What are your hopes for Painting and Drawing going forward (immediate future)?

Dana: I wanna go 3D! I’ve been talking with Sherly about wanting to do a papier-mâché workshop, maybe make masks. More sculpture and painting the sculptures, of course.

Sherly: I hope for students to dive into charcoal or ink drawing at least once. Also, we are running out of acrylic paint, haha.

Geany: There’s already everything, you can do it all. You have your hands, the brushes the paint, you can do anything. More brushes, more colors of paint, I guess, high quality stuff. And more canvasses! And more space to store the paint and the paintings.


What are your dreams for painting and drawing at NUA over the next 25 years?

Dana: I mean it would be cool to do another mural somewhere in the city. Maybe a big summer project and a big mural.

Sherly: One of my studio goals is for students to feel encouraged to pin their art on the walls without having mentors to ask them to. I want them to embrace the studio as their space not only for creation but also for personal exhibition. 

There are two mentors in this media area. What does that look like, how does it work?

Dana: It’s pretty fluid, there’s usually a lot of students in our zones so we can spread ourselves a lot more and we both have different areas of expertise which is pretty cool, and Sherly speaks Spanish which is great because we have a lot of students who prefer Spanish, and she has a lot more technical practice in painting and drawing, whereas I’m a little more head in the clouds, conceptual, mixed-media oriented. I’m more of a big ideas first, medium comes after type person. 

Sherly: My approach is more academic. I believe Dana has a more expressive approach. I tend to focus on the practices of color theory, proportional drawing, and the overall elements and principles of art. I find it important to have two different minds work together to mentor because it will remind students that there is no one way of making art; and that art making is really down to personal choice.


How did you start painting or drawing at NUA?

Geany: Everything about art has my attention, and I see all this paint and brushes and I think I need to do something. I did my first painting, I haven’t finished it yet, but I will. I was really excited about it, but I needed to do something else and then another one and another one and I haven’t finished any of them, but I will! I can do a lot of things, I can express my feelings in painting, or a situation. And there’s something about art where I can express myself. If you’re angry, and you paint, then you will do something horrible! That will express your feelings. In music you can hear it too. 

Dana and Sherly, you were both students at NUA before you were mentors, did those experiences influence your mentoring? How so?

Dana: Having an adult to talk to that’s not someone in my family and not someone who is an authority figure has been a big influence. That experience has informed a lot about how I mentor and think about power dynamics—I’m a mentor, not an expert, and I make sure the students know that, and I think that evens the playing field a little. Also, in my experience as a young person, looking back, I was told to do a lot of things and I just listened because I didn’t understand I could be the driving force of my life. So when I mentor, I really emphasize the agency part of our core values and make sure student know they can make decisions on their own and it doesn’t have to do with getting good grades or impressing anyone.   

Sherly: During high school I struggled to focus on a lot of things but when it came to art my focus was on the compositions and details I was creating with painting and drawing. It felt like for the first time I had control of what I wanted to do and make. I figured that I wasn’t the only person that went through that and despite them being a different generation, some youths are also going through the same mental process like I did. I want to guide them through it.


How has painting and drawing at NUA changed since you were students?

Dana: When I was a student there was a little more structure to each medium. I remember coming in and my mentor Julia saying I’ll be here Mondays and Wednesdays doing block printing on the press, which felt more like a drop-in class. Our capacity pre-pandemic was much bigger than when I was a student, so it feels more open. I’m not necessarily being sought out as a painting mentor, but when I see someone interested in painting I approach them, just because there are so many students now and it’s so accessible: you see a canvas and you see a paintbrush and you know what to do, it’s intuitive to want to put those together.


Anything tips for students who have never done painting and drawing at NUA?

Geany: You can do whatever you want, everybody has different eyes and sees things differently.

Program Spotlight: Printmaking

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. For our second month, we are highlighting our Printmaking program with an interview with our Printmaking Resident Artist Mentor, Ian, and two current NUA students that have been making regular use of the printmaking facilities, Pax and Sophia. 


How did you start printmaking at NUA?

Sophia: My sister was a part of Spanish Club, that’s how I found out about screenprinting. She was doing it a lot and I wanted to try it, so I decided to come to NUA. It excited me and it was super fun, and I kept wanting to start new projects and I just love doing it!

Pax: I just really wanted to make a t-shirt, so I asked Ian about how. 

Ian [RAM]: I’ve been screenprinting in Providence since the year 2000! I volunteered at New Urban Arts as a mentor from 2005-2008, then in 2015 I was part of the initial crew of Resident Artist Mentors on NUA’s staff. I am the Printmaking mentor which means I build and maintain the screenprinting facility at NUA, and I introduce students to printmaking and what the possibilities are in silkscreen and blockprinting, which are the main print media we offer.

Why do you like screenprinting/printmaking?

Sophia: I like the freedom that NUA gives me to organize it all myself. From the start I learned to do everything and then from there I got better and more comfortable in my skill. I could do things more efficiently and got better and it felt cool to switch from one color to another or from one project to another. It’s exciting, even if that sounds silly. It’s fun to know that a good product is coming out of it.

Pax: I have always wanted to make my own clothes, I used to paint straight onto t-shrits because I didn’t know screen printing existed. I’m not sure why, I really like the t-shirts that have cute little pictures on them and I want to put my own on there.

Why do you think screenprinting is important for the NUA studio?

Sophia: I definitely think it’s important. For me it’s where I am all the time at NUA. It’s fun because you can get something you can wear out of it. And you can make prints. Whatever we make in the rest of the studio can be brought to life on something you’d wear. It’s also really fun to teach other people how to go through it. 

Pax: It takes up a lot of space for sure so it’s a big part of the studio. I think it’s really fun, you can print on your own stuff and make your own designs and it easily bleeds over into other stuff at the studio which is cool.

Ian [RAM]: NUA students seem to really love screenprinting for the chance to print T-shirts and garments with their own designs, that they can wear, give to friends, or sell! Some students print posters or prints on paper or sticker paper as well, and some have printed on fabric and then used that fabric to create garments. Screenprinting is great cause once you make a design and expose your screens, you can print as many things as you have time and patience for… use different colors… experiment and try new things. At the NUA studio, it’s always great to see people making multiples of their images… to see students wearing each others’ designs… and young people sharing and spreading their ideas and art through printing. Also it adds color and chaos to the visual backdrop of the studio…. it wouldn’t be NUA without the visual chaos!


What else would you like to see in the screenprinting area at NUA? What do you imagine for printmaking at NUA going forward?

Sophia: Maybe like more student creations. There’s that really cool dress and those testers, but maybe more of those around. It’s inspiring to see all of the colors and prints. It would be cool to see what everyone’s working on.

Pax: I’m not sure, maybe another box to stand on in the printing area since we only have one. Maybe a slide?

Ian [RAM]: I’m hoping that we can make some more prints on fabric and sew those fabrics into things — before COVID, students and mentors had started designing repeating patterns to print on fabric and that was really compelling. I’d love to make tiny wallpapers (dollhouse scale?) and big wallpapers (human scale). Some students have been telling me about complicated project ideas and I really hope we can make those projects happen before the end of the year. I’m always excited to see more prints on paper and people experimenting with what can be done in that realm. And — I’m psyched about sharing student work in a show open to the public in April!

What would you say to students who have never tried screenprinting before? Do you have any tips?

Sophia: At first it’s really intimidating, because there are so many steps and in order for it to be a really nice print you have to follow a certain criteria. But once you get used to it it’s super fun and you can get really into it and it’s super rewarding because you get a really cool print. As for tips… don’t question Ian!!!! Ian knows what he’s talking about. Even though he can be OCD and want everything clean clean and perfect you will thank him in the end because any crusty paint left over you won’t want that on the squeegee the next day, so stick with Ian.

Pax: It’s a lot harder than it looks. When they explain it, it doesn’t sound like something that would be really complicated or hard to do, but it actually is. You put in a lot more effort than you would imagine. But it’s worth it, it’s very fun. My tip is to keep your first print simple so it’s easier to do the whole thing. Mine was kinda complicated and it made the whole process a lot harder.

What are your dreams for printmaking at NUA over the next 25 years?
Ian [RAM]: Oh boy… that’s so far in the future! I am not planning to work at NUA infinitely, so one goal of mine is that someone who loves screenprinting and is psyched about helping students realize their projects and goals can take my place as the printmaking resident artist mentor at some point. I think this job involves a lot of listening to students and asking students really substantive questions to get to the heart of their hopes and their ideas, so it’s not a grown-up just dictating to teenagers what their projects should look or be like. Not every adult artist is ready to do that listening, so it will have to be a special person! I’m hoping that the technical and organizational systems that I’ve created and put into place will continue to serve the studio usefully, both while I’m still here and for whoever comes after me. I would also love to see a formal archive of students’ print projects: there have been so many and I’ve saved copies of lots of them, I would love to see them archived and cataloged in a way that will be part of NUA history for a long time. And of course the main dream is that people just keep printing, keep making cool stuff, keep having access to the tools and materials and facilities here at NUA, and then keep going on out in the world to explore more printing and art forms, and to share their art with everyone. 

Community Notification: New Urban Arts is applying for 21st Century Community Learning Center Funds

New Urban Arts plans to submit an application to the Rhode Island Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program in partnership with Central High School, Classical High School and Trinity Academy for Performing Arts.

Founded in 1997, New Urban Arts is a nationally-recognized community art studio for high school students located at 705 Westminster Street in Providence, RI. Our mission is to build a vital community that empowers young people as artists and leaders to develop a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. Our free programs include after school programming from October through May and a five week summer program. 

The application and any waiver request will be available for public review after submission on March 25, 2022. 

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Say Hello To Two New Staff Members

New Urban Arts is very excited to welcome Andy Goodman and Kelly Harlow to our team!

Andy is taking over as Studio Director at our 705 Westminster Studio. They are a painter, artist, community activist, trouble-maker, and animal lover—read more about them here.

Kelly first joined our family as an intern at Central High School for NUA Knights’ earliest years! Now she has returned as the Site Director. You can find out more about her here.

Welcome (back) to New Urban Arts Andy and Kelly.

Programs Spotlight: Literary Arts

As part of New Urban Art’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spotlighting current programs and initiatives across the organization. Kicking off our first month is a spotlight on our Literary Arts program with an interview with our Literary Arts Resident Artist Mentor. 


Q: Who are you and what do you do at New Urban Arts?

My name is Dean Sudarsky, and I’m the Literary Arts Resident Artist Mentor (LARAM)—I work with students who want to practice creative writing and help with writing-related school work and college essays.

Q: Why are the Literary Arts important to students and the New Urban Arts Studio? 

The Literary Arts enjoy a kind of strange reputation when it comes to access. On one hand, it can be the artform in the studio that is the most personal and the closest to the heart—many of our students write for themselves in their notebooks or keep dedicated journals, whether they think of that as creative writing or not. On the other hand, the way poetry and creative writing is taught in school can make it seem difficult, strict, or out of date. The typewriter we have in the studio is an amazing transformative tool that I think represents the experience our students sometimes have with writing. Students are curious about it as an unfamiliar machine and want to play with it. They’re not sure what to write so they just start pressing keys and when they see their own words become a live artifact, something clicks and the first piece of realizing “anybody can do this” comes into place. A lot of my job is to demystify poetry or writing and help students see that they have been talking for most of their lives and already know how to express themselves with words. Once students understand they can express themselves with words, writing becomes their most versatile and private art—they write in the margins of their notebooks, on their phones—and even as a way of thinking and brainstorming for other mediums.

Q: What’s going on in the studio for you right now?

Right before winter break I was working with a couple students on their applications to RISD precollege summer programs, helping a few other students with college admissions and financial aid essays, and working closely with a handful of students on their personal poems and short stories. A couple of them like to hash out their ideas on the studio typewriter and then we photocopy them and go over them together and mark them up. Another student just submitted a short story to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. 

Since coming back from Winter Break, we’ve been hosting virtual open studio while the Omicron variant is spiking in Rhode Island, and even though virtual studio has its drawbacks compared to being in the NUA space, writing is one artform that translates very well to online programs—there’s a particular activity where we look at a collection of photos from a recent high-fashion runway shoot, everyone picks a particular photo or outfit, we spend a few minutes trying to write a description of the person without making reference to plainly identifiable aspects of the clothing (e.g. “You are a butterfly,” rather than, “You have a colorful dress that features two large wings”), and then read them aloud and guess which picture matches which description. It’s really fun and one of a few activities that work much better in virtual programs than in the studio. 

Q: What are your hopes for Literary Arts going forward?

Although the LARAM position is relatively new to New Urban Arts, one of my favorite longstanding parts of NUA culture is that every piece of student work presented in a show has to be accompanied by an artist statement in the student’s own words. Artist statements are an opportunity for students to think critically about their work, to reflect on what they expressed and what the piece means to them. It also helps introduce them to the practice of writing about their own work, which artists of all ages and skills find to be a challenging part of the process. We provide them with a questionnaire to inspire them, but ultimately what they have to say about their art is up to them. I am always amazed by what they come up with. Since the start of the pandemic, we have not been able to host public exhibitions. My hope is that by the end of this year, we are able to showcase student work, bring back artist statements and see what this year’s students have to say. 

Q: What are your dreams for the Literary Arts at New Urban Arts in the next 25 years? 

Poetry and creative writing seems like something that comes in waves in terms of student interest at NUA. Looking through our collection of books and zines, I have found some really amazing anthologies of student poetry from NUA as well as thematic or directed collections. My hope is that with a dedicated Literary Arts RAM, we can build and sustain a writing community in the studio. Over the next 25 years I hope to see more of those collections on our shelves.

NUA invites BIPOC alumni to apply for 2-week full scholarship residency at renowned craft school


Crafting the Future x New Urban Arts Summer 2022 BIPOC Scholarships

New Urban Arts is excited to announce our second year of partnership with Crafting the Future (CTF). CTF works to diversify the fields of art, craft, and design by connecting BIPOC artists with opportunities that will help them thrive. 

For Summer 2022, CTF and NUA are providing 3 FULL scholarships for BIPOC alumni to take a 2-week residential workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, an internationally- renowned craft school in Deer Isle, Maine. We are excited to invite NUA’s BIPOC alumni to apply! 

Scholarships will cover all expenses to attend the program, including tuition, travel, housing & food, and materials. Participants will also have access to support from both NUA and CTF before, during, and after the program. 

APPLY HERE by Friday, January 21st at 11:59pm EST


Program Details: 

This scholarship provides a residential, intensive arts experience. Participants will select a workshop of their choice and participate in that workshop Monday-Friday during their 2 week program, with breaks for meals and personal work/leisure time. Live on “campus,” meet other artists and students, spend time in nature and in community, and explore your creative practice. You will also not be going alone! Participants will attend their session with 2 other NUA alumni AND a NUA staff member.  


The School and Workshops: 

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is located on the Atlantic Ocean in Deer Isle, Maine. Haystack offers workshops in blacksmithing, ceramics, fibers/textiles, glass, graphics (paper, printmaking, painting), metals, wood, and writing. Most workshops are designed for all levels of experience. 

Check out Haystack’s course catalogue for descriptions of specific workshops. Once we have determined which session our NUA group will attend, participants are guaranteed their first or second choice of workshop for that session. 


Requirements to participate: 

  • Identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or POC
  • 18+ years old at the time of the program. This scholarship is intended for younger alumni (~18-25 years old), but we will consider all applicants. 
  • Alum of NUA’s youth programs
  • Have not previously received this CTF scholarship 
  • Available to participate in a 2-week program this summer 2022 

Timeline of Application and Program: 

  • Friday, Jan. 21th: Application due
  • Friday, Jan. 28th: NUA will notify all applicants if they have been chosen to participate
  • Friday, Feb 15th: Accepted participants submit their registration information to Haystack, including their first and second choice for workshops
  • Feb-June: Register for workshop, arrange travel with NUA support, prepare for program 
  • June-August (Exact dates TBD): Participate in 2-week program! 


Choosing Participants: 

With only 3 scholarships available, we recognize that there might be more applicants than available spots. We welcome applicants of all creative abilities and experience. We will be selecting participants based on their availability to participate and their access to arts programming. If you are not able to participate this year, we plan to provide more opportunities in future years. 



If you are selected to participate, there will be travel involved (train, rideshare, etc). You as the participant will be responsible for the risks associated with traveling during COVID-19. New Urban Arts is happy to help provide protective gear if necessary, but we are unable to mitigate all risks associated with traveling and attending your program. Haystack also requires that all workshop attendees are fully vaccinated. 


Questions or concerns? 

Email Addy, NUA’s A Life After School (ALAS) Coordinator

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Our Staff’s List For This Year’s Giving Tuesday

“We take care of ourselves, we take care of each other, we take care of the studio.”  

These words hang prominently above the door to New Urban Arts as an inspiration to all of our students, staff, volunteers, and visitors. As we celebrate #GivingTuesday, we hope you’ll care for your community in a way that is meaningful to you.

This year, we polled our staff and asked them which local organizations they support; here’s the list we compiled. We hope that you’ll give to New Urban Arts, as well as some of these remarkable organizations that make our community a better place. Happy #GivingTuesday!


Amenity Aid Amenity Aid’s mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations by creating access to essential hygiene products. We are addressing hygiene poverty by acquiring toiletry necessities and distributing them to Rhode Islanders in need.
AMOR AMOR (Alliance to Mobilize our Resistance) is an alliance of grassroots organizations, providing community support in Rhode Island and southern New England for victims of hate crimes and state-sponsored violence.
Amnesty International Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 10 million people who take injustice personally. We are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.
ARISE ARISE (Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education) mobilizes policy, programs, and partnerships to prepare, promote and empower Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian students for educational and career success.
AS220 Youth AS220 Youth is an after-school educational program and creative incubator for young people, serving young people ages 14-21 with a special focus on those in the care and custody of the state.
A Leadership Journey A Leadership Journey provides BIPOC youth ages 13-18 from marginalized identities equitable access to international & domestic cultural exploration through travel, utilizing travel as the vehicle to discuss the importance of Mental & Emotional wellness Global Citizenship, Self-awareness, Leadership, and Ubuntu.
Boys and Girls Club Foxpoint To enable and inspire youth, especially those from diverse or difficult circumstances to:Reach their full potential; Become productive, responsible, and healthy members of society; Develop into givers, and not takers; Make their community, State, and the world a better place for all.
Breakthrough Providence Our mission at Breakthrough Providence is to increase academic opportunity for highly motivated, undeserved students and get them into college ready to succeed; and inspire and develop the next generation of teachers and educational leaders.
College Visions College Visions empowers low-income and first-generation college students to achieve the promises of higher education, while leading the way for innovative college planning and advising.
DARE DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) organizes Providence communities for social, political, and economic justice since 1986.
East Greenwich Free Library The mission of the East Greenwich Free Library is to provide comprehensive library service to enhance the cultural, educational, recreational and professional life of the residents of East Greenwich, RI and surrounding communities.
FANG Community Bail Fund The FANG Community Bail Fund helps free people who are being held on bail in local jails in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The Gordon School Child by child, the Gordon School community cultivates successful students by inspiring joyful learning, encouraging intellectual leadership, fostering an empathic spirit and stimulating a drive for positive societal impact.
George Wiley Center For 40 years, The George Wiley Center has been a grassroots agency that organizes members of the low-income community to advocate for systematic changes aimed at alleviating problems associated with poverty.
Habitat for Humanity The benefits that safe and affordable shelter can have on families and communities who partner with Habitat for Humaninty can be long-lasting and life-changing.
Haus of Codec Based in the creative capital, Haus of Codec is committed to ensuring an end to transition-aged youth homelessness in Providence through the arts and workforce development … Now, the goal of Haus of Codec is to house LGBTQ+ youth in Providence.
The Heifer Project Ending poverty begins with agriculture. We’re on a mission to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way by supporting and investing alongside local farmers and their communities.
Inspiring Minds Inspiring Minds empowers students for success in school and life by supporting them with trusted relationships, tutoring and mentoring form inspired community members.
Island Institute The Island Institute works to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities, and exchanges ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of communities here and elsewhere.
Manton Avenue Project MAP’s mission is to nurture the unique potential of young people in Olneyville by unleashing their creative voices and uniting them with professional artists to create original theatre.
Médecins sans Frontiéres / Doctors without Borders Providing lifesaving medical humanitarian care, and speaking out about what we see.
Movement Education Outdoors Movement Education Outdoors (MEO) provides outdoor experiences and curriculum for community-based organizations serving youth of color and of limited economic resources. We teach youth to become mindful of their body, aware of indigenous history and engaged in the natural world.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society The Society’s mission is: we will cure MS while empowering people affected by MS to live their best lives.
New Leaders Council RI NLC Rhode Island trains cross-sector leaders who are committed to moving the communities they serve and our state forward. We connect inclusive leaders who have the expertise to implement change, and provide the skills and network to make that progress a reality.
Pan-Mass Challenge The PMC’s mission is to raise funds for cnacer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 100% of every rider-raised dollar goes directly to Dana-Farber.
PrYSM PrYSM mobilizes queer Southeast Asian youth, families, and allies to build grassroots power and organize collectively for social justice.
Providence Public Library Providence Public Library inspires Rhode Islanders to be lifelong learners by engaging their curiosity and offering access to extraordinary experiences, resources, and ideas. Engage. Learn. Thrive.
Providence Student Union PSU builds student power to improve education and well-being.
Protect Our Winters POW helps passionate outdoor people protect the places and lifestyles they love from climate change. We are a community of athletes, scientists, creatives, and business leaders advancing non-partisan policies that protect our world today and for future generations.
Refri PVD Refri_PVD is a community fridge on the West End of Providence, now currently located in front of Urban Greens
Rhode Island Food Bank RI Food Bank’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders by advancing solutions ot the problem,. of hunger. The Rhode Island Community Food Bank embodies diversity, serving every part of our state and engaging people froma ll communities and backgrounds in our work.
RI Latino Arts RI Latino Arts promotes, encourages and preserves the art, history, heritage and cultures of the Spanish-speaking people of Rhode Island.
Save the Bay Save The Bay®-Narragansett Bay is a member-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and improving Narragansett Bay and all the waters that flow into it.
Sista Fire Sista Fire is co-creating a network of women of color aged 18 to 30 years old to build our collective power for social, economic and political transformation.
The RI Solidarity Fund The Solidarity Fund is a coalition of six community organizations that have come together to offer a one-stop option for community members and foundations seeking to contribute directly to frontline relief during the Coronavirus crisis.
Sojourner House The mission of Sojourner House is to promote healthy relationships by providing culturally sensitive support, advocacy, housing, and education for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking; and to effect systems change.
Southern Poverty Law Center The SPLC was founded in 1971 to ensure that the promise of the civil rights movement became a reality for all.
Southside Community Land Trust Our mission is to provide access to land, education and other resources so people in Rhode Island can grow food in environmentally sustainable ways and create community food systems where locally produced, affordable and healthy food is available to all.
Southside Cultural Center Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island connects, cultivates and engages community through the arts.
The Steel Yard The Steel Yard’s historic campus is a platform for professional artists, makers, and the community to practice and learn the industrial arts. The organization fosters creative and economic opportunities, by providing workspace, tools, training, and education while forging lasting links to a local tradition of craftsmanship.
Summer on the Hill Summer on the Hill’s mission is to enrich the education of promising, low-income public school students from The Bronx, Washintgon Heights, and Harlem. We prepare our students for selective schools and colleges, and offer guidance to them and their parents. Summer on the Hill (SOH) provides educational opportunities to accepted students for as long as ten years, form the end of 2nd grade through high school.
Tomaquag Museum The Tomaquag Museum is Rhode Island’s only indigenous museum, dedicated to sharing the culture, arts, and history of tribal communities in Southern New England from a first-person perspective.
Turn90 (formerly Turning Leaf) Working with men at the highest risk of re-arrest, Turn90 combines cognitive behavioral classes, case management, transitional work, and job placement to create an opportunity for success after prison where one doesn’t currently exist.
United Way of Rhode Island Uniting our community and resources to build racial equity and opportunities.
Ucross Foundation The mission of Ucross Foundation is to foster the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of the majestic High Plains while serving as a responsible steward of its historic 20,000-acre ranch.
Wyoming Food Bank Food Bank of Wyoming provides food and necessities to people in need through signature programs and by teaming up with over 160 Hunger Relief Partners to serve communities across the state. WE believe that for a community to thrive, every member must have the resources they need to flourish, and we strive to provide equitable access to proper nourishment for all.
Young Voices Young Voices transforms urban youth into powerful advocates who have a voice in every aspect of their lives.
Youth In Action Youth In Action creates opportunities for youth to become agents of change through transformative youth leadership programming.
Youth Pride, Inc. Youth Pride, Inc. is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of youth and young adults impacted by sexual orientation and gender identity/expression while working to end the homophobic and transphobic environments in which they live, work and play.


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New Urban Arts Seeks Director For NUA Knights

We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

New Urban Arts seeks a Site Director for its partner program at Central High School, NUA Knights. The Site Director designs, manages, and oversees afterschool and summer programs for Central High School students and their families under a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. They connect with the community, including students, teachers, parents and administrators, to create a learning environment that conveys a sense of belonging and responsibility. They work closely with Central High School administration to assess the effectiveness and ensure the feasibility of programs. They strive to foster a program that is stimulating, trusting, and resultsoriented. The Director is supervised by the Deputy Director at New Urban Arts and has daily, onsite accountability to the administration at Central High School. 

Click here for the full job description, or read on:


Ensure that the NUA Knights programs and services are designed and delivered to meet the highest standard.

Program Operations:

  • Operate the daytoday activities of the 21st Century program leading to established outcomes, including supervision of staff, partners, and volunteers.
  • Manage program budget composed of funds from 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant with New Urban Arts and Central High School’s Title I Funds.
  • Work with teachers to ensure linkages among programs and with school day instruction.
  • Work with the mental health team at Central to ensure linkages to school day wellness strategies.
  • Facilitate regular, consistent meetings with school leadership to provide updates on progress made and plan for upcoming work.
  • Participate in quarterly governance meetings, including reporting out on program progress, successes and challenges.
  • Facilitate other necessary meetings between stakeholders. Recurring meeting times will be negotiated and set in advance.
  • Implement youth leadership programming and support youthled activities.
  • Infuse NUA Knights with the best practices of positive youth development, and youthcentered programming.
  • Design and facilitate community building efforts, and celebrations, to further develop
    meaningful relationships between high school students and adult program providers.
  • Oversee and ensure student and staff safety in compliance with the RI Program Quality Assessment (RIPQA).
  • Participate and attend occasional meetings, trainings and other organizational efforts at New Urban Arts as necessary.
  • Build partnerships and opportunities that are beneficial to programs and students.
  • Oversee the ongoing recruitment and engagement of high school students and families.
  • Provide technical assistance and resources to program providers as needed.
  • Attend monthly 21st Century Community Learning Centers meeting.

Supervising Program Providers, Staff and Partnerships:

  • Manage and implement the recruitment, professional development, and evaluation of teachers and program providers.
  • Cultivate existing and new partnerships that will maximize resources and opportunities for
    Central’s youth.
  • Support and supervise program staff, including AmeriCorps*VISTA member(s).
  • Support and participate in the Community Partner meetings at Central High School.
  • Attend and participate in partnership meetings with the Providence Public School Department.

Evaluation and Planning:

  • Oversee program evaluation, including measuring the diversity of the student body, attendance and impact.
  • Oversee and ensure successful data tracking and reporting in compliance with 21st Century Community Learning Center’s reporting requirements and in relation to Central’s schoolwide improvement efforts.
  • Set annual program plan, including goals, outcomes, indicators, and calendar.
  • Develop and pilot new programs.
  • Work with Central High School Principal, New Urban Arts, and service providers to implement RIPQA and make adjustments to ensure program implementation is coordinated and reflects the changing needs of participants.
  • Report on feedback to steering committee, program service providers, school administration, students, parents, and the school improvement team.
  • Collaborate with New Urban Arts’ Fund Development staff to identify and apply for funds for sustainability of programs and services.


  • Five years of experience in a directorlevel position with similar responsibilities OR an advanced degree in education, arts management or related field and three years of experience.
  • Experience working in a public school, building relationships with teachers and administrators.
  • Experience supervising and supporting team members, volunteers, AmeriCorps, and contractors.
  • Minimum three years in a management role.
  • Strong project management skills and experience with complex, multifaceted projects.
  • Strength in retaining individuals and teams, empowering them to grow levels of responsibility.
  • Flexible, inclusive, responsive, and solutions focused.
  • Excellent communication skills, including computer and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to translate youth development theory into practice.

Unsure if your qualifications exactly match what we are looking for? We encourage you to apply! The application is not overly burdensome and we would love to know what makes you excited about this opportunity!

To apply

Email resume, and cover letter (two pages max) to Business Manager Jeannie CastilloLaPierre,, subject: NUA Knights Director. No calls please. Send your resume and cover letter as two separate attachments; do not include them in the body of your email. PDF is the preferred file format.

New Urban Arts is an equal opportunity employer;
BIPOC candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

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