We’re Hiring a New Executive Director

New Urban Arts’ Executive Director Daniel Schleifer will be stepping down this summer. As a result, we are searching for a new Executive Director! Read on for details, or download a pdf here.

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts (NUA) is a welcoming community of high school students and adult mentors in Providence sharing space, skills, and resources to inspire creative expression. Since 1997, we have served over 7,000 Providence teens and 200 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. We provide programs at our storefront art studio and nearby Central High School. Our core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts in our storefront studio. Notably, the program is open-door, drop-in, and student-driven. At NUA Knights, our program site at Central High School, we offer a suite of afterschool programs, in the arts and beyond. Other programs include summer programs and post-secondary advising.

To learn more about NUA, our history, impact, and our staff, visit www.newurbanarts.org.

To get a sense of our programs in action, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tePJRZyB9EI

NUA’s programs respond to historic disinvestment in arts and enrichment programs and a shortage of flexible learning spaces for public high school students. Most of our students are low-income youth of color attending public schools.

 

Overview
New Urban Arts is looking for a new Executive Director to:

  • Lead the organization’s vision
  • Develop and manage the immense talent on our team
  • Oversee programs in collaboration with our program directors
  • Manage fundraising and finances
  • Liaise with the Board of Directors

We’re looking for a visionary partner. This job description intentionally does not include every responsibility the Executive Director will manage. Instead, this posting is intended to invite you to see yourself as the steward who can bring new life and energy to NUA.

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for consistently achieving its mission and financial objectives. They are responsible for the overall administration and management of NUA, including programs, fundraising, and business operations, as well as providing leadership and professional development to talented and committed staff. The Executive Director will be expected to give participatory leadership to NUA’s diverse staff, students, their families, its partners, and other stakeholders. The Executive Director will directly supervise a Director of Development, a Director of Finance and Operations, and two program directors: The Studio Director and the NUA Knights Director.

 

Responsibilities
Leadership

  • Continue and deepen the organization’s vision while partnering with the Board of Directors and staff in implementing the organization’s strategic plan, vision, and growth goals. NUA’s current strategic plan expires at the end of 2024, so one of the Executive The Director’s first duties will be to create a new one.
  • Model and facilitate inclusive decision-making and transparency.

Talent Development and Management

  • Support and maintain a work environment in which staff expects excellence and investment in their professional growth and in which they can thrive.
  • Conduct reviews with staff at routine intervals throughout the year to ensure that staff and the Executive Director have open lines of communication and commonly established expectations for their work and for the direction of the organization.

Program Oversight

  • Cultivate and maintain partnerships with institutional and community partners to support NUA’s students and their families.
  • Establish and maintain metrics and best-practice data analytics to monitor and assess the effectiveness of NUA’s programs.
  • Develop and establish new areas of work and revenue for the organization, including identifying and cultivating relationships with new funding partners and serving as the lead facilitator for business development that fits NUA’s mission.

Development/Communications

  • Work closely with the Director of Development in managing relationships with major donors, including prospect research, stewardship, solicitation, and acknowledgment.
  • Establish good working relationships and collaborative arrangements with community groups, funders, politicians, and other organizations to help achieve the organization’s goals.
  • Oversee all marketing and public relations strategies.
  • Cultivate the support of the program team for the organization’s fundraising and communications efforts.

Financial Management

  • Provide for and supervise all fiscal reporting, including grant reports, IRS filings, and other required documents.
  • Ensure effective audit trails.

Board of Directors

  • In partnership with the Executive Committee and Board Chair, prepare board meeting agendas, related materials, information, and reports.
  • Support Board efforts in fundraising.
  • Staff Board committees as appropriate.

 

Who We Are Looking For
In order to meet the above responsibilities, we expect an incoming Executive Director to possess at least five years of meaningful experience in high organizational leadership, plus strong management, finance, and fundraising skills. Beyond these, we are looking for:

  • A collaborative and inclusive leader with a participatory leadership style that can use those skills to develop and guide NUA’s vision and mission.
  • A commitment to serving NUA’s students and families, a dedication to low-income communities and communities of color, and a deep belief in the rights of those communities to have spaces for imagination and creativity.
  • A commitment to bringing racial and economic justice awareness to the organization’s work.
  • Someone who has demonstrated leadership experience in communities and institutions with high diversity.
  • A dynamic and engaging leader who attracts talented staff and values time spent motivating and mentoring them to deliver consistently high performance and realize their professional and personal goals.
  • A strong, organized, and disciplined operating executive who can demonstrate a track record of delivering on strategy and organizational goals while carefully adhering to the mission and values of an organization engaged in improving the circumstances of others.
  • Someone with superb communication skills, including written, verbal, and presentation skills.
  • Someone who has routinely spoken in public and on behalf of a company or organization to promote its agenda.
  • Someone with a track record in building long-term partnerships and effective relationships with outside organizations or companies.
  • An experienced fundraiser with demonstrated success raising money for non-profit organizations from diverse funding sources: individuals, foundations, government, and corporations.
  • Someone with experience collecting, assembling, and utilizing data to establish metrics to drive decision-making.
  • Someone with experience working with and managing multiple stakeholders, including a Board of Directors.
  • Someone with knowledge and understanding of current thought leadership, federal and state policies, and social policies connected to art, arts education, youth development, afterschool programs, and summer learning.
  • Someone with a demonstrated passion for the arts and creative expression, particularly for populations historically excluded from cultural institutions.

 

Details
Time: Full-time
Compensation Range: $85,000-$95,000
Benefits: NUA provides medical, dental, and retirement benefits to full-and part-time staff.
Application Due Date: March 22, 2024
Start Date: Summer 2024

 

To Apply
Email a resume and cover letter to edsearch@newurbanarts.org, subject: “Executive Director.” In your cover letter, please tell us why you want this position and why you’d be a good fit. No calls, please. Send your resume and cover letter as two separate PDF attachments. Do not include them in the body of your email.

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

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A Major Announcement From New Urban Arts

After 17 years at NUA, including nine years in his current role, Executive Director Daniel Schleifer will be leaving NUA this summer. From his volunteer days to his leadership as Executive Director, Dan has put his heart and soul into the organization. Since 2007, almost any time you enter NUA, you would see Dan, convincing students that math can be creative, leading meetings with partners and funders, ferociously working on financial spreadsheets, or just hanging out and laughing with young people. New Urban Arts would not be where we are today without Dan’s care and leadership.

While no one can replace Dan, the NUA community is working diligently on identifying his successor.  Read the job announcement and learn how to apply here.

In the coming months, there will be ample opportunities to celebrate Dan’s contributions and bid him goodbye.

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We’re hiring an Assistant Resident Artist Mentor in Music

Download the job description here, or read on:

Time: Part-time, school year, 15 hours per week, primarily during the following times: Mon-Fri, 2:30pm-6:45pm, with additional hours for special events and initiatives
Reports to: Studio Director
Compensation: $18 – 22 / hr
Benefits: New Urban Arts provides medical, dental, and retirement benefits to full- and part-time staff
Start Date: October 5, 2023

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally-recognized community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists in Providence, RI. Our mission is to serve as a welcoming community of high school students and adult mentors in Providence sharing space, skills, and resources to inspire creative expression. To fulfill our mission, New Urban Arts relies on a mixture of staff educators, referred to as Resident Artist Mentors, and volunteer educators. To get a sense of our programs in action, visit: https://youtu.be/tePJRZyB9EI

Position Overview
New Urban Arts seeks a musician and music educator to work with our Studio Program Team and support our Resident Artist Mentor in Music in providing music education programs for high school students. The Assistant Resident Artist Mentor in Music (“Assistant RAM”) will embody our core values of belonging, agency, access, creativity, and connection by participating in the studio on a daily basis, creating meaningful relationships with youth, teaching music and music production, and supporting the healthy organization of an open studio.

We are particularly interested in a candidate with experience in beat making and production, especially Hip-Hop.

New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and all staff should expect to support each other’s work and participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ mission, values, and pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development, arts education, and the nonprofit sector in general. This also includes participating in organization-wide initiatives, trainings and projects, including but not limited to fundraising events, professional development/trainings, and community building activities.

Responsibilities:
Instruction

  • Support music education programs for high school students in a multidisciplinary youth art studio, as well as at a satellite site located at nearby Central High School.
  • Instruct students in beat making and digital music production.

Recording and Performance

  • Record students’ compositions and support them in publishing it online, while teaching students recording techniques.
  • Support students in preparing for and participating in live performance events.

Mentorship

  • Model authentic youth engagement, including using an inquiry-based, asset based, and supportive approach to meeting students’ needs that promotes self-esteem and self-concept of youth.
  • Create and maintain a safe environment for students to develop their creative practice, which includes creating a collaborative learning environment clear of bias and
  • Build relationships with students and promote relationship building between students, mentors, and staff.
  • Support students in developing teamwork and collaboration as they learn to play and perform music together.

Studio Maintenance and Events

  • Help the Music RAM to ensure that students are properly trained to use equipment and software.
  • Help to maintain a studio space that is ready for students each day to work and create, free of trash and debris.
  • Contribute to the New Urban Arts community through participation in exhibitions, events and workshops. Help students prepare work (including performances) for Mid-Year Makings and End of Year Art Party.

Other Responsibilities

  • Work as one member of a team of Resident Artist Mentors, participating in weekly program team meetings, and practicing open and clear communication among colleagues.
  • Support other organizational initiatives as necessary.
  • Participate in New Urban Arts organizational trainings, staff meetings, and event support.

 

Qualifications:

  • Ability to work collaboratively with New Urban Arts’ team (including the Operations Coordinator, Studio Director, and other RAMs) to foster an excellent, supportive learning environment.
  • Demonstrated expertise, through experience and/or training, with recording equipment and recording/production software, such as: Logic, Soundtrap, Ableton Live, FL Studio, and/or ProTools.
  • Demonstrated success working in culturally and socioeconomically diverse environments.
  • Interest and experience in forming positive and supportive mentoring relationships with teenagers.
  • Positive and direct verbal and written communication skills, including proficient and regular use of email communication.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, responsiveness.
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) candidates are particularly desired for this role.

 

TO APPLY:
All applications must include an updated resume, cover letter, and a portfolio of 5-10 work samples. Your cover letter (two pages maximum), should include answers to the following questions:

  • What motivates you to work with young people through creativity in general, and music in particular?
  • Why do you want to work at New Urban Arts at this time?

Applications should be emailed to jeannie@newurbanarts.org, subject: Assistant Music RAM. No calls please. Please send your resume and cover letter as attachments; do not include them in the body of your email. PDF is the preferred file format. Work samples may be provided in the form of links to online storage sites such as Dropbox or Google Drive, or music publishing platforms such as Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or Spotify. If necessary, you may drop off your application or send it to us at:

New Urban Arts
705 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903

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

 

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We’re Hiring a Director of Finance and Operations

UPDATE: we are no longer accepting applications for this position.

We’re hiring a new Director of Finance and Operations to start this fall! (Don’t worry; Jeannie Castillo-Lapierre is staying with the organization, but she’s stepping into a new role!)

Time: Full-time
Reports to: Executive Director
Salary Range: $70,000-$75,000 commensurate with experience
Benefits: Medical, Dental, Retirement, plus generous paid time-off policy.
Reports to: Executive Director
Start Date: September 2023

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally-recognized community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists in Providence, RI. Our mission is to serve as a welcoming community of high school students and adult mentors in Providence sharing space, skills, and resources to inspire creative expression. To fulfill our mission, New Urban Arts relies on a mixture of staff educators, referred to as Resident Artist Mentors, and volunteer educators.

To get a sense of our programs in action, visit: https://youtu.be/tePJRZyB9EI

Overview
New Urban Arts seeks a nonprofit professional with financial management experience to serve as our new Director of Finance and Operations. The Director of Finance and Operations is a key leadership position that manages New Urban Arts’ finances, operations, HR, and compliance. This includes supervising our Operations Coordinator as well as managing relationships with our external accounting firm/bookkeeper, auditor, and HR consultant. This also includes managing our Quickbooks and Bill.com accounts. The Finance and Operations director works closely with the Executive Director and the Treasurer of our Board of Directors to plan effectively for the organizations’ long-term fiscal health.

Responsibilities
Financial Management:

  • Manage, supervise, and ensure accuracy of New Urban Arts’ external accounting firm/bookkeeper, including prompt transmission of all payables to bookkeeper.
  • Create, implement, and maintain systems to ensure that New Urban Arts staff properly label and document payables (including invoices, reimbursements, and credit card receipts) so that our bookkeeper can promptly enter them into Quickbooks, tag them appropriately (by category, class, and donor), and initiate payment in Bill.com.
  • Approve payments in Bill.com and cut checks in instances where immediate payments are needed.
  • Process accounts receivable in Quickbooks.
  • Make bank deposits and ensure accurate and prompt receipt of payment for all accounts receivable, in some instances working with Director of Development to ensure payment of gift pledges.
  • Meet regularly with development staff to reconcile donations as recorded in fundraising database.
  • Maintain and periodically review New Urban Arts’ chart of accounts and class list in Quickbooks.
  • Oversee financial reporting, including bimonthly financial statements for New Urban Arts’ board of directors.
  • Implement and monitor financial controls.
  • Work with Executive Director to manage the annual audit process.
  • Work with leadership team to develop and manage the organization’s annual budget, including revenue projections, expense projections, and annual budgets for each of our programs.

Fundraising:

  • Support grantwriting by preparing financial statements and organization budgets, responding to financial narrative questions, and supporting program directors in developing project budgets.
  • Support grant management with appropriate financial reporting and compliance, including invoicing for reimbursable grants.

Operations:

  • Develop, implement, maintain, and update operational policies, procedures, and systems.
  • Establish and maintain suitable systems for tracking and managing purchasing, including working with staff to convey budgetary constraints.
  • Maintain compliance with various registries/databases, such as DUNs and Guidestar.
  • Oversee procurement and vendor management processes for non-program services (such as insurance and utilities), negotiate contracts, and monitor service levels.
  • Manage and supervise the operations coordinator, whose job it is to ensure that the operational, inventory/purchasing, safety, and facilities needs of New Urban Arts’ youth programs are met promptly and seamlessly, including:
    • Compliance with safety/facility inspections.
    • Equipment and facility repairs.
    • Processing purchase orders and supply requests, managing inventory and storage.
    • Communication with service vendors, such as cleaners and waste management,
    • Prepping for events.

Human Resources:

  • Select, then manage and supervise a new external HR consultant for New Urban Arts.
  • Develop and implement human resources policies and procedures, including recruitment, onboarding, performance management, and employee development.
  • Oversee payroll, benefits administration, and employee records management.
  • Ensure compliance with employment laws and regulations.
  • Foster a positive organizational culture and maintain a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • Handle logistics of hiring, onboarding, and offboarding employees.
  • Ensure that staff is familiar with personnel policy and that personnel policy is updated and maintained as appropriate.
  • Maintain and update physical and digital personnel files.

Qualifications
The right candidate will meet the following requirements:

  • A commitment to New Urban Arts’ mission and values.
  • Five or more years of non-profit experience, including experience in finance, operations, HR, management, and/or fundraising.
  • Strong financial management skills, including budgeting, financial analysis, and reporting.
  • Knowledge of nonprofit financial and accounting principles, regulations, and best practices.
  • Demonstrated leadership abilities, with the capacity to inspire and motivate teams.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Uncompromising integrity and respect for confidentiality in handling sensitive personnel information.
  • At least two years of experience with bookkeeping software (Quickbooks preferred).
  • Familiarity with database software, such as Salesforce.
  • Intermediate Microsoft Excel skills.
  • Strong project management skills with the ability to independently manage complex, multifaceted projects and meet deadlines.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, and strong collaborative skills.

TO APPLY
Send a resume and cover letter to daniel@newurbanarts.org, subject: Director of Finance and Operations. In your cover letter, please answer the question, “Why do you want to work in an administrative role at an organization that provides free afterschool and summer programs, in the arts and beyond, to high school students?”

Please save your resume and cover letter as pdfs and send them as separate attachments; do not include them in the body of your email. Address your cover letter to Executive Director Daniel Schleifer.

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

Posted in All

We’re Hiring a New Fashion RAM

UPDATE: we are no longer accepting applications for this position.

We’re hiring a new Fashion RAM to start this fall! (Don’t worry; current Fashion RAM Kevin Harper is staying with the organization, but he’s stepping into a new role!)

Time: Part-time during school year, 15 hours per week, primarily Mon-Fri, 2:00pm-6:00pm, with additional hours for special events and initiatives
Reports to: Studio Director
Compensation: $19 – 22 / hr
Benefits: New Urban Arts provides medical, dental, and retirement benefits to full- and part-time staff
Start Date: September 12, 2023

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally-recognized community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists in Providence, RI. Our mission is to serve as a welcoming community of high school students and adult mentors in Providence sharing space, skills, and resources to inspire creative expression. To fulfill our mission, New Urban Arts relies on a mixture of staff educators, referred to as Resident Artist Mentors, and volunteer educators.

To get a sense of our programs in action, visit: https://youtu.be/tePJRZyB9EI

Overview
New Urban Arts seeks an artist with extensive experience in fashion design, apparel construction, and sewing to work with our Studio Program Team to design and provide fashion, apparel, and sewing programs for high school students at New Urban Arts. The Resident Artist Mentor in Fashion and Sewing (“Fashion RAM”), will embody our core values of belonging, agency, access, creativity, and connection by participating in the studio on a daily basis, creating meaningful relationships with youth, teaching fashion design, sewing, and apparel construction, and supporting the healthy organization of an open studio. The fashion RAM will oversee, steward, and cultivate community in our sewing studio. The fashion RAM will also support students in displaying their work during gallery exhibitions and live events.

All Studio RAMs will also be responsible for engaging with and cultivating the larger New Urban Arts community. This includes participating in organization-wide initiatives, trainings and projects, including but not limited to fundraising events, restorative practice trainings, and community building activities.

Responsibilities:
Instruction

  • Oversee the sewing studio, including maintaining supplies and studio equipment, supporting volunteer sewing and fashion mentors, communicating material needs to NUA staff, and ensuring students are properly trained to use materials and equipment.
  • Support sewing and fashion education programs for high school students in a multidisciplinary youth art studio, as well as at a satellite site located at nearby Central High School.
  • Instruct students in sewing, design, patternmaking, and other elements of apparel construction.
  • Support students in learning proper technique, care, and use of machines and other equipment.

Mentorship

  • Model authentic youth engagement, including using an inquiry-based, asset based, and supportive approach to meeting students’ needs that promotes self-esteem and self-concept of youth.
  • Create and maintain a safe environment for students to develop their creative practice, which includes creating a collaborative learning environment clear of bias and judgment.
  • Build relationships with students and promote relationship building between students, mentors, and staff.
  • Support students in developing teamwork and collaboration as they plan fashion shows together.
  • Ability to draw on personal experiences to provide appropriate postsecondary advice and guidance to students interested in pursuing careers in fashion and apparel.

Live Events

  • Contribute to the New Urban Arts community through participation in exhibitions, events and workshops. Help students prepare work for gallery openings.

Other Responsibilities

  • Support volunteer artist-mentors.
  • Work as one member of a team of Resident Artist Mentors, participating in weekly program team meetings, and practicing open and clear communication among colleagues.
  • Support other organizational initiatives as necessary.
  • Participate in New Urban Arts organizational trainings, staff meetings, and event support.

 

Qualifications:

  • Ability to work collaboratively with New Urban Arts’ team (including the Operations Coordinator, Studio Director, and other RAMs) to foster an excellent, supportive learning environment.
  • At least three years of experience in fashion design, sewing and/or apparel construction.
  • Demonstrated success working in culturally and socioeconomically diverse environments.
  • Interest and experience in forming positive and supportive mentoring relationships with teenagers.
  • Positive and direct verbal and written communication skills, including proficient and regular use of email communication.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, responsiveness.
  • Bilingualism in English and Spanish preferred.

New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and all staff should expect to support each other’s work and participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ mission, values, and pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development, arts education, and the nonprofit sector in general.

 

TO APPLY:
All applications must include an updated resume, cover letter, and a portfolio of 5-10 work samples. Your cover letter (two pages maximum), should include answers to the following questions:

  • What motivates you to work with young people through creativity in general, and fashion in particular?
  • Why do you want to work at New Urban Arts at this time?

Applications should be emailed to joselina@newurbanarts.org, subject: Fashion RAM. No calls please. Please send your resume, cover letter, and portfolio as separate attachments; do not include them in the body of your email. PDF is the preferred file format. If necessary, you may drop off your application or send it to us at:

New Urban Arts
705 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903

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

Posted in All

A look back at 2021-22

Since the summer of 2021, New Urban Arts took on a number of projects and challenges:

  • We did a major construction project, which was originally slated for the summer of 2020 but was delayed and drawn out due to the vagaries of the pandemic.
  • We worked with a consultant to review and revise our mission statement and other core documents.
  • We relaunched in-person programs at the studio, establishing—then constantly reassessing and redefining— a number of unprecedented strictures on student enrollment and attendance to limit the spread of COVID.
  • We underwent major transitions in financial management, moving to a new auditor and a new external accountancy.
  • Six members of our team, including two of our longest- serving staff, left to pursue new opportunities.
  • We onboarded six new staff members, restructuring in the process.– We undertook the renewal process for our largest source of funding.
  • We celebrated our 25th Anniversary, including a gala event that, for New Urban Arts, was unprecedented in its scope and size.

As usual, we published two reflections on 2021-22, our annual newsletter and our highly detailed program report. Check them both out! Typically, the newsletter covers the period from July through June, equivalent to one session of summer programs plus the ensuing school year (which also constitutes New Urban Arts’ fiscal year). However, because we celebrated New Urban Arts’ 25th anniversary for all of 2022, we extended the period covered by this newsletter accordingly. Thus, this publication covers July 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022. Enjoy

2021-22 Annual Newsletter

2021-22 Program Report

Visit our Publications Page for more!

We’re Hiring a Coordinator for our A Life After School (ALAS) Program

In June, our current ALAS Program Coordinator Addy Schuetz is heading off on new adventures, so we’re hiring a new coordinator!

Download the full job description here, or read on:

Job Title: A Life After School Coordinator
Reports To: Studio Director
Status: Full-time (40 hrs/wk)
Salary: $41,000 – $46,000
Location: Providence, RI (in-person)
Anticipated Start Date: May 1-15, 2023
Application Due Date: Rolling; interviews will start mid-late February.
Benefits: Healthcare, dental plan, excellent vacation and sick leave policy, retirement benefits

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a welcoming community of high school students and adult mentors in Providence sharing space, skills, and resources to inspire creative expression. Since 1997, we have served over 7,000 Providence teens and 200 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. We provide programs at two sites: our storefront art studio and nearby Central High School. Our core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts. Notably, the program is open-door, drop-in, and student-driven. Other programs include summer programs and post-secondary advising.

To get a sense of our programs in action, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tePJRZyB9EI

Overview
The A Life After School (ALAS) Coordinator supports New Urban Arts students in developing and implementing a post high school plan. Each year New Urban Arts graduates 30-50 high school seniors. Some aspire to college, some search for employment, and some aim to grow their creative practice. The ALAS Coordinator will build the organization’s capacity to inform and support students as they navigate the post-secondary landscape, and provide resources to a growing network of NUA alum. The ideal candidate will be an experienced college advisor who also believes in the validity of options other than college.

Responsibilities
Student Advising

  • Support New Urban Arts seniors to develop and implement their post high school plans, including the college application process and alternative post-secondary options. Provide one-on-one advising.
  • Be available to students in the studio during Open Studio hours (2-6pm Monday-Friday) during the academic year.
  • Coordinate and host the Not College Fair, college representative visits, alumni panel, college and career workshops, field trips, and other school-year events as necessary.
  • Build and maintain a library of college and career opportunities and resources.
  • Coordinate and lead College Explorations, NUA’s 5-week college access summer program. Manage and supervise a summer assistant.
  • Support younger New Urban Arts students to investigate post-secondary options and connect them to summer learning opportunities.
  • Work with New Urban Arts program staff and volunteer artist-mentors to foster an excellent, supportive learning environment.
  • Work with New Urban Arts program staff and volunteer artist-mentors to ensure that the ALAS program is widely known and understood by New Urban Arts students, that young people understand it as an essential element of our community, and that young people are recruited into the program by all staff and volunteers.
  • Work with program staff to help youth develop art school portfolios.
    Support Volunteer Artist Mentors and Resident Artist Mentors, especially those working with students on writing and portfolio development.

Alumni Support

  • Support New Urban Arts alumni to transition out of high school and into college or alternative post-secondary paths. Continue to keep in touch with alumni throughout college to achieve college success.
  • Maintain an email listserv of resources and opportunities available to alumni.
  • With the support of New Urban Arts leadership staff, build the organization’s capacity to support New Urban Arts alumni. Build and maintain partnerships with external partners to provide opportunities for alumni.

Program Evaluation

  • Build and maintain systems to track and report student and alumni outcomes.
  • Track and report student outcomes, evaluate program performance, and employ learning to drive program development.
  • Track New Urban Arts alumni as they participate and complete post-secondary plans.

Parent and Partner Engagement

  • Build partnerships with colleges, post-secondary programs, artists and other youth organizations.
  • Work with community partners to access college advising expertise and resources and to coordinate college visits and admissions representative interviews.
  • Communicate and build relationships with New Urban Arts parents/guardians as appropriate during the college application/career preparation process.

Qualifications:

  • Experience supporting high school students with all parts of the college admissions process, including FAFSA, the common application, and scholarships.
  • Familiarity with art portfolio development and the application process for art colleges.
  • Experience working closely with young people, especially those who identify as BIPOC, queer or LGBTQ+, first-generation immigrants, first-generation to college, and neurodivergent.
  • Enthusiasm to participate in rigorous professional development programs on topics such as adolescent development, restorative justice, conflict resolution, art education, and youth development practices with experts and leaders in and outside of our organization.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience reviewing and providing feedback to young people regarding verbal and written communications.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with young people and adults.
  • Ability to balance individualized advising with managing programs attended by 100+ students each year.
  • Familiarity with the landscape of jobs, education, the arts, and community organizations in Providence, RI.
  • Spanish-speaking preferred.

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:
E-mail resume and cover letter (two pages max) to Director of Finance and Administration, Jeannie Castillo-LaPierre, jeannie@newurbanarts.org, subject: ALAS Coordinator. In your cover letter, please tell us why you want this position and why you’d be a good fit. No calls please. Send 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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Farewell Emily

At the end of 2022, Deputy Director Emily Ustach will be stepping down to embark on the next chapter in her career. We make this announcement with a mix of sadness for New Urban Arts, excitement for Emily’s next chapter, and confidence that the systems Emily has built will ensure our continued success.

Since 2007, Emily Ustach has served New Urban Arts in various volunteer and staff roles. In 2013, she became our Director of Programs, a job that eventually expanded into her current position.

Over the past 15 years, Emily has played a vital role in New Urban Arts’ development. Her achievements include:

  • Adapting our programs to meet the first major surge in the size of our student population after moving to our current building.
  • Launching A Life After School, our post-secondary success program.
  • Creating a new staff position, Resident Artist Mentors (RAMs), part-time, permanent employees serving as mentors in the most high-demand areas of the studio. Over time, we have built a cohort of five RAMs, whom we proudly offer healthcare and retirement benefits.
  • Building a partnership with the Rhode Island School of Social Work, allowing New Urban Arts to pilot a new mentor role—Studio Advocate—which brings a Master of Social Work candidate into the studio as a counseling and referral resource for students.
  • Ensuring the continuity of programs when we renovated the studio in the summer of 2016, nearly doubling the size of our program area.
  • Serving as the mastermind for New Urban Arts’ 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, our largest source of funding. In 2017, through this grant, Emily supervised the launch of NUA Knights, our satellite program at Central High School.
  • Being selected for the National Afterschool Matters Fellowship, a competitive, national two-year fellowship for 25 out-of-school-time professionals. The fellowship was sponsored by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time and the National Writing Project.
  • Navigating the challenges of COVID, including virtual programs, home delivery of art supplies to over 1,100 Providence public high school students, and the reopening of in-person programs.
  • Playing a pivotal role in the celebration of our 25th anniversary, including leading an effort to refresh and revise our mission, vision, and values through a process involving students, staff, and the board of directors.
  • Managing the construction of New Urban Arts’ office annex.

Throughout so much change and growth, Emily has worked tirelessly on behalf of NUA’s students to ensure that the essential spark at the core of our programs has remained consistent.

Upon Emily’s departure, New Urban Arts will be restructuring; Business Manager Jeannie Castillo-Lapierre will step into a new role as Director of Finance and Administration, while Studio Director Joselina Fay will take on additional duties around compliance and external partnerships.

New Urban Arts has been so fortunate to have Emily’s leadership, and she will always have a home in our studio.

THANK YOU EMILY!

Providence Business News – “Bank of America awards $200K to New Urban Arts, Housing Network of R.I.”

Original Article | Downloadable PDF

November 29, 2022
By Nancy Lavin

PROVIDENCE – Two Rhode Island organizations were recently awarded $200,000 each through Bank of America Corp.’s 2022 Neighborhood Builders program, according to a news release.

The grants to New Urban Arts and the Housing Network of Rhode Island recognize the groups for their work in advancing economic opportunity in Rhode Island through arts education for low-income students and affordable housing development, respectively. In addition to grant funding, each organization also receives leadership training and capital access to expand their impact as part of the Bank of America program, the release stated.

The Neighborhood Builders program offers the largest investment in nonprofit leadership nationwide, and has offered $5 million to 25 Rhode Island nonprofits since 2007, the release stated.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.

We’re Hiring a Development Director

We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

Application Due Date: Rolling; position will remain open until filled.
Anticipated Start Date: October 17
Time: 40 hours per week
Reports To: Executive Director
Salary: $68,000–$72,000, dependent on experience
Benefits: healthcare, dental plan, excellent vacation policy, retirement benefits

Overview
New Urban Arts seeks an experienced development professional to work with our Executive Director and board of directors to design and implement robust fund development strategies. This includes directing a roughly $250,000 annual campaign, and managing a $700,000 grant portfolio.

The ideal candidate is passionate about justice in education, youth development, arts education, and innovative pedagogy. The ideal candidate should also be committed to assetbased communication in their fundraising and eager for critical conversations about the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. This position directly supervises a Development Associate, who supports database administration, grant writing, and grant tracking.

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. Since 1997, we have served over 6,000 Providence teens and 200 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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 core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts. We also offer summer programs, post-secondary advising, and programs through a satellite site at Central High School.

Responsibilities
Develop and Direct Fundraising Strategy:
• Work with board and Executive Director to develop a fund development plan, including annual fund appeal, special campaigns, events, earned income, grants, and sponsorships.
• Manage the development committee of the board of directors, supporting them in creating a culture of philanthropy among board members.

Manage Fundraising Campaigns and Events:
• Ensure that New Urban Arts meets its fundraising goals and regularly report on progress to the board and executive director.
• Coordinate the Annual Fund Campaign, including mailings, emails, personal asks of major donors, and other fundraising practices.
• Ensure that donors are promptly acknowledged and provided opportunities to experience the impact of their gifts.
• Develop and maintain donor relationships, especially with major donors.
• Coordinate and promote fundraising, cultivation, and stewardship events.
• Manage and direct fundraising database (Salesforce), ensuring accurate record tracking for data entry, gift processing, and acknowledgment letters.

Manage Foundation Grants, Corporate Relationships, and Sponsorships:
• Work with leadership team to ensure that New Urban Arts develops and maintains strong relationships with funders locally and nationally.
• Supervise grant tracking, including timelines for grant proposals and reports.
• Support management of ongoing relationships with institutional funders including, but not limited to, progress reports and site visits.

Supervise a Development Associate
• Hold supervisory meetings on a weekly basis (or more frequently if necessary)
• Ensure that the Development Associate has adequate support to conduct the following duties:

  • Manage grant writing and reporting workflows, including communication with the organization’s finance, administrative, and program staff
  • Write boilerplate grant applications and reports (typically, grants under $20,000)
    Data entry and gift acknowledgment, including monitoring of online giving platforms

Support Communications:
• Work with staff, board, youth, and other members of the New Urban Arts community to coordinate the design and distribution of marketing materials for fund development.
• Contribute development-related items to New Urban Arts’ various communications channels, including our paper newsletter, mailings, e-news, social media presence, and website.

New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and all staff should expect to support each other’s work and participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ mission, values, and pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development, arts education, and the nonprofit sector in general.

Qualifications
• A commitment to New Urban Arts’ mission and values.
• Five years fundraising experience, including donor development, relationship cultivation, and making personal asks, or comparable experience.
• Demonstrated project management skills with the ability to independently manage complex, multifaceted projects and meet deadlines.
• Excellent supervisory skills and experience.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Strong interpersonal skills.
• Ability to independently manage multiple projects and deadlines.
• Flexibility, inclusiveness, and strong collaborative skills.
• Experience with databases, email marketing platforms, Microsoft Office, and WordPress.

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
E-mail resume, cover letter (two pages max), and writing sample (two pages max) to Business Manager Jeannie Castillo-LaPierre, jeannie@newurbanarts.org, subject: Director of Development. No calls please. Send your resume, cover letter, and writing sample as three 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; candidates of color strongly encouraged to apply.

 

Posted in All

We’re hiring a Studio Director

Download the full job description here, or read on:

Job Title: Studio Director
Reports To: Deputy Director
Status:
Full-time, (40 hrs/wk)
Salary: $48,000 – $52,000
Location: Providence, RI
Application Due Date: Rolling; position will be open until filled
Benefits: Healthcare, dental plan, excellent vacation policy, retirement benefits

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students. Since 1997, we have served over 7,000 Providence teens and 200 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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. We provide programs at two sites: our storefront art studio and nearby Central High School. Our core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts. Notably, the program is open-door, drop-in, and student-driven. Other programs include summer programs and post-secondary advising.

Overview
The Studio Director is responsible for our storefront studio programs. They lead year-round programs for high school students and artist mentors, including the Youth Mentorship in the Arts program. They connect with the community (high school students, artist-mentors, parents, and school personnel) to create a learning environment that conveys a sense of belonging, risk, and responsibility. They manage and supervise the studio program team and work closely with the deputy director to assess the effectiveness and ensure the feasibility of programs. They strive to foster a rewarding workplace that is stimulating, trusting, and results-oriented, where the mission of New Urban Arts can thrive.

The Ideal Candidate
Our ideal team member is a self-motivated, creative individual with a deep commitment to building community through creative practice and mentoring relationships. They have strong leadership, management, and communication skills. New Urban Arts looks for team members who believe in a transparent, relational, and positive culture where all voices are heard. Our team is excited to work with someone who has a strong understanding of racial and queer justice and youth development, and who is comfortable working with a diverse network of artists in a highly collaborative studio community. Directors at New Urban Arts lead with inquiry and curiosity.

Responsibilities
Create a culture and environment in which young people, artists, and educators can grow and thrive:

  • Ensure that every youth enrolled in our programs is offered support whenever necessary and encouraged to develop a consistent, stable relationship with an adult mentor.
  • Ensure that all students, staff, and guests feel welcome and safe.
  • Sustain a positive work environment and culture as a learning community.
  • Lead community building efforts, studio celebrations, and traditions to further develop meaningful relationships between high school students, artists, and educators.

Ensure New Urban Arts’ educational programs at 705 Westminster Street are designed and delivered to meet the highest standards:

  • Manage and supervise studio program staff (8) and volunteers (12-15).
  • Design and implement program strategies so that New Urban Arts’ programs work toward the organizational mission and educational goals, embody its values, and satisfy obligations to funders.
  • Manage and implement the recruitment, professional development, and evaluation of artists and educators.
  • Infuse New Urban Arts’ programs with the best ideas from community-based arts education field, youth development field, and contemporary artistic work.
  • Develop and pilot new programs and initiatives as needed.
  • Run youth leadership development programs and support youth-led activities.
  • Cultivate existing relationships and implement strategies that will maximize the synergies among program areas.
  • Lead the design and use of storefront studio space to reflect and embody the values of New Urban Arts.

Engage our constituents, stakeholders, and the broader community in support of and participation in New Urban Arts’ programs:

  • Seek out and build partnerships and opportunities that are beneficial to New Urban Arts’ programs and students.
  • Manage ongoing recruitment and engagement of high school students.
  • Collaborate with the NUA Knights Site Director, who is responsible for programs at Central High School.

Along with the Deputy Director:

  • Set annual program plan, including goals, outcomes, indicators, and calendar.
    Support program evaluation, including measuring the diversity of the student body, attendance, and impact.
  • Ensure that the physical studio is safe and that safety measures are in place for students and volunteers.
  • Support advancement efforts for future program growth.
    Manage program budget.
  • Support other organizational efforts as necessary.

 

Qualifications:

  • A commitment to New Urban Arts’ mission and values.
  • Five years of experience in a director-level position with similar responsibilities OR an advanced degree in education, arts management or related field and three years of experience.
  • Experience working directly with low-income BIPOC high school students in a community setting.
  • Experience in youth development practices, ideally including restorative justice, conflict mediation, and youth mental health first aid.
  • An understanding of implicit bias.
  • A proven track record in building and maintaining relationships across a wide spectrum of personalities and professions, with a focus on team and individual staff development.
  • Volunteer management experience.
  • Ability to listen and inspire others through clear, direct, and consistent written and verbal communications, including managing shared schedules and calendars.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • An ability to work in a fast-paced environment with young people and adults.
  • An ability to work both collaboratively and independently in a drop-in studio environment.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, responsiveness and solutions-focus.
  • Familiarity with various data systems for tracking student outcomes.

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:
E-mail resume, and cover letter (two pages max) to Business Manager Jeannie Castillo-LaPierre, jeannie@newurbanarts.org, subject: Studio Director. In your cover letter, please tell us why you want this position and why you’d be a good fit. No calls please. Send 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.

Posted in All

Providence Monthly – “The Kids are Alright”

Original Article | Downloadable PDF

April 29, 2022
By Karen Greco, Providence Monthly

While the pandemic took a toll on the already fragile mental health of many teenagers, New Urban Arts remained a lifeline to the high school students enrolled in their after-school arts program. Even virtually, it continued to offer students the mentor- and ally-ships that have been its hallmark for over 25 years.

“New Urban Arts is a welcoming space that offers flexible ways [for students] to engage,” explains executive director Daniel Schleifer. “Art is the hook to get them in the door. We give them an opportunity to make investments that go
beyond the arts.”

Schleifer points to their robust post-secondary advising program, A Life After School, as an example. It starts as early as sophomore year, when students begin envisioning their post-high school future with New Urban Arts’ resident artist mentors, who then help connect students to summer pre-college programs. For seniors, New Urban Arts arranges regional college visits; they help students navigate the application and financial aid processes and assist them in narrowing down school choices. They also work with the students to make wise financial decisions around college, such as looking at debt-to-income ratios.

The program doesn’t end when the students head off to school. It continues to follow and help students overcome hurdles that occur throughout the college experience. The vast majority are first-generation college students. For kids who aren’t college bound, New Urban Arts helps secure apprenticeships or helps them navigate post-high school life and gap years.

For Dana Heng, a former student who returned as a resident artist mentor, New Urban Arts was responsible for the development of her creative career as a visual artist. “My family was encouraging even though they didn’t have the resources or know-how to foster it,” she says, noting it was a cousin who recommended the program. “The first day of high school [at Classical], I crossed the street and barged in while the staff was having a meeting. The programs don’t start until October.” Heng laughs. “They gave me a registration form.”

The studio is drop-in and student led, and the staff is trained in youth work and restorative justice as well as the myriad of issues that teens face today – from relationships to gender identity to drug use.

“We take our cues from the students,” Heng says. “Some want to talk about boys, some want to talk about art.” Art can range from the technical (“show me how to paint”) to more experiential. “The core thing we are building is trust. Art is a vehicle for that. It keeps the hands busy while talking.”

“There is a small but consistent body of academic research that shows the arts as the most effective at promoting a variety of positive academic, emotional, and social outcomes,” says Schleifer. He cites a 2021 EdVestors study that analyzed a decade’s worth of data and showed Boston’s public school system saw an increase in student performance, higher attendance rates, and better parental engagement when they reintroduced an arts curriculum.

Arts-ed cuts are typically most severe in low-income neigborhoods and communities of color. “Twenty-five years ago, Providence Public Schools had 150 arts teachers. It’s just under 40 now,” Schleifer points out. The reasons are complex, particularly with the pandemic taking a sizable chunk from an already limited public education budget. These finite resources must flow to academics. “We’re here to fill a gap for the young people we serve.”

Mentors like Heng are the lifeblood of their program. Unlike volunteer staff that changes year-to-year, resident artist mentors are paid staff members, providing a needed consistency for the students that fosters a sense of trust. “If we are an arts organization, we’ve got to employ artists,” says Schleifer, who was able to diversify the teaching staff by offering paid opportunities.

This pivot turned out to be fortuitous. When COVID hit, New Urban Arts had to put their volunteer program on hold. But they upheld their mission remotely through the shut-downs with their cohort of paid artist mentors. Schleifer’s quick to note they are not immune to skyrocketing inflation. “Our biggest challenge is maintaining funding.”

While countless studies point to the advantages of arts learning for students, for mentor Heng, the lessons that New Urban Arts imparts aren’t necessarily tangible. “The biggest impact is helping students find agency in the world. Knowing you can make choices and be an active participant in your own life, the opportunities out there are infinite.”

New Urban Arts celebrates 25 years with an October gala at the Providence Art Club.

 

Rhode Island College News – “For RIC Alumnus, Making Art is Good Therapy”

Original Article | Downloadable PDF

February 15, 2022
By Gita Brown

We know that art feeds the soul, but it can also turn down the volume on competing thoughts in the mind of RIC alumnus Sherly Torres, an art major.

“I tend to overthink,” she says. “When I overthink, it fragments my mind and my memories, and that affects my mood, my emotions and my whole personality. I can’t stop overthinking. It’s hard. Outwardly I’m sitting still, but inwardly my thoughts are going a mile a minute. Artmaking calms me down.”

Torres suffers from ADHD but hasn’t been clinically treated for it. “Mental health issues are culturally not something we talk about in my family,” she says.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Torres moved to Rhode Island to live with her mother at age nine. “Coming here was a culture shock,” she says. “I felt like a fish out of water. I couldn’t speak any English, but I understood visual language. I’m also a visual learner.” For Torres, the expressive communication of art circumvented the limitations of language. “Art was liberating,” she says.

She took art classes at the AfterZone, an afterschool program. And then at age 14, she got involved in New Urban Arts, an afterschool arts studio for high school students.

New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts
Experimenting with materials is a big part of what students do at New Urban Arts.

“When I stepped into that environment, I felt like I was home. I felt like I knew who I was,” she says.

Not only did Torres feel a sense of personal identity, she embraced the freedom to create art in anyway she chose. “Academic environments are very controlled, but it’s not that way at New Urban Arts,” she says. “If you want to start a project and then work on something else, it’s okay. If you don’t want to do anything at all, that’s okay, too. If you just want to sit and have a conversation with the staff, you can do that, as well.”

New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts

Torres was mentored by a graduate of RIC’s art program, Kedrin Frias ’04. She learned perspective and other art techniques from him and ended up enrolling in RIC’s art program. Like her mentor, she concentrated in painting.

By her third year at RIC, artmaking, which had once quieted her mind, now filled her with anxiety.

“The first two years of college was all art foundations courses,” she says. “But in the third year, you start working on your B.F.A. project. You’re making art for yourself at that point, so it boiled down to what you wanted to make.”

New Urban Arts

Having to decide what to make and then having to rework and refine it based on the B.F.A. judges recommendations and then having to find a narrative to give meaning to the work sent her overthinking mind into overdrive.

“I was thinking about all the artmaking processes. I was thinking about my future career. I was thinking about my responsibility to live up to society’s version of success. I was struggling with my grades. And I couldn’t balance artmaking to please the judges with artmaking for myself,” Torres says. 

Her final project ended up being paintings of random shapes. “The reason why I chose shapes was to understand what the heck was going on in my mind,” she says. Random shapes helped simplify her world. They narrowed things down and calmed her overthinking mind. “I was both trying to simplify my thoughts and emotions and trying to control them, a mental practice I didn’t understand fully until after college,” she says.

After graduating in 2021, Torres shelved painting and applied to New Urban Arts to work as a painting and drawing studio assistant, which involves mentoring. 

New Urban Arts
The library in the basement of New Urban Arts

“When I was hired, it felt like coming home,” she says. “We have about 30 to 50 students coming in every day. Before COVID we had 80 to 100 students coming in. I love sharing the knowledge I’ve learned. I love seeing their progress. I’m learning from them as well. They’re a different generation and they have things to teach me. Some of them want to go to art school and/or enhance their skills in artmaking. I see the yearning for learning in them, like it was in me. And others just want a safe place to hang out and do art.”

Torres intends to artistically explore the psychology of ADHD and its role in her past, present and future. She’d also like to examine it from a cultural context. Art was her liberation. She hopes to let it be that again.

New Urban Arts is working on a grant to employ a social worker for the students, a much-needed resource in youth development. In addition to her job at New Urban Arts, Sherly Torres is an on-call art educator for the RISD Museum, providing guided tours for middle and high school students, and a part-time sales associate for The RISD Store.

A Look Back at 2020-21

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 school year will be remembered as a particularly unique one for educational institutions, and New Urban Arts is no exception. The biggest impact on New Urban Arts was transitioning most of our programs and services to virtual platforms. This had a huge impact on the number of students we served and how we served them, particularly in our art studio, where all programs were virtual. Nevertheless, we still reached many students through virtual programs, limited in-person programs, and home delivery of art supplies. As usual, we published two reflections on 2020-21, our annual newsletter and our highly detailed program report. Check them both out!

2020-21 Annual Newsletter

2020-21 Program Report

Visit our Publications Page for more!

New Urban Arts Seeks Studio Director

 

We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

New Urban Arts seeks a selfmotivated, creative individual with a deep commitment to building relationships and community through creativity and who has strong leadership, management, and communication skills to serve as our Studio Director. The Studio Director designs, manages, and oversees year-round arts programs for high school students and artist mentors. They connect with the community (high school students, artist-mentors, parents, and school personnel) to create a welcoming learning environment that is flexible and consistent.They manage and supervise the art program team and work closely with the deputy director to assess the effectiveness and ensure the feasibility of programs. They strive to foster a rewarding workplace that is stimulating and trusting, where the mission of New Urban Arts can thrive.

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

About New Urban Arts

New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized communitybased art studio and gallery for high
school students. Since 1997, we have served over 6,000 Providence teens and 200 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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 core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts. We also offer summer programs, postsecondary advising and programs through a satellite site at Central High School.

Overview

The Studio Director designs, manages, and oversees yearround arts programs for high school students and artist mentors. They connect with the community (high school students, artistmentors, parents, and school personnel) to create a welcoming learning environment that is flexible and consistent. They manage and supervise the art program team and work closely with the deputy director to assess the effectiveness and ensure the feasibility of programs. They strive to foster a rewarding workplace that is stimulating and trusting, where the mission of New Urban Arts can thrive.

The Ideal Candidate

Our ideal team member would be a selfmotivated, creative individual with a deep
commitment to building relationships and community through creativity and who has strong leadership, management, and communication skills. New Urban Arts looks for team members who believe in a transparent, relational, and positive culture where all voices are heard. Our existing team is excited to work with someone who has a strong understanding of youth development, along with racial and queer justice. We are looking for someone comfortable working with a diverse network of artists in a highly collaborative studio community.

Responsibilities

Ensure New Urban Arts’ educational programs at 705 Westminster Street are designed and delivered to meet the highest standard:

  • Manage and supervise program staff (6), interns (12), and volunteers (1215).
  • Design and implement program strategies so that New Urban Arts’ programs work
    toward the organizational mission, embody its values, work toward its educational
    goals, and satisfy obligations to funders.
  • Manage and implement the recruitment, professional development and evaluation of
    artists and educators.
  • Infuse New Urban Arts’ programs with the best ideas from communitybased arts
    education field, youth development field, and contemporary artistic work.
  • Develop and pilot new programs and initiatives.
  • Oversee youth leadership program and support youthled activities.
  • Cultivate existing relationships and implement strategies that will maximize the
    synergies among program areas.
  • Oversee community building efforts and studio celebrations and traditions to further
    develop meaningful relationships between high school students, artists, and educators.
  • Oversee design and use of storefront studio space to reflect and embody the values of
    New Urban Arts.
  • Support other organizational efforts as necessary.

Create a culture and environment in which young people, artists, and educators can grow and thrive:

  • Ensure that every youth enrolled in our programs is offered and encouraged to develop a consistent, stable relationship with an adult mentor and provided support whenever necessary.
  • Ensure that all students, staff, and guests feel welcome and safe.
  • Sustain a positive work environment and culture as a learning community.
  • Support advancement efforts for future program growth.
  • Manage program budget.

Engage our constituents, stakeholders, and the broader community in support of and
participation in New Urban Arts’ programs:

  • Seek out and build partnerships and opportunities that are beneficial to New Urban
    Arts’ programs and students.
  • Oversee the ongoing recruitment and engagement of high school students.

Along with the Deputy Director:

  • Set annual program plan, including goals, outcomes, indicators, and calendar. 
  • Support program evaluation, including measuring the diversity of the student body,
    attendance, and impact.
  • Ensure that the physical studio is safe and that safety measures are in place for students and volunteers.


Qualifications

  • A commitment to New Urban Arts’ mission and values.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 with high school students and interest in working with high school students in a community setting.
  • Three years’ experience supervising and managing educator teams, including
    volunteers.
  • Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills.
  • An ability to work in a shared and open office space.
  • An ability to work both collaboratively and independently.
  • Flexibility, inclusive, responsive and solutions focused.
  • Familiarity with various data systems for tracking student outcomes.

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 Castillo
LaPierre, jeannie@newurbanarts.org, subject: Studio 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.

Posted in All

New Urban Arts Seeks Parent & Community Engagement Specialist VISTA

New Urban Arts and Central High School seek a highly motivated VISTA memberto join the team at NUA Knights. The VISTA will be stationed at Central High School and will report directly to the Central Site Director. They will also work in close collaboration with the New Urban Arts and Central High School community, staff, volunteers, and youth participants.

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

About New Urban Arts

New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized communitybased art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. 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. In 2017, New Urban Arts worked with Central High School to launch NUA Knights, an after school and summer program specifically for Central students.

NUA Knights offers over 40 after school programs to students led by teachers, staff, community partners and other nonprofit organizations. Each year more than 400 students participate in these programs.

VISTA Responsibilities

  • Assist the NUA Knights Site Director in establishing and maintaining systems for daytoday operations of an afterschool program
  • Strengthen partnerships with key stakeholders including school administrative staff, guidance, parents and guardians, local community members and businesses
  • Improve and develop new communication strategies for stakeholders
  • Identify the needs of families and outreach to the local community (individuals, organizations, businesses) to fulfill identified needs
  • Build the infrastructure needed to support a sustainable NUA Knights Advisory Board
 

Candidates should bring the following to their position:

  • An interest and excitement to work with high school students
  • Ability to work collaboratively both in person and on digital platforms such as Google Classrooms, Google Meet, Zoom
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to speak Spanish is strongly preferred

This is an AmeriCorps VISTA position. For more information on AmeriCorps VISTA, visit: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorpsprograms/americorpsvista

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter and resume to tracy@newurbanarts.org Any selected candidate will be required to submit an application (including two completed references) to AmeriCorps and be accepted for service by VISTA.

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

 

Posted in All

New Urban Arts Seek Student & Program Support VISTA

New Urban Arts and Central High School seek a highly motivated VISTA member to join the team at NUA Knights. The VISTA will be stationed at Central High School and will report directly to the Central Site Director. They will also work in close collaboration with the New Urban Arts and Central High School community, staff, volunteers, and youth participants.

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

About New Urban Arts

New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized communitybased art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. 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. In 2017, New Urban Arts worked with Central High School to launch NUA Knights, an after school and summer program specifically for Central students.

NUA Knights offers over 40 after school programs to students led by teachers, staff, community partners and other nonprofit organizations. Each year more than 400 students participate in these programs.

VISTA Responsibilities:

  • Assist the NUA Knights Site Director in establishing and maintaining systems for daytoday operations of an afterschool program.
  • Design and implement systems for enrollment, data tracking, attendance, and reporting (including the maintenance of the Rhode Island Program Quality Assessment (RIPQA) binder, a necessary component of the evaluation process for RIDE 21st Century programs).
  • Support student recruitment efforts, including the creation and distribution of recruitment materials and maintenance of social media pages.
  • Manage communication with students.
  • Schedule professional development and activities with afterschool providers.
  • Create a safe space for students and staff during after school hours.
  • Research STEAM opportunities and funding for after school programs.

Candidates should bring the following to their position:

  • An interest and excitement to work with high school students
  • Ability to work collaboratively both in person and on digital platforms such as Google Classrooms, Google Meet, Zoom
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to speak Spanish is strongly preferred

This is an AmeriCorps VISTA position. For more information on AmeriCorps VISTA, visit: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorpsprograms/americorpsvista

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter and resume to tracy@newurbanarts.org. Any selected candidate will be required to submit an application (including two completed references) to AmeriCorps and be accepted for service by VISTA.

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

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New Urban Arts Seeks Resident Artist Mentor in Music

New Urban Arts seeks an experienced teaching musician to work with our Studio Program Team to design and provide music education programs at New Urban Arts.The Resident Artist Mentor in Music Production (“Music RAM”), will embody our core values of connection, voice, inclusion, leadership, and risk by participating in the studio life on a daily basis, creating meaningful relationships with youth, teaching music and music production, and supporting the healthy organization of an open studio. The music RAM will oversee, steward, and cultivate community in a live practice room with recording capabilities including digital composition.

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

About New Urban Arts:

New Urban Arts is a nationallyrecognized community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists 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. In order to meet our mission to build a vital community that empowers young people as artists and leaders, to develop a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives.

Responsibilities:

  • Oversee music studio, including setup and maintenance of studio and liveroom equipment and digital programs, support volunteer music artistmentors, communicating material needs to NUA staff, and ensuring students are properly trained to use equipment and software.
  • Introduce new media and techniques and support students in learning proper technique, care, and use of studio equipment and software.
  • Model authentic youth engagement, including using an inquirybased, asset based, and supportive approach to meeting students’ needs that promotes selfesteem and selfconcept of youth.
  • Create and maintain a safe environment for students to develop their creative practice, which includes creating a collaborative learning environment clear of bias and judgment.
  • Help to maintain a studio space that is ready for students each day to work and create, free of trash and debris.
  • Build relationships with students and promote relationship building between students, mentors, and staff.
  • Work as one member of a team of Resident Artist Mentors, participating in weekly program team meetings, and practicing open and clear communication among colleagues.
  • Contribute to the New Urban Arts community through participation in exhibitions, events and workshops.Help students prepare work (including performances) for MidYear Makings and End of Year Art Party.

Qualifications:

  • Ability to work collaboratively with New Urban Arts’ team (including the Operations Coordinator, Studio Director and other RAMs) to foster an excellent, supportive learning environment.
  • Demonstrated expertise, either through experience or professional training, with recording equipment, musical instruments and recording/production software, including some or all of the following programs: Soundtrap, Ableton Live, FL Studio, and ProTools.
  • Demonstrated success working in culturally and socioeconomically diverse environments.
  • Interest and experience in forming positive and supportive relationships with teenagers.
  • Positive and direct verbal and written communication skills, including proficient and regular use of email communication.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, responsiveness
  • Ability to handle stress without contributing to it

New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and all staff should expect to support each other’s work and participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ mission, values, pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development, arts education, and the nonprofit sector in general.

To Apply:

All applications must include a resume and cover letter. Your cover letter (two pages maximum), should include answers to the following questions:

  • How can the position of Music RAM embody New Urban Arts’ core values?
  • How will you ensure the music program at NUA stays welcoming and inclusive of all levels of ability and identity?

Applications should be emailed to info@newurbanarts.org, subject: Music RAM. No calls please. 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. Application due: August 6, 2021

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

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New Urban Arts Seeks Development Associate to Assist with Fundraising

Are you interested in empowering Providence’s youth? Are you looking for a position that will allow you to grow your skills in the nonprofit field? Would you like to work with a team of enthusiastic, hardworking, collaborative, and passionate individuals? Are you passionate about helping a nonprofit fulfill its mission through fundraising? If so, we’d like to meet you! New Urban Arts is hiring a Development Associate to help us reach our annual fundraising challenge this year and beyond! Apply today to start your career at one of Rhode Island’s largest high school after school programs.

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

About NUA
New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. Since 1997, we have served over 4,000 Providence teens and 200 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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 core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts. We also offer summer programs and post-secondary advising. In 2017 we expanded to offer programming at Central High School through the NUA Knights program.

Experience and Qualifications:

  • Excellent writing, analytical, and research skills are essential; attention to detail is a must.
  • Self-motivated, detail-oriented, and highly organized.
  • A high level of computer literacy required; experience working with donor databases preferred.
  • Ability to seek and synthesize information and communicate in a compelling and succinct fashion.
  • Strong mentoring, relational and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability and willingness to work collaboratively in an open studio and office environment.
  • Organized and community-minded thinker and communicator, able to balance interpersonal needs with administrative deadlines.
  • Ability to handle donor and personal information with sensitivity and confidentiality.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

General

  • Support New Urban Arts’ annual fundraising goals
  • Report to the Director of Development and work closely with the Executive Director, as well as other key staff, board members, committee chairs, and volunteers.
  • Support other New Urban Arts departments and team members as needed.

Donor Database Management

  • Use Salesforce to process and acknowledge donations on a day-to-day basis (monetary and in-kind).
  • Maintain accurate, up-to-date donor records in the database.
  • Create mail and email lists for outgoing development communications including fundraising appeal letters, stewardship pieces, and holiday cards.
  • Perform regular quality control tasks.
  • Assist the Director of Development in reporting on the progress of the annual campaign.
  • Conduct prospect research.

Grants

  • Maintain grants calendar to ensure timely submission of letters of inquiry, grant proposal deadlines, and reports.
  • Assist with developing and writing grant proposals to foundations and other grant-making organizations.
  • Assemble grant requests, including letters of support, proposals, budgets, artwork samples, and other necessary documents.
  • Assist in submitting grant reports as requested by grant foundations.

Events

  • Support Director of Development in planning and executing fundraising and stewardship events.
  • Work with the Event Committee to help assign event planning duties.
  • Reach out to local businesses for event donations.

Women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and members of other underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample to: info@newurbanarts.org, with “Development Associate Position” as the subject. No phone calls please.

New Urban Arts is an equal opportunity employer.

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New Urban Arts Seeks Consultant to Assist with Core Documents Assessment

New Urban Arts is now accepting proposals from consultants to support us with a review and redesign of core organizational documents.

Download the full RFP here, or read on:

About NUA
Founded in 1997, New Urban Arts is a nationally-recognized community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists in Providence, Rhode Island. Our free, year-round out-of-school programs promote sustained mentoring relationships between urban high school students and trained artist mentors—who, together, engage in youth leadership, risk taking, collaboration, and self-directed learning. We are grounded in the belief that in order to fulfill the promise of our democracy, all young people, no matter their place in society, should have the opportunity to become more creative and independent thinkers. 

 Our Goal
To examine and adjust our Core Documents, which include our mission and values. 

 

The Reason
As New Urban Arts approaches its 25th Anniversary, we want to take time to review our core documents, including our mission and core values, and adjust or reaffirm them as needed as we look ahead. Our mission was written approximately 20 years ago; we’re in a new time and place. We want to stay relevant and ensure we’re best serving students.

Our current 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. It captures vital aspects of our work, but we also feel that it should reflect our ambitions around equitable access to creative expression and arts education. 

We want to work with an external partner so that all team members can participate fully in the process without having to divide their attention between facilitation and participation.

Timeline:

  • June 1, 2021 – RFP released
  • June 22, 2021 – Proposals due
  • June 22 – June 29, 2021 – Reviewing Proposals
  • July 5 – July 19, 2021 – Calls with selected applicants
  • July 26 – August 9, 2021 – Virtual interviews of 3 – 5 applicants
  • September 2021 – Consultant begins work
  • May 2022 – Work completed / delivered

Qualifications:

  • Alignment with NUA’s work and vision
  • Experience working with nonprofit organizations and wide-ranging stakeholders, including staff, board of directors, youth, artists, parents, and alumni  
  • Effective facilitation skills
  • Skills and experience designing, facilitating, and shepherding organizational visioning and learning, with a clear anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogical approach
  • A sophisticated understanding of organizational management strategies and tools

Expectations/Deliverables:

  • Organize and host meetings with various stakeholders groups to make sure all voices are heard 
  • Maintain consistent and clear communication of work status with the Executive Director
  • Rewrite mission and values statements by May 2022
  • Present final work to staff, STAB and board

We welcome the inclusion of any additional recommended deliverables or proposal elements not explicitly described or requested above. 

Support Materials
The following documents can support you in preparing a proposal: 

Proposal Submission & References:
NUA has estimated an annual budget range of $10,000 – $15,000 for the Core Documents consultant position.

Components to the proposal should address your recommended approach, anticipated work plan, a breakdown of timeline and budget/rate, resume, and relevant work samples. Provide two to three (2-3) references from current or past projects in the last five (5) years. Please include with each reference a brief project description, project date, and contact information. 

Please submit your proposal electronically in PDF format by the end of day June 22, 2021 with the subject line “Proposal: Consultant for Core Documents” to Emily Ustach, Deputy Director (Emily@newurbanarts.org).

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We’re hiring a Drawing & Painting Studio Assistant

New Urban Arts is now accepting applications for a drawing & painting studio assistant. Please note: this position is designated for a graduate of New Urban Arts yearlong arts mentoring afterschool program or former volunteer artist mentor. 

Download the full job description here, or read on:

Title: Drawing & Painting Studio Assistant
Schedule: Monday – Friday, 4 hours/day between the hours of 12pm and 7pm
Start/End Date: June 15, 2021- August 6, 2021 (Opportunity to extend through the fall)
Hourly Wage: $20.00/hour
Reports to: Studio Director

Job Description:
The Drawing & Painting Studio Assistant will embody our core values of connection, voice, inclusion, leadership and risk by participating in the studio life on a daily basis; creating meaningful relationships with youth; teaching drawing, painting and material exploration; and supporting the healthy organization of a covid-safe studio.

This position will support New Urban Arts summer programs with the option to extend into the fall with more hours. They will work with students and mentors during the summer program day, supporting logistics and space preparation. They will model effective use of a community based studio environment, promoting respect and responsibility for studio space and peers using the space. They strive to foster a rewarding workplace that conveys a sense of belonging, is stimulating, trusting, and results-oriented, where the mission of New Urban Arts can thrive.

Position Requirements:
This position is designated for a graduate of New Urban Arts yearlong arts mentoring afterschool program or former volunteer artist mentor. A strong desire or interest in arts education, arts administration, teaching or community organizing is preferred but not required. Strong candidates demonstrate sustainable creative practice, knowledge of a variety of art media, organization and communication skills, is self-motivated and works well in a rapidly changing environment.

Responsibilities:
• Attend program team meetings and one-on-one meetings with supervisor before studio hours.
• Oversee painting and drawing media; including maintaining supplies and studio equipment, communicating material needs to NUA staff, and ensuring students are properly trained to use materials and equipment.
• Introduce new media and techniques and support students in learning proper technique, care, and use of studio equipment and materials.
• Create and maintain a safe environment for students to develop their creative practice, including creating a learning environment clear of bias and judgment and encouraging collaboration.
• Help maintain a studio space that is free of trash and debris and is ready for students each day to work and create.
• Demonstrate expertise, either through experience or professional training, with painting and drawing mediums.
• Demonstrate success working in culturally and socioeconomically diverse environments.
• Positive and direct verbal and written communication skills, including proficient and regular use of email communication.
• Flexibility, inclusiveness, responsiveness.
• Collaborate with the New Urban Arts’ team to foster a safe and supportive learning community.
• Build relationships with students and promote relationship building between students, mentors, and staff.

How to Apply:
To apply, send a cover letter detailing your interest in this opportunity and a resume.
Applications are due no later than May 31, 2021 and must be sent electronically to
ashley@newurbanarts.org. Final decisions will be made by the beginning of June. A half-day mandatory orientation training for all summer staff will be held in June.

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Sign up for NUA’s 2021 In-Person Summer Programs!

Are you a high school student that’s interested in making art, building community and getting paid a $400 stipend? Well we’ve got the summer programs for you! First up, we have College Explorations where you’ll dive deep into the college application process! Next, we have the STAB (Studio Team Advisory Board) Leadership Program, our youth advisory board at NUA. Join STAB and work with your fellow students, staff and board members to create and collaborate on a year-long project that directly impacts NUA! Last but not least, we have Summer Studio where you will work with staff to figure out what in-person-programming will be like in the fall! You will have to make art in-person, evaluate the space and protocols and support in NUA’s preparation for fall programming. Did I mention that you’ll get free art supplies, snacks and new friends? Click on this link to apply!

Programs run from July 6 through August 6, and we are offering three different programs, all of which offer a $400 stipend:


College Explorations
Tuesdays & Thursdays 1-4pm (in-person)
Wednesdays 4:30-6pm (virtual)
by appointment: 30 minute individual meetings

Join A Life After School Coordinator Addy Schuetz for a comprehensive introduction to the college application process! Students will build college lists, go on virtual (and optional in-person) college visits, write essays, receives support in completing financial aid/scholarship forms, and use creative means to gain a better understanding of your future goals and the various paths to achieve them. Open to incoming juniors and seniors.


STAB Leadership Program
Wednesdays & Fridays 1-4pm (in-person)
Some additional meetings TBD

Join New Urban Arts’ youth leadership board, STAB, to learn about the history of the organization, the role of youth leaders and the board of directors, and help to make some big decisions about policies and procedures for the year. Studio Director Ashley Paniagua and STAB Co-chairs Jayson Rodriguez and Joseph Sabater will facilitate this twice-a-week summer program. Students will meet and work closely with board members to create goals for the year and present the work at the New Urban Arts Annual Meeting in September.


Summer Studio
Tuesday-Friday 4-6pm (in-person)

Join Youth Programs Assistant Jobanny Cabrera to help plan and practice what a COVID-safe open studio can look like in the fall. Students will create art in the studio, in-person. There will be weekly reflections to evaluation effective practices and potential improvements. Student recommendations will inform the planning of our 2021-22 academic year programs. They will also support NUA in planning recruitment strategies and creating recruitment materials. Students will also document their artwork, including in-process and finished pieces.

Careers in the Arts Virtual Panel

On April 16, 2021, as part of our April 2021 Virtual Career Explorations Month, New Urban Arts hosted a panel on careers in the arts with guest speakers Cas Inez, Spocka Summa, Kah Yangni, and Jordan Seaberry. The panel spoke about the variety of careers available in the arts and gave advice for high school students and young people about pursuing a career in the creative fields.

The Public’s Radio – “Art kits for Providence students help keep the creativity going”

In February 2021, New Urban Arts worked with Providence public high school art teachers to distribute art supplies to students across the city. Listen to or read this piece from The Public’s Radio for more info.

Original Article | Downloadable PDF

March 8, 2021
By James Baumgartner, Production Director, The Public’s Radio

High school art classes have had their own set of challenges during the pandemic. One Providence after-school program has come up with a creative solution to keep kids engaged in self-expression.

In a regular school year, access to art supplies can be difficult. Art teachers say they never get all of the supplies they want in order to teach their classes.

GARLAND: “Most of my classroom materials over the years have been self-funded”

That’s Susan Garland, an art teacher at Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex.

In a regular year, the students in art classes would share supplies like brushes, paints, and charcoal pencils. But this year, that hasn’t really been possible.

GARLAND: “Art teachers really felt like we were in a bind, we didn’t know what to do because we didn’t want our classrooms to be superspreader events, basically.”

So the teachers were very limited in what materials they could provide to their students. In some cases, kids were using just basic number 2 pencils and copy paper.

USTACH: “For an art teacher, that’s really hard. They’re extremely innovative and creative folks but if you don’t have the tools, then it’s really hard to be able to engage students and get them to go deep.”

That’s Emily Ustach, the deputy director of New Urban Arts. It’s an after-school and out-of-school time arts program for high school students in Providence.

Although they aren’t holding in-person classes right now, New Urban Arts wants to provide art making opportunities to as many students as they can. That’s where they got the idea to distribute art supplies to Providence public school students taking art classes.

They ended up making 1200 art kits to distribute to the students. Here’s some of what they have in the kit.

PRESCOTT: “Colored pencils, ruler, sharpener”

GARLAND: “It’s a watercolor kit. Huge glue stick. Oil pastels which is something I personally love to use with kids because they can be so expressive.

PRESCOTT: “It comes with this great bag” [zipper sound]

The bag is key because it lets the students take the supplies with them between in person classes and the virtual classes they take from home.

Christine Prescott teaches in the Providence Virtual Learning Academy, an online-only option for parents who don’t want their kids going to in-person classes.

PRESCOTT: “I think this is just fantastic, because I can ask all of my students all at once, ‘take out your 3b pencil, we’re going to use that right now in contrast with the 6b pencil, let’s see how these pencils work.’”

Susan pointed out that now, her students will have the same materials at home that they have when they meet in class.

GARLAND: “You know if they get really turned on in the class, you know they can – they don’t have to wait until the next day. They can do what I used to do when I was in high school: try to get home really quickly so I can do the same thing at home so I can avoid my other homework.[laughs] That’s that amazing feeling, that draw, that urge, that deep deep desire to keep creating.”

I asked both teachers what art classes and creative expression mean for their students right now. Christine Prescott.

PRESCOTT: “Sometimes students may need an opportunity to express themselves, especially right now. And I think that offering the ability to maybe tap into some metaphoric imagery of how they’re handling the pandemic or some of the other racial tensions that they’re experiencing in their personal life. This may offer the students the ability to leverage the arts to take them to another level of expression. Which I think is really important since many of the students may feel isolated, being home so much.”

Susan Garland told me about the murals students have created at Juanita Sanchez that have themes of social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

GARLAND: “The murals themselves have become almost their own voice for our students. As they’re walking through the halls they understand this movement that’s happening. It makes them understand that they are actually part of something, they are part of the conversation that’s happening.”

Providence Journal: “$25,000 grants open new vistas for RI composers”

New Urban Arts alumnus Storm Ford received the prestigious MacColl Johnson fellowship in music composition from the Rhode Island Foundation. Read more about her award in this Providence Journal article.

Original Article | Downloadable PDF

December 22, 2020
By Donita Naylor

PROVIDENCE — Right away, Storm Ford started spending the $25,000 that came with her fellowship from the Rhode Island Foundation.  

A songwriter since the age of 10, the 21-year-old has long known that she needed the privacy, security and availability of a recording studio at home. 

Last May, at a live national contest on social media, her voice of liquid silk got her noticed by celebrities of the hip-hop world. T-Pain commented on air: “You can tell that in that girl’s heart, she loves music. It’s something she can’t live without,” he said afterward. “She brought soul, she brought the hypnotic feel to it.” 

P Diddy, 6lack and Summer Walker also expressed admiration, and Ford began getting called to Atlanta to work on projects.

Born Caroline Storm Ford in Woonsocket, she was raised mostly by her grandmother in the Hopkinton village of Ashaway. She began using her middle name when she started high school.

The artists’ collaborative on Westminster Street in Providence, New Urban Arts, called to her. It felt like home.

“I was always in the studio,” she said of her junior and senior years of high school. With the help of a mentor and backed by fellow members of the collaborative, she recorded her first album.  

By last week, in an apartment made possible by the fellowship, she had her home studio set up and had assembled the musicians and sound technicians for a friend’s project. She could not come to the phone at the scheduled time, one of her aides said, because “She’s in the middle of her camp,” meaning gifted artists were in the studio, they were caught up in the energy and they weren’t coming out anytime soon. 

Ford was one of 74 musicians who went through a rigorous application process for one of the 2020 fellowships offered by the Rhode Island Foundation on behalf of the couple who endowed the fund. Every year since 2003, the Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund has awarded up to three $25,000 art fellowships for mid-career Rhode Islanders. The awards rotate, going one year to composers, the next to writers and the third to visual artists. The money comes with no strings attached.

Music is in her nature

Strings, however, are important to fellowship winner Adrienne Taylor, a cellist who grew up in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and was playing in an orchestra in Portugal when a friend emailed her about an opening at Community MusicWorks. She had never seen anything like “an urban chamber music residency,” where she would “teach young people for free and play chamber music. It’s the first time I’d seen a place that brought together so many things that were important to me.”

Now 39, she lives in Providence, is a resident musician at Community MusicWorks and a member of the Providence College cello faculty.

Her family’s earliest inkling that she was musical, she said, came when her older sister started piano lessons.

“I begged for piano lessons. My mom took me to the piano teacher, who said, ‘She’s too young. Bring her back when she’s older.’”

She had to wait until first grade. It was the same with the cello. She wasn’t allowed to start until third grade. “I had to wait for it. I think that’s what made me even more driven.”

Now, she teaches students from second grade through college. “It’s the whole range, which is really fun,” Taylor said.  “I never imagined myself as the right personality for teaching young students,” but “I’ve never met a 6-year-old who didn’t love music. You go into a room of young children, and you play a cello for them, and they’re just really excited. They come up and hug you.”

She’s also a composer. The Island Moving Company’s “Night Vision,” choreographed by Danielle Genest and performed for the 2019-20 season, included Taylor on cello, performing what she’d written. 

She set two goals on her application for the fellowship. One was to compose more chamber music and the other was to depict natural places in music and describe, also in music, how climate change might affect them.

“Really, it could be anywhere. What place is not going to be affected by climate change?”

Her partner, who is from California and also likes adventuring, introduced her to natural places out West.

It’s good to remember, she said, “especially during tumultuous times, that the streams are still flowing and the hawks are still flying.” Music expresses what words cannot, delivering how it feels to be at that place and breathe the air at the top of a mountain or the edge of a cliff.”  

Experiments with sound

Courtney Swain, 31, of East Providence, might have applied for the fellowship just to get a rest. In the last 10 years, she has fronted the indie pop band Bent Knee, recording five albums and touring with them in North America, Europe and Japan while also recording four albums of her own.

She has 10 albums at various stages of completion. 

Besides indie pop, she has performed chamber pop and contemporary classical, as well as her own songs, in hundreds of concerts a year.  As a keyboardist at Trinity Repertory Company for “Little Shop of Horrors” in 2019, she produced the illusion that the pit orchestra was bigger than it was. She has been a music director and an educator, performed with the Wilbury Theatre Group and the Celebrity Series of Boston and is a voice coach at RIOT, a summer camp for girls (and those who identify as girls) who rock.

Realizing that as a songwriter, touring and recording artist, “I am the asset for basically my business,” she decided to get more into composing for commission, for film or for visual artists.  

“It’s especially relevant now with COVID. I’m sort of reaching out, whether that be actually writing pieces or creating soundscapes.”

She found out about the fellowships via an email from the Artists Alliance. She hasn’t subscribed to the alliance, and that email “really just floated into my inbox.” The opportunity was “perfect for me. It was like a very synchronistic moment.”

She has wanted to try out some ideas. She loves being unable to guess the origin of a sound. She has been buying devices or software that distort sound, but they are expensive. 

“I don’t like the excuse of not having the right gear, or the right time, as a reason not to create,” she said.  “I spent so much time trying to work with and get creative with what I had, that now, with the right gear, the variables become tenfold.” 

With the fellowship, she’s been recording onto cassette tapes and altering them with modular synthesis. “I can chop them up and sort of mangle them in different ways, and keep going until I find something I like.”

She wants to create what she calls “really interesting fusion cuisine.”

Swain is half Japanese and lived in Japan until she was 18, learning English from her father. She resisted having to practice the piano, and she didn’t fit in because she looked more Caucasian than Japanese. For fun, Japanese young people go bowling and then sing karaoke. She discovered that on stage, she felt like she belonged.

She left Japan for Boston when she was accepted into the Berklee College of Music.

Next up: Writers

Winners were selected by the Alliance of Artists Communities, which also named three finalists: Anthony Andrade, of Providence; Morgan Johnston, of Barrington; and Roz Grace, of Providence. They will receive $2,500 stipends.

Information about the next round, for writers, is available at the Alliance of Artists Communities, at artistcommunities.org/maccolljohnson

Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson, who endowed the fellowships, had a lifelong dedication to the arts. Margaret earned a degree in creative writing from Roger Williams College when she was 70. She died in 1990. Robert, who had invented a process for mixing metals for the jewelry industry, became a full-time painter when he retired. He began discussions about setting up the fellowships before he died in 1999.

Rhode Island Monthly: “Support Rhode Island Nonprofits in Need this Holiday Season”

Original Article | Downloadable PDF

December 16, 2020
By Nancy Kirsch

In good times and bad, volunteering can be satisfying. COVID’s impact has left some nonprofit organizations scrambling to reconfigure their volunteering/fundraising model, especially after galas and events have been canceled. Don’t wait for the New Year to support a cause you believe in.

Children’s Friend, serving the state’s most vulnerable children, will deliver holiday cheer this year. Money, diapers and gift cards are needed, as are holiday gifts fulfilling Adopt-a-Family holiday wish lists. The website links to Amazon for easy shopping and giving. cfsri.org

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation “doesn’t tell someone they have the wrong cancer if they need support,” says executive director Maria Gemma. The Pawtucket-based organization’s new Hands of Hope initiative provides assistance with housing and grocery expenses to individuals in active cancer treatment. With 2020 fundraising revenue slashed, even small donations help. gloriagemma.org

The pandemic shut down an annual fundraiser bash, student art exhibits, community events and on-site volunteering at New Urban Arts, a community arts studio for youth. Despite significant financial repercussions, its “fundraising initiatives are moving full-steam ahead,” so financial donations — but not art supplies — are welcome, says executive director Daniel Schleifer. “Delivering art supplies to students at home” has been an especially successful engagement tool. newurbanarts.org

With COVID-19 shutting down Potter League for Animals’ big spring and summer fundraisers, the Middletown organization invited people to “walk for animals, wherever they are” and peer-to-peer fundraise, says director of marketing and communications Kara Montalbano. Now hosting mobile pet food pantries in Newport and beyond, the agency welcomes wish list/cash donations and volunteers for helping with vaccinations and cleaning. potterleague.org

Amid the pandemic, Save the Bay reconfigured its annual Taste of the Bay event into a stay-at-home fundraiser for restaurants that have supported the organization. “Save the Bay Swim supporters held swimming, biking, kayaking, running and walking fundraising challenges,” says director of communications Katy Dorchies. Volunteers can also mark storm drains to reduce marine debris or clean shorelines. savebay.org

Fundraising and onsite volunteers kept the Westerly-based WARM Center chugging along until COVID-19, when “everything came to a screeching halt,” says executive director Russ Partridge; grab-and-go meals replaced WARM’s soup kitchen. Community members, the Rhode Island Foundation and the Champlin Foundation provided invaluable help, and one new donor has contributed $100 every week since early March. warmcenter.org

For Giving Tuesday, Our Staff Made a List of Organizations that We Support

“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!

 

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.
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.
Community MusicWorks CMW’s mission is to create cohesive urban community through music education and performance that transforms the lives of children, families, and musicians.
College Visions empower low-income and first-generation college-bound students to realize the promise of higher education by providing advising and resources to promote college enrollment, persistence, and graduation.
DARE DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) organizes Providence communities for social, political, and economic justice since 1986.
Downcity Design DCD is a non-profit community design studio that empowers people to imagine and create better futures for their communities, using the tools of design.
Everett: Company Stage & School Everett is an intergenerational, multicultural company of professional artists that creates original concert works and video productions, carries out a wide range of educational programs, and mentors new generations of young artists.
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.
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.
India Association of RI The India Association of Rhode Island’s mission is to form a common bond among the people of Indian origin living in Rhode Island; to preserve, foster and honor the diverse social, cultural, and educational heritage of India in Rhode Island especially in the younger generation; and to promote the same in the mainstream American society so as to enhance mutual understanding and goodwill between the Indo-American community and mainstream American society.
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.
Mixed Magic Theater For the past 19 years, Mixed Magic Theatre has strived to bring diverse stories and images to the stage through prose and song, tackling well-known dramatics as well as original theatrical productions.
OASIS International Oasis International serves the African immigrant Community and the low-income neighborhoods of West End, Elmwood, Upper Southwest Providence, Lower Southwest Providence, and Washington Park.
Providence CityArts for Youth CityArts has offered free in-school, after-school, and summer arts education to Providence youth, ages 8 – 14.
PrYSM PrYSM mobilizes queer Southeast Asian youth, families, and allies to build grassroots power and organize collectively for social justice.
Providence Student Union PSU builds student power to improve education and well-being.
Refri PVD Refri_PVD is a community fridge on the West End of Providence outside of New Urban Arts.
Rhode Island Black Storytellers RIBS is dedicated to promoting the awareness, appreciation, and application of Black Storytelling in Rhode Island through performance, as well as through educational and cultural experiences.
RI Latino Arts RI Latino Arts promotes, encourages and preserves the art, history, heritage and cultures of the Spanish-speaking people of Rhode Island.
RIOT Rhode Island RIOT RI uses music creation, critical thinking and collaborative relationships to foster collective empowerment and the development of healthy identities in girls, women, trans, and gender-expansive youth and adults.
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.
The Steel Yard The Steel Yard is Providence’s Industrial Arts Space.
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.
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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“Flexibility and Fidelity” by Deputy Director Emily Ustach published in Afterschool Matters

From 2018-2020, New Urban Arts Deputy Director Emily Ustach was a National Institute on Out of School Time Fellow. During her fellowship, she conducted research on a core practice of New Urban Arts, which we describe as “Flexibility and Fidelity.” Her research was published in the Summer 2020 edition of the Afterschool Matters Journal, which was, incidentally, the 40th anniversary edition.

Read the whole thing here.

“New Urban Arts is different … because it’s structured in a way that allows for choice. The loose structure really allows for an environment that adapts to the needs of youth, rather than make them adapt to the space. And having artist mentors serve as beacons of activities that students can choose to interact with is also core. In all, New Urban Arts is an ideal example of how to structure fluidity.”

“What Can Public Art Teach Public Humanities” by Susan Smulyan published in Doing Public Humanities

Former board chair and long-time New Urban Arts volunteer Susan Smulyan, who is also a professor of American Studies at Brown University, recently edited Doing Public Humanities (Routledge Press 2020). Chapter 2, written by Smulyan and entitled “What Can Public Art Teach Public Humanities” explores New Urban Arts’ role in inspiring the Public Humanities program at Brown.

Read the whole thing here.

We’re hiring a VISTA to Support Program Providers at NUA Knights

We’re hiring a VISTA to support program providers at NUA Knights! Download the job posting here, or read on:


NUA Knights Program Provider Support VISTA

Organization: New Urban Arts
Site Street and Address: 705 Westminster St, Providence RI 02903
Phone: 401-751-4556
Email: tracy@newurbanarts.org
Website: newurbanarts.org
Application Deadline: July 15, 2020
Start Date: August 17, 2020

Reporting to: Tracy Jacques, NUA Knights Site Director
Yearly Living Stipend: $13,311 (paid bi-weekly)
Benefits: VISTA Living Stipend, Healthcare Benefit, End-of-Service Award or Education Award, Leave, Professional Development, Career Opportunities

 

About
New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. 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. In 2017, New Urban Arts worked with Central High School to launch NUA Knights, an after school and summer program specifically for Central students.

NUA Knights offers students over 40 after school programs led by teachers, staff, community partners, and other nonprofit organizations. Each year, more than 400 students participate in these programs.

New Urban Arts and Central High School seek a highly motivated AmeriCorps VISTA member. The VISTA will be stationed at Central High School and will report directly to the NUA Knights Site Director. They will also work in close collaboration with the New Urban Arts and Central High School community, staff, volunteers, and youth participants.

 

VISTA Responsibilities

  • Assist the NUA Knights Site Director in establishing and maintaining systems for engaging program providers in the day-to-day operations of an afterschool program.
  • Assist in the support of program providers by building infrastructure to track HR paperwork and contracts, professional development opportunities, and payroll.
  • Maintain up-to-date correspondence with program providers and Central High School staff.
  • Build systems that account for two distinct groups of program providers:
    • Central High School teachers and staff running afterschool programs, who are part of the Central community during the school day.
    • Community partners that join the Central community only during the after
      school period.
  • Schedule activities with afterschool providers, including appreciation and networking events and professional development opportunities.
  • Build the infrastructure needed to support a new program initiative, the NUA Knights advisory board composed of Central staff, students, community partners, and parents.
  • Create a safe space for students and staff during after school hours.

Candidates should bring the following to their position:

  • An interest and excitement to work with high school students
  • Ability to work collaboratively both in person and on digital platforms such as Google Classrooms, Google Meet, Zoom.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to speak Spanish is strongly preferred

This is an AmeriCorps VISTA position. For more information on AmeriCorps VISTA, visit: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-programs/americorps-vista

 

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter and resume to tracy@newurbanarts.org

Any selected candidate will be required to submit an application (including two completed references) to myAmeriCorps and be accepted for service by VISTA.

New Urban Arts is an equal opportunity employer.

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We’re hiring a VISTA to Support Students at NUA Knights

We’re hiring a VISTA to support students at NUA Knights! Download the job posting here, or read on:


NUA Knights Student Support VISTA

Organization: New Urban Arts
Site Street and Address: 705 Westminster St, Providence RI 02903
Phone: 401-751-4556
Email: tracy@newurbanarts.org
Website: newurbanarts.org
Application Deadline: October 2, 2020
Start Date: November 2, 2020

Reporting to: Tracy Jacques, NUA Knights Site Director
Yearly Living Stipend: $13,311 (paid bi-weekly)
Benefits: VISTA Living Stipend, Healthcare Benefit, End-of-Service Award or Education Award, Leave, Professional Development, Career Opportunities

 

About
New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. 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. In 2017, New Urban Arts worked with Central High School to launch NUA Knights, an afterschool and summer program specifically for Central students.

NUA Knights offers over 40 after school programs to students led by teachers, staff, community partners, and other nonprofit organizations. Each year more than 400 students participate in these programs.

New Urban Arts and Central High School seek a highly motivated VISTA member. The VISTA will be stationed at Central High School and will report directly to the Central Site Director. They will also work in close collaboration with the New Urban Arts and Central High School community of staff, volunteers, and youth participants.

 

VISTA Responsibilities

  • Assist the NUA Knights Site Director in establishing and maintaining systems for day-to-day operations of an afterschool program.
  • Design and implement systems for enrollment, data tracking, attendance, and reporting (including the maintenance of the Rhode Island Program Quality Assessment (RIPQA) binder, a necessary component of the evaluation process for RIDE 21st Century programs).
  • Support student recruitment efforts, including the creation and distribution of recruitment materials and maintenance of social media pages.
  • Manage communication with students and parents.
  • Schedule activities with afterschool providers and coordinate after school transportation.
  • Create a safe space for students and staff during after school hours.

Candidates should bring the following to their position:

  • An interest and excitement to work with high school students
  • Ability to work collaboratively both in person and on digital platforms such as Google Classrooms, Google Meet, and Zoom
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to speak Spanish is strongly preferred.

This is an AmeriCorps VISTA position. For more information on AmeriCorps VISTA, visit: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-programs/americorps-vista

 

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter and resume to tracy@newurbanarts.org

Any selected candidate will be required to submit an application (including two completed references) to myAmeriCorps and be accepted for service by VISTA.

New Urban Arts is an equal opportunity employer.

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New Urban Arts stands with Black Lives Matter

Our mission is to build a vital community that empowers young people as artists and leaders to develop a creative practice that they can sustain throughout their lives. This mission calls upon us to speak out and take action against forces that threaten our young people’s ability to lead long, joyful lives full of creativity. Police violence—along with the systems of white supremacy and racism that enable it—is one of those forces. New Urban Arts stands in support of Black Lives Matter.

Moving forward, we will do more to support and signal boost the work of organizations fighting to make the world safer for our students and their families, the vast majority of whom are people of color.

Please join us in supporting the RI Solidarity Fund. This coalition of six community organizations is providing pandemic relief in historically marginalized communities across Rhode Island, while advocating for justice on multiple fronts.

Please follow OurSchoolsPVD, an alliance of youth-led organizations in Providence fighting for Counselors Not Cops. They seek to end the placement of police in schools, better known as school resource officers (SROs), and reallocate those funds for emotional support and restorative justice. The new superintendent of Providence Schools just released a statement sympathetic to Black Lives Matter, so we have a real opportunity for change.

If you feel healthy and safe doing so, join us at an upcoming rally (see below for list).

Finally, we want to recognize the incredible work of the youth leaders of Step Up RI who, on Friday, June 5, successfully held one of the Rhode Island’s largest protests in recent history.

In solidarity,

Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director
Lois Harada, Board Chair

 

Upcoming Rallies
If you attend a public gathering, please consider getting a COVID test afterward, whether or not you display symptoms. The Rhode Island Health Department now offers free testing for asymptomatic people, with an emphasis on those who have attended protests. Visit portal.ri.gov or call 401-222-8022 to schedule. The best timeframe for testing is 3-7 days after potential exposure.

Wednesday, 6/10 4:30-7pm – Rally at Burnside Park

Sunday, 6/14 12-3pm – Code Black RI: Health Equity For Black Lives
March from RI Hospital to the State House, organized by healthcare workers of color

Sunday, 6/14 12pm – We Want To Live BLM Protest
Rally and march from Kennedy Plaza to the State House, organized by youth

 

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A Message to Our Students – June 2, 2020

Dear young people,

Black people continue to be murdered everyday. It is not okay. The white supremacist systems that we exist in and experience are not okay. We are thinking about the world you are inheriting and you deserve so much better. We want you to know that we have not forgotten about you. We are thinking about you and we are here for you.

Email ashley@newurbanarts.org to touch base, ask questions, find resources, connect to your beloved mentors, send memes, and/or to learn how to join us for open studio this week. We’ll be holding space for processing in whatever way our young people need.

Our studio mantra extends beyond the walls of our building. We take care of ourselves, we take care of each other, and we take care of our community.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We love you. ♡ NUA

#blacklivesmatter @ New Urban Arts

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Support young people’s creative learning during COVID

Dear friends,

I hope this letter finds you and your family faring well during this unsettling time. Like many of us, you may be turning to culture and creativity for refuge and inspiration—immersing yourself in favorite works of art, literature, and drama, or engaging in your our own creative practices like playing music, writing poetry, drawing, or cooking. As this crisis unfolds, we are reminded that creativity and culture are vital to our survival and to our thriving, both as individuals and communities. That’s why I’m writing to ask you to support us in ensuring that the young people who most need it have access to culture and creativity.

The impacts of this pandemic will be felt particularly by New Urban Arts’ students. Their parents are more likely to be laid off or work jobs that can’t be done remotely, putting their families at greater risk. They will be the hardest hit by the loss of school-time education and other supports.

Meanwhile, the arts and humanities can help us understand situations that are not easy to understand. Even now, New Urban Arts is providing our young people with mentoring, resources, and ways to process what is happening. And, when it’s safe, we will again provide them physical space to learn and socialize. If you’re in the position to do so, I hope you’ll consider supporting New Urban Arts today.

To engage students remotely, we are hosting studio sessions on Google Classroom and mentoring students by phone and email. Additionally, last month, with the support of local businesses and donors like you, we began delivering art supplies to students at home.

During this pandemic and its economic fallout, I can’t help but think back, with concern, to 2008. Youth arts organizations still live in the shadow of that year. After the great recession, funders slowly but surely began turning away from youth arts, instead prioritizing college access, economic development, STEM, and financial literacy. These are all worthy causes, but the underlying message of this shift is that youth arts does nothing to prevent crises, and is therefore not worth funding.

You and I know that this is far from the truth. Art enables resilience and empathy, giving us a sense of meaning in the most difficult times. Furthermore, art is vital to recovery and healing. Once this crisis is over, places like New Urban Arts will breathe life back into our community. Your support today will sustain this space, providing young people with mentoring and creative tools to make sense of their experience.

Our community is strong and resilient. I’m encouraged to see that, here in Rhode Island, people like you are taking decisive action to support a broad range of organizations, including both basic needs organizations and cultural organizations whose damages might not be immediately apparent. Please join with me today in supporting and advocating for youth arts!

As a donor to New Urban Arts, you understand how important the arts are for all of us, particularly young people. The arts enable youth to develop socially and to explore their emerging sense of self. Together, despite this pandemic, we can continue to support young people’s creative development. Please support New Urban Arts today so that we can continue our work remotely and so that, when it’s safe to reopen our doors, we can do so without delay.

In gratitude,

Dan Schleifer

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The Public’s Radio: “After-school arts programs find creative ways to make art at a distance”

Original Article | Downloadable PDF | Listen

May 28, 2020

How can you practice theater when you can’t be in the same room? How do you make art together when you can’t share a space? How do you have a violin lesson over a Zoom call? Three after-school arts groups in Providence are finding creative answers to those questions.

by James Baumgartner

The Public’s Radio production director James Baumgartner talked with the leaders of three after-school arts organizations: Meg Sullivan from The Manton Avenue Project, Sebastian Ruth from Community Music Works and Dan Schleifer from New Urban Arts.

From Manton Avenue Project’s YouTube channel“Scene 5, the next day after school… Will holds on to Dan and Ogie pops out. “He is going to beat me up.” “I swear, I’m not going to beat you up. I never had friends before, so I wanted to make others feel as bad as I felt.”

The Manton Avenue Project does theater work with kids from 3rd grade through high school in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence. Meg Sullivan is the executive artistic director of Manton Avenue Project. She told me that they weren’t able to get together for their April play festival, so the actors performed from their living rooms, with everyone getting together virtually, which is how they’ve been doing all of their group activities these days.

SULLIVAN: My initial feeling was I was hesitant because I knew that our young people were in school all day online and I wasn’t sure they would be up for more zoom. But it turned out that we had a lot of interest from our students to stay connected.

In Providence, there are several arts organizations that provide tuition-free programs for school-age children outside of school. Sebastian Ruth is the founder and artistic director of Community Music Works which (among other things) provides music lessons to young people, most of whom live on the south side of Providence.

[violin]

RUTH (in lesson video): Alright. So now try that bridge one more time. Don’t think about “violin sounds” for a second. Just like, see what’s in your heart and just play the bridge with that feeling. I don’t know, I feel like Beyonce would do something like that, y’know? Just like “ahhh” just open it all out.

The one-on-one lessons are now on video calls.

RUTH: In a funny, ironic way, this is a time when students have to take charge of their own learning. While normally, showing up at the lesson is their… that’s the big accomplishment that day and then the teacher kind of directs the rest of the activity. But now, two people are showing up equally on this digital platform and having to share responsibility for how it works.

Here’s violin student Marieme Diallo during a recent lesson with Sebastian.

DIALLO: I can definitely get the whole thing done and play around with it a little bit. I don’t even know what I’m doing.

RUTH: That’s alright! It’s all good.

DIALLO: I got lost.

RUTH: It’s actually great because you’re letting yourself get lost. Do it again.

Despite the need to keep a distance, the young people are still engaged with the organizations. Dan Schleifler is the executive director of New Urban Arts. It’s a community art studio for high schoolers, across the street from Classical and Central High Schools in Providence. But he says it’s more than just a place with resources for making art.

SCHLEIFER: For a lot of our students, New Urban Arts is really one of their primary community spaces and I know for a fact that they’re really missing that right now. This is what we’re hearing from students. New Urban Arts is the place where a lot of them get to see their friends in a space that feels like it’s on their own terms, in a space where they feel like they have ownership of. And I think they’re really missing the social experience of the space.

New Urban Arts, Community Music Works and The Manton Avenue Project all work with students in low-income families. And they’re going far beyond art instruction right now, helping the kids and their families with more basic needs. Community Music Works provides a take-home meal once a week, New Urban Arts is delivering art supplies to their students and working with them on applying to colleges. Here’s Meg Sullivan from Manton Avenue Project.

SULLIVAN: And one of the things we’ve been doing is giving masks to families. A lot of families didn’t have enough masks. And so Trinity costume designer Lizzy Pegler and one of our MAP friends and wonderful actor and director Wendy Overly both donated a bunch of really beautifully sewn masks – fabric masks. And so I’ve been driving masks around town. We have had some families impacted by the virus. And so our focus has shifted also to just making sure those families have what they need at home. So we are bringing groceries and bringing medicine and things that they need.

Although it’s been disruptive and difficult for these organizations, they’ve found that they are learning things that they hope to continue when they are able to meet face to face with their students. Again, Sebastian Ruth.

RUTH: There’s too much that’s different right now for us to assume we just need to wait it out and go back to the normal. I think this is just raising big questions about how organizations like ours can best meet our mission. How we can best support young artists in the city to grow and become leaders and become creative minds that will guide the city forward. It requires all of us to kind of stay open and have a sense of inquiry while we’re going through this and of course while there is so much suffering and hardship right now.

SULLIVAN: It’s important I think to know that creativity never stops, we just find new ways to do it.

Meg Sullivan says it’s important, because art heals in times of crisis.

SULLIVAN: We can’t not do it. Especially during a crisis like this in which a lot of people are under enormous stress. And we’re going to get through this because the young people we work with are so amazing and they deserve it.

The groups are all planning to continue their efforts through the summer. Community Music Works will still have lessons over video and they’ll hold a virtual gala performance on June 2nd via YouTube. New Urban Arts will have a virtual art show in late June. And Manton Avenue Project is modifying their summer camp program for July so they can meet mostly outside and only in small groups.

Providence Business News: “Fostering students’ creative outlet during COVID-19 pandemic”

Original Article | Downloadable PDF

April 24, 2020

BY CASSIUS SHUMAN | Research@PBN.com
PHOTO BY RUPERT WHITELY

NEW URBAN ARTS, a nationally recognized community arts studio for high school students and artists in Providence, has launched an initiative to safely distribute art supplies to students during the COVID-19 pandemic through a partnership with Jerry’s Artarama and Dash Bicycle, which offers a Dash Delivery service, both in Providence.

Students can choose from one of three kits: drawing, mixed media, or watercolor painting. The creativity kits allow artist mentors from the nonprofit’s program team to work remotely with students on creative projects they can complete at home. The kits are being packaged by Jerry’s Artarama and will be delivered via Dash Bicycle. Donations to the initiative can be made at:
bit.ly/3aXMYwc.

“The impacts of this pandemic will be deeply felt by our students, the vast majority of whom come from low-income families,” said Daniel Schleifer, New Urban Arts executive director. “Their parents are more likely to be laid off, or to work jobs that can’t be done remotely, putting their families at greater risk for infection. They will be the hardest hit by the loss of education and other supports provided by school and after-school programs, such as food, transportation and social services. When they come back, they are likely to be eager to take advantage of every opportunity we can offer.”

New Urban Arts has been expanding since its inception in 1997, affording students a chance to explore their artistic inclinations. The nonprofit boasts a 2,000-plus-square-foot facility in Providence offering a variety of programs that are free and taught by artist mentors, including photography, painting, silk screening and digital media.

The organization’s mission is to build a community that empowers young people as artists and leaders to develop a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. Founded by four college students and high school students, the nonprofit has evolved from its humble beginnings of 10 students to a projected total of about 800 in 2020, fostering partnerships along the way.

Help NUA Safely Distribute Art Supplies to Students during COVID19

Help enrich the lives of our community’s young people during COVID-19! New Urban Arts is partnering with Jerry’s Artarama and Dash Bicycle Delivery to safely provide free creativity kits to New Urban Arts’ students during this challenging time. Students will be able to choose from one of three kits: drawing, mixed media, or water color painting. Kits will be paired with prompts and exercises that will allow artist mentors to work remotely with students on creative projects they can complete at home.

Follow the donate link below to help; you’ll see four options:

  • $5 pays for one Dash Bicycle delivery to a student’s home
  • $20 pays for one creativity kit
  • $50 is a bundle! Purchase and deliver two creativity kits to two young people
  • Or give another amount of your choosing!



One of the fundamental things that you provide by supporting New Urban Arts is access to creative tools. This effort is to ensure we can continue to provide that access. Make a donation today in support of New Urban Arts’ creativity kit effort! Our goal is to distribute 250 creativity kits to our young people, which will cost about $6,000. Even a small donation goes a long way! 

A big thank you to our friends at Jerry’s Artarama for assembling the kits and to Dash Bicycle for safely transporting them!

Any funds raised beyond our goal will support New Urban Arts’ youth programs, which will resume as soon as it is safe to do so. For more info on our response to Covid-19, please visit https://newurbanarts.org/covid19

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Statement on COVID-19 / Declaración sobre COVID-19

UPDATED September 11, 2020, 5:00 PM

En Español abajo

New Urban Arts continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are doing our part to protect our community, students, staff, and volunteers. We are heeding all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Rhode Island Department of Health, and elected officials.

  • Our studio remains closed this fall and winter, and our studio programs remain remote. Select NUA Knights programs at Central High School will be offered in person, working in close collaboration with Central’s administration.
  • Unfortunately, we will not be accepting new applications for volunteer artist-mentors this year. While we will still have a small cohort of artist-mentors in addition to our resident artist-mentors, it will consist only of artists that have already worked with our students.
  • In-person meetings and programs are cancelled, and our staff is engaging with students online through email, social media, and Google Classroom.
  • We are safely delivering art supplies to students at home. We also built a Google Site of creative activities for students to try with their art supplies.
  • New Urban Arts will cover staff salaries and healthcare for the foreseeable future, including our resident artist-mentors.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Continue to practice social distancing; please stay home to give healthcare workers a fighting chance against the pandemic.
  • The Providence Student Union has set up a support line for young people in crisis: (401) 543-2447. Please share widely. Any Providence student who needs help can call the PSU Support Line to apply for emergency crisis funds, access clothing and supplies, and be referred to free legal aid and other support services.
  • Please support New Urban Arts with a donation to ensure that when we reopen, we can do so without delay! Our community’s young people depend on our programs. Support them by donating here.

Resources:
Rhode Island Department of Health COVID-19 online resource center: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/

Flatten The Curve, thorough guidance on COVID-19 from one public health professional: https://www.flattenthecurve.com/

Please contact daniel@newurbanarts.org with any questions.
 


New Urban Arts continúa monitoreando la pandemia de COVID-19, y hacemos nuestra parte para proteger a nuestra comunidad, estudiantes, personal y voluntarios. Seguimos toda la orientación de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC), el Departamento de Salud de Rhode Island y los funcionarios electos.

  • Nuestro estudio está cerrado este otoño e invierno, y nuestros programas de estudio todavía se ofrecen de forma remota. Se ofrecerán programas selectos de NUA Knights en Central High School en persona, en colaboración con la administración de Central.
  • Desafortunadamente, este año no aceptaremos nuevas solicitudes para artistas-mentores voluntarios. Todavía tendremos una pequeña cohorte de artistas-mentores además de nuestros artistas-mentores residentes, pero estará formada solo por artistas que ya han trabajado con nuestros estudiantes.
  • Los programas y las reuniones en persona se cancelan, y nuestro personal se compromete con los estudiantes en línea a través de correo electrónico, redes sociales y Google Classroom.
  • Entregamos, de manera segura, artículos de arte a los estudiantes en casa. También creamos un sitio de Google de actividades creativas para que los estudiantes prueben con sus materiales de arte.
  • Para nuestro personal (incluidos nuestros artistas-mentores residentes), New Urban Arts pagará los salarios y el seguro de salud en el futuro previsible.

Así es como pueden ayudar:

  • Continuar practicando el distanciamiento social; quédese en casa para que los trabajadores de la salud puedan combatir la pandemia.
  • La Unión de Estudiantes de Providence (PSU) ha establecido una línea de apoyo para jóvenes en crisis: (401) 543-2447. Cualquier estudiante de Providence que necesite ayuda puede llamar a la Línea de Apoyo de PSU para solicitar fondos de emergencia para crisis, acceder a ropa y suministros, y ser derivado a asistencia legal gratuita y otros servicios.
  • ¡Apoye a New Urban Arts con una donación para asegurarse de que cuando abrimos, podamos hacerlo sin demora! Los jóvenes de nuestra comunidad dependen de nuestros programas. Apóyalos donando aqui.

Recursos:
Centro de recursos sobre COVID-19 del Departamento de Salud de Rhode Island: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/

Flatten The Curve, orientación completa sobre COVID-19 de un profesional de salud pública: https://www.flattenthecurve.com/

Póngase en contacto con jeannie@newurbanarts.org con cualquier pregunta.

Tamara Bids Us Adieu

Tamara Kaplan has been a part of New Urban Arts’ staff since 2000 serving in a number of roles beginning as our first program director. Tamara ultimately transitioned into administration and has been our Finance and Operations Manager since 2005. Tamara will always be a cherished member of our community, and we are so excited for her next adventure in life. 

Before she leaves, Tamara wants to share this message with all of you in our community:

As I reflect on my past two decades at New Urban Arts, I am both humbled and excited by the path we have taken to get to where we are today. New Urban Arts has also pushed the preconceived notions and limitations I had put on myself, allowing me to become a more confident person. For me, it all started in August of 2000, when I showed up for my Program Director interview. This was the first time in my semi-professional life that I was interviewed by a high school student. I saw what I wanted in a work place; an environment that celebrated youth voice and a place where young people were seen as people.

I sometimes think of my experience as a 19-year parenting class I happen to be graduating from just as my own kids are becoming the same age as New Urban Arts’ students. I think of this space as a gift to teenagers and the adults who work here—a safe space to be who you are at this moment in time, and a space where you are encouraged to figure out who you dream to be. When we work as a group across ages and cultures to create spaces together that support young people, we can be real and thoughtful about how we want to live as humans in the world.

One day, I was expressing my frustration about not having the mental space to make art in my studio. A student stopped me mid-sentence and said that I was helping create a space for others to make art, and that is a creative practice in itself. I never saw my work that way until that day. She gave me the words to see my world as a creative practice from raising my kids, to making dinner, to sitting at my computer deep in numbers. Sometimes it is hard to see the bigger picture, but young people at New Urban Arts make me see the bigger picture as a puzzle that—when put together—makes sense. 

As the Finance and Operations manager at New Urban Arts, I have live in number. This is ironic because, when I started in 2000 as the Program Director, I wanted nothing to do with money. However, when I transitioned from programming to administration, I had to learn non-profit management, financial reporting, and operations. New Urban Arts put their trust in me to learn, and in return I devoured all I could to do my job well. It scared me until I started seeing the numbers tell a story—a story of growth, thoughtfulness, history, and sustainability. The numbers became my new tools in the creative practice of making space for young people to make art.

Over the years, together, we have grown this organization from 40 young people in 2000 to over 700 in 2019. When you walk in, you still feel the same sense of vibrancy and love—it’s like a big hug. Sometimes things are really hard, but because we respect each other and trust the process, we come to a place that is more interesting than we ever imagined. This is what strong relationships look like.

We ask our students to come the way they are, to explore various media, and be open to being asked what they want rather than being told what they want. This idea is uncomfortable for some since, for many students, all they know is learning from institutions where teachers alone set the agenda. At New Urban Arts, we are all learning. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is messy. I have found that if I live in the messy it becomes beautiful and easier the next time.

As I move into my next adventure, I take with me the importance of:

  • Showing up and being present in every part of my life.
  • Stepping up when I need to lead and stepping back when others need to step forward.
  • Multiple voices—the process may take longer, but the outcomes are more interesting.
  • Listening instead of talking when people need to be heard.
  • Making mistakes. Living in the uncomfortable is more powerful than taking the easy path.
  • Young people being strong voices in the world. The fact is that adults need to listen to them.
  • Working professionally with former students. They push me to be a better educator, person, colleague, artist, and youth worker.
  • Creating safe spaces for young people to be creative and be to themselves.
  • Recognizing the creativity within anything I choose to practice
  • This list not being finished nor will it ever be.

Thank you New Urban Arts for the love and support all these years. I look forward to watching your future and can’t wait to see where we go.

Much love.

Tamara
NUA staff 2000-2019

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Support New Urban Arts today.

 

I’m writing to ask you to support New Urban Arts today.

I often tell people, “Think of New Urban Arts as a big building full of creative resources and carefully trained adult artists who can teach you how to use those resources; then young people walk in, and we say, ‘use it all however you want.’”

This approach has made us the largest afterschool arts provider in Providence. Last year, we again reached an all-time high level of participation, with 783 students enrolling. I want to share a story with you about one of them:

David is a Providence Public School student who learned about New Urban Arts from a friend. He came to our studio because he heard that we provide RIPTA bus tickets. On his first day, he requested a bus ticket; we provided it and asked that he return with a completed enrollment form. The next time he came back, he brought his enrollment form and requested another bus ticket. We could tell he was interested, but he didn’t stay or participate.

We felt that he was testing us; clearly, he wasn’t sure whether this space was safe or trustworthy. We didn’t know why he felt this way, but we didn’t pry and kept giving him bus tickets. Eventually, David stayed a little bit longer. He discovered that we had paint that he could use to customize his shoes. He started coming more frequently to paint, have a snack, and get a bus ticket.

Eventually, we learned that, before finding New Urban Arts, he was accused of stealing a snack from another program, and he didn’t feel welcome back there. Now, it made sense; when you feel like you’ve been judged by an institution in the past—simply for seeking resources that are supposed to be free—it’s hard to trust other institutions. He wanted to know if New Urban Arts was really free.

Last year, one of David’s peers was shot near his school. Like many students, he was impacted in ways that we do not fully comprehend. In the days after the shooting, New Urban Arts opened our doors for extra hours to provide a safe space for students to process or just hang out. David spent several hours at New Urban Arts—longer than he’d ever stayed, and longer than many of his classmates—making art and hanging out. He also got a bus ticket. Now in his junior year, David comes two or three times a week.

New Urban Arts’ approach is unique. Other programs might have had more requirements for David to meet before receiving a service he needed. However, at New Urban Arts, we treat young people’s trust as something we need to earn—not something that we deserve. This meant that, on his first few visits, our actions had to tell David, “If you need that bus ticket more than you need to make art right now, we believe you, and you have agency in how you use the resources we offer.”

___

I wish you could see New Urban Arts right now; as I write this, there’s a quiet buzz, occasionally punctuated by loud laughter. Groups of students and mentors are clustered around the studio, drawing, painting, printing, sewing, and making music.

It’s a beautiful scene, a vital reminder of what’s possible in education—especially at this moment of uncertainty. You may have read the dire report on the Providence Public School District released by Johns Hopkins this summer. It paints a bleak picture, and it makes clear how much students need New Urban Arts. And donors like you allow us to provide this consistent, safe haven for our community’s young people.

Spurred by the report and ensuing investigations, the state began its takeover of the Providence Schools last week. We’re hopeful that this is an opportunity for the district’s educators and administrators, along with students, parents, community partners, and state officials, to turn things around. However, change will not come overnight, so young people need a place like New Urban Arts—now more than ever.

The Johns Hopkins report mentioned school culture and safety as particular concerns, and at New Urban Arts, we create an uncommonly supportive culture and a safe space. One of the key ways we do this is by prioritizing young people’s agency. David’s story is what this looks like in practice.

I am often asked how we’re able to do the work we do and how we’re able to keep our programs free to young people, particularly amidst growing enrollment. My answer is this: we have community members, like you, who believe in our young people and believe in what we do. Our approach endures because you share our vision of a world where educational spaces are safe, fun, supportive, and joyful, and where such spaces are available to ALL young people.

Please support New Urban Arts with a year-end gift today.

With gratitude,

 

Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director

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Colleges Visiting New Urban Arts – Fall 2019

Once again, our A Life After School Program is bringing representatives from multiple colleges and universities to visit New Urban Arts, with a particular focus on schools with excellent financial aid.

All students are welcome, and pizza will be served:

Monday, October 21st, 3:30pm: 
Syracuse University, NY, Urban
Average Financial Need Met: 97%
Graduation Rate: 83%
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Average Alumni Income Ten Years After Graduation: $62,100
 
Thursday, October 24th, 4:00pm:
RISD, RI, Urban – Antonio Peters-RISD Admissions will be available for portfolio feedback from 4:00pm to 5:30pm!
Average Financial Need Met: 73%
Graduation Rate: 89%
Acceptance Rate: 24%
Average Alumni Income Ten Years After Graduation: $51,100
 
Tuesday, October 29th, 4:00pm:
Davidson College, NC, Suburban
Average Financial Need Met: 100% (with no loan promise!)
Graduation Rate: 93%
Acceptance Rate: 20%
Average Alumni Income Ten Years After Graduation: $58,900
 
Wednesday, October 30th, 4:00pm:
University of Rochester, NYC, Suburban
Average Financial Need Met: 100%
Graduation Rate: 86%
Acceptance Rate: 31%
Average Alumni Income Ten Years After Graduation: $61,200
 
Thursday, November 7th, 3:15pm:
Mount Holyoke College, MA, Rural (Women’s College)
Average Financial Need Met: 100%
Graduation Rate: 83%
Acceptance Rate: 51%
Average Alumni Income Ten Years After Graduation: $48,600
 
Wednesday, November 13th, 3:30pm:
Connecticut College, CT, Suburban
Average Financial Need Met: 100%
Graduation Rate: 81%
Acceptance Rate: 38%
Average Alumni Income Ten Years After Graduation: $54,900
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We’re hiring for two new VISTA positions!

New Urban Arts is hiring for two VISTA positions to begin this Fall! Check out the listing below to learn more about each role and how you can apply today!

NUA Knights Student Support VISTA
We’re hiring a VISTA to support students at NUA Knights, our expansion program at Central High School.

NUA Knights Program Provider Support VISTA
We’re hiring a VISTA to support program providers at NUA Knights, our expansion program at Central High School.

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Thank You, Owen

After the Art Party, before summer programs begin, we don’t have youth programs, but the Studio is just as busy as ever. Grant reports are being submitted, art supplies are being inventoried and restocked, and Owen is hunkered down in the basement as he wraps up his final duties before his last day as our Studio Organizer.

After taking a quick second to brew some coffee for a mid-afternoon boost, we take a step outside for a break from work. Taking the moment to have what’ll be a heartwarming chat with a very good friend of our’s.

NUA: So tell us, Owen, when did you start at NUA, how did you hear about it, and what media did you start with?

O: Photography. I had a camera, and I was doing film. My father taught me—he was a police officer who did crime scene photography. As a kid, I would visit the police department’s darkroom on the weekends and learn how to develop prints. And then my grandfather did photography when he was younger, and I got to learn about the lab with him.

But I was sad when I got to high school because I couldn’t really go to the police station anymore, because I was getting older, and you weren’t really supposed to be doing that anyways. I enjoyed photography, but it didn’t seem like it was something I could keep doing. But then some friends introduced me to New Urban Arts, which was just around the corner from Youth Pride, and I was just amazed that it was all free.

NUA: Of course!

O: I really appreciated what it had to offer, and it helped give me piece of mind and balance. That’s when I met Tamara—because she’s a nice person. Not because she wanted something or was trying to get you to do something.

But I do like to paint and draw and do some illustrations.

NUA: Do you still keep up with it?

O: Well I got into doing work for other people, but that took the whole fun out of it, so then I pulled back and did it for myself more. But the whole process of spending all the hours in the darkroom…it’s really hard to make time for it. And then digital photography and Instagram, at first I liked it, but the shape and design, and the comments and energy were just too much. I needed a break, so I just disabled my account.

NUA: Absolutely. It can kind’ve get to be a lot.

O: 

Yeah, I mean, I’m the designated photographer for the family. They’re usually like “Oh, it’s Owen just doing his thing.” And I want to revisit some old pictures; I have a negative scanner I don’t even use that much, but I’m planning to. I’ll probably go to AS220 darkroom at some point once I get organized and know what I’m doing.

Anyway! I went through this whole rollercoaster with it, and I realized that I needed to personalize it, and that I have to reconsider how I share.

So do I still do it? Yes. But in a different capacity.

NUA: Wow, you’ve thought a great deal about what photography means to you and how that’s changed. Can you speak to what NUA means to you, and how you think it’s changed?

O: I’m in a different viewpoint than what I was. As a student, it’s like, “Wow, this place is magical, and cool, and people are doing cool stuff.” Now, being at this place and working in this environment has been a treasure. It’s giving back, and getting to see our students experience it.

As for whether it’s it changed? Yes. It’s definitely expanded. It’s definitely offering more. But it’s still the same: it’s a sanctuary from all the other pressures, stressors, work, family.

NUA: So what’s your favorite part of the studio?

O: The storage basement. It’s a place that’s just full of stuff—stuff that we didn’t even need to purchase that has just come from the years of donations. Organizing that whole basement and taking care of it—getting to take care of that community aspect—was my way to give back.


NUA: What do you see for NUA?

O: It’s great to have consistency and good people, but it’s also good to have different good people. Sometimes you stick around too long and you get stuck in your ways, and you get stuck in patterns. Expansion, but not for expansion’s sake.


NUA: Sage words, Owen. Thank you so much for this. Any final words, thoughts, or feelings?

O: NUA is a place that has the ability to bring out the light in your soul. I’m excited for other people to take advantage of the studio and appreciate it like I do. I’m happy to share. That way, other people can have the chance to return the favor.

Owen began his first semester at RIC last month as a part-time student in their MSW program. His hope is to receive his Masters degree in Social Work within two years so he can continue to focus his career on giving back to our communities.

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College Panel 2019: Eight Takeaways

Every June, A Life After School Coordinator Mara O’Day organizes a college panel, where alumni, staff, and friends of New Urban Arts answer questions from college-bound graduates. Didn’t make it to this year’s panel? Curious to hear some insights? We boiled down the afternoon’s discussion into eight takeaways that you can bookmark, here! If you have any questions, feel free to contact mara@newurbanarts.org.

Applying
Things to remember?
Mistakes to avoid?

Remember to pace yourself, give yourself time, follow dates, and invite multiple eyes for feedback. Writing an application is weird; it’s a process that asks you to use such a small amount of space to present your voice and future plans. Be this as it may, it’s your process. Own it, use it to celebrate what makes you you, and why college is the best next step.

Moving
Are you moving out of state?
Unsure what to bring and how to move it?

Be a minimalist! Pick what you absolutely want/need and identity with your potential roommate who will bring what. Once you’re there, look around for college recycling programs, and shop at thrift stores for forgotten necessities. You’ll likely make friends who can help you store things during the summer, but if not, ask if your school has storage services.

Leaving Home
Feeling out of it?
Curious about ways to stay centered?

Find security in routine! Practice consistency in healthy eating, sleeping (when you can!), studying, and “you” time! This new freedom can be intimidating, but it’s your canvas. Remember that, and if you’re feeling blue or overwhelmed, remind yourself why you’re there, and stay in touch with friends, family, and NUA staff and mentors who care about you!

Transferring
Who can you talk to about transferring?
Where will your credits—which represent a lot of hard work, not to mention time and money—be accepted?

Practice patience, and do your research! Reach out to a school’s admissions counselors to begin a conversation about what courses could transfer—especially if the school doesn’t have an articulation agreement available on its website. Check in with your faculty advisors and academic deans to make sure you’re on the right track. And always keep copies of your course syllabi!

Culture Shock + Self Care
Will it go away?
Where do you look?
Who can help you?

Take a deep breath, know this is a normal, and remember that you’re here for a reason. Focus upon what makes you special, and surround yourself with resources (e.g. writing center, tutoring center, or counseling center), spaces (e.g. multicultural center, women’s center, anime Club, LGBTQ center, or first generation center), and people who will help you nurture this and bring you joy. Find those people who will recognize you, affirm you, and genuinely support you. They could be friends, mentors, advisors, or even professors.

If you’re feeling a little lost and need an extra hand in beginning this search, feel free to visit these the online resources:

  • The Steve Fund – Mental health resources for students of color
  • ULifeline – An online resource and hotline for college mental health
  • HealthCare.gov – A resource for identifying your local healthcare resources

PLEASE remember: if faculty, staff or fellow students are making you uncomfortable in any way (mentally or physically) – do NOT keep it to yourself. Talk to people who you trust on campus, or at home, or contact NUA. Your safety and well-being ALWAYS come first.


Food!

Where can you get it?

Be social! Be savvy! Event-hop for free food! Join clubs and organizations and encourage facilitators for club events to use their budgets on food. Or, be your own gourmand! Buzzfeed and countless social sites share simple cooking tutorials. If you’re commuting, bring some food and ingredients from home.

If you’re struggling, there are helpful resources. You can always apply for the SNAP program, consult your school’s food pantry, or check out these resources:

Swipe Hunger –  Nonprofit that facilitates college meal share programs
Food Pantries – A food pantry finder


Courses, Workload, and Advising

Struggling to manage large workloads?
Can’t find a way to study?
Not sure how to approach your professor?
Unclear about your requirements?

Building effective academic habits is a lesson in-and-of itself. You will learn not only what you do best, but how you best get things done. You may discover that you study best when listening to thrash-metal, that you have the skills to slay an oral presentation to 200 people, or that scheduling a day off between classes helps you facilitate a good workflow. You may even discover that a year abroad will give you some healthy and exciting space.

Embrace your strengths, and surround yourself with folks (mentors, professors, and friends) who support them. Don’t be afraid to experiment! You just have to look to your resources, and be in control of your experience.

Professors and advisers are human too. Their job is to help you. Don’t be afraid to chat with them (or poke them if need be) when it comes goals and expectations. Deans, counselors, family, and friends can also be of support! As long as you work to maintain motivation, clear communication, and organized plans of action, you can find your rhythm. 

Dorm Drama
How do you nip it in the bud?
Who do you go to?
What is at the heart of a good roommate relationship?

Good communication is everything! Be honest. Be considerate. You can establish clear communication early by introducing yourself to your potential roommate and taking a moment to discuss interests and habitation practices. Your RA will likely share a roommate agreement/preference form that you can use to cement this dialogue. If things get tricky, remember that your RA is there for you. You may be paired with someone who doesn’t share your background or interests, and that’s perfectly okay, but above all, it’s important for you to feel comfortable and safe in your dorm. If you don’t, talk promptly to your RA or an administrator at your school’s office of residential life.

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“A heaven for loners, misfits, the bullied…”

Thank you for being an important part of our New Urban Arts community.
‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
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Summer Programs: What Do You Need to Know?

To join us for one of our Summer Studio programs, download an application, visit the studio, or call our offices at 401-751-4556 to have one sent your way! This summer’s programs are…

Art Inquiry: The Immigrant Story
1:00 – 5:00pm; Monday – Thursday
July 8 – August 9, 2019

Fashion an understanding of the Providence immigrant story! Students will research stories of immigrants to Providence, with a specific focus on clothing as a form of expressing identity, and photography as a way of capturing moments in history. Students will document the oral histories through writing as well as photographic documentation.*
Your Application

Untitlement Project
1:00 – 5:00pm; Monday – Thursday
July 8 – August 9, 2019

Use creative making and critical conversation, to work with our artist mentors in exploring inequities around language, privilege, and power.*
Your Application

College Explorations
Wednesday & Thursday, 10am – 12pm;
Friday, 9am – 5pm
July 8th – August 9th 2019

Design your introduction to the college application process! Build college lists, write essays, receive support in completing financial aid / scholarship forms, and use creative means to gain a better understanding of your future goals and the various paths to achieve them.
Your Application

Open Studio
5:00 – 7:00pm; Monday – Thursday
July 8 – August 9, 2019

Make new things, make new friends, and learn more about NUA! This is open to all high school students (rising 9nth graders included).

* Youth will receive a $400 stipend for participation. *

What You Need to Know About the Birthday Bash


What's the Birthday Bash?

A NUA birthday party! We take this time every year to blow out the candles to another year of arts mentoring, creative making, and community building.

What's the price of one ticket?

A general Party Ticket is $35. If you wish to make an additional donation with your ticket, choose your own ticket price! Please note that this final ticket price doesn't include additional party perks, but we are super grateful for your generosity — all proceeds benefit NUA's year-round programming. All tickets will be available at the door.

Who is invited?

Neighbors and alums, mentors and artists, and volunteers and advocates who are over the age of 21. The bar WILL be CARDING, so please REMEMBER to bring your ID.

Where do you park?

Free parking will be made available at Classical Highschool's Parking lot (770 Westminster St, Providence, RI 02903). Visit the map here to view a visual of where the parking lot is in relation to New Urban Arts (705 Westminster Street, Providence, RI).

What's the "Awards Ceremony"?

Our annual Awards Ceremony is a time we take during every Birthday Bash to honor three members of the New Urban Arts community who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to our youth. This year's awards/winners are as follows:


Carole Harman Memorial Award
Carmel Dundon

Sandra Olson Award
Lois Harada

Founders' Award
Dan Wood, DWRI

How do you Silent Auction?

Step 1 - Explore the stunning collection of artwork donated by friends and supporters of New Urban Arts.
Step 2 - Place your bid on the blackboard next to your artwork(s) of interest (including both your name and phone number)
Step 3 - Keep bidding until you win! Remember to check back often as someone could outbid you!
Step 4 - Wait for winners to be announced at 9:10pm. A cashier will be stationed in front of the piece you won, waiting to accept payment and give you your artwork. If you won multiple pieces, you will have to check them out separately.
Step 5 - If you would like your artwork to be wrapped up, head to the packing station where a team of volunteers will help you.

How do you Raffle?

Step 1 - Take a gander at the 13 uniquely themed raffle gift baskets that were donated and arranged by our friends and supporters!
Step 2 - Purchase your raffle tickets from one of our roving volunteers, and accept a pair of raffle beads that’ll let both rovers know who’s raffled. Three tickets are $10, ten tickets are $20.
Step 3 - Choose which basket you want to spend your raffle tickets on, and REMEMBER to hold on to the “KEEP THIS COUPON” portion of the ticket.
Step 4 - Wait for winners to be announced at 9:10pm. If you’re a winner, hop up onto the stage to collect your winnings! Good luck!

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What Do I Ask? Not College Fair 2019


First time at the Not College Fair? Not entirely sure what to ask, or how to go about asking it? Keep calm and read on because we've assembled 13 solid questions you can use to spark some good conversation!

How long does your program take?

What did you want to be when you were in high school?

What advice would you give yourself about careers if you were a teenager today?

How do I apply for your program?

How old do I have to be to participate in your program?

Does your program cost anything?

What skills will I gain from attending your program?

What makes a person a good fit for your program?

What is your favorite story about your program?

Who is your favorite artist?

Cake or Pie?

Is this a summer program or year long program?

What do you think of this formula for career happiness/satisfaction?

Passion/Interest + Values - Skills = Cannot Achieve
Passion/Interest - Values + Skills = No Fullfillment
Value + Skills - Passion/Interest = No Motivation
Passion/Interest + Values + Skills = Career Satisfaction

Have a happy Not College Fair!
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RI Foundation Awards $125K in Grants & Scholarships to Help RI’s African American Community

Written by GoLocalProv News Team for GoLocalProv News
March 4, 2019


The Rhode Island Foundation announced more than $125,000 in grants and scholarships to serve the African-American community through its Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund.

“Providing the Black community with the resources to thrive goes to the core of commitment to equity and our vision for ensuring that the future is bright for a changing Rhode Island,” said Adrian Bonéy, the grant programs officer who oversees the fund at the Foundation.

The funding will support work rank gins from providing services to youth in state custody to workforce development.

The Grants

The grant program supports nonprofits that offer youth development and mentoring, promote the history and achievements of Blacks in Rhode Island.

In addition to the grants, the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund awarded more than $47,000 in scholarships to Black students who are pursuing or advancing a career in health care at an accredited institution and are Rhode Island residents who demonstrate financial need.

Thirteen nonprofits are sharing nearly $80,000 in grants.

AS220 in Providence was awarded $4,000 to support AS220 Youth, which strives to reach young people at high risk of disconnection and those in the custody or care of the state, through partnerships with the R.I. Training School, UCAP Middle School, Nowell Leadership Academy and the state Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The Boys & Girls Club of Providence was awarded $10,000 to support its “College, Career and Community” program, which will serve an estimated 350 young people with education, college readiness, leadership development, community-building, financial literacy and mentoring services.

The Capital Good Fund (Good Fund) received $5,000 to support its Financial Empowerment for Families program, which will include one-on-one financial and health coaching on topics including how to open and use a bank account, evaluating ways to increase income and decrease expenses, and access to health care.

The Everett: Company, Stage & School in Providence was awarded $8,000 to mentor and teach over 400 at-risk young people in the performing arts.

New Urban Arts in Providence received $5,000 to support its Youth Mentorship in the Arts program, which partners artist mentors with small groups of public high school students in a free, year-long after-school program.

The Newport Middle Passage Port Marker Project received $5,000 to support the creation and placement of a monument in Newport’s Liberty Square to commemorate the lives of Africans who were brought there as part of the Atlantic slave trade and to shine a light on the role the city played.

Providence Promise received $5,000 to provide $100 college savings incentives to encourage up to 50 Black/African American students from Providence and their families to open and contribute to a CollegeBound Saver account, Rhode Island’s 529 plan.

The Refuge Dream Center received $7,000 for ESL and workforce development classes for recent refuges who have settled in Rhode Island. The countries of origin of the participants include Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, The Gambi and Liberia.

Rhode Island Black Storytellers in Providence was awarded $6,500 to support its annual Funda Fest and Funda Story Camp at the Southside Cultural Center in Providence this summer.

The Rhode Island Guardians Association received $6,500 to support a mentoring program that will prepare Black youth and young adults for careers in criminal justice.

Mentor Rhode Island received $5,000 to support its work training mentors in partnership with the Providence Police Department Sports Academy. The organization expects to serve about 175 at-risk youth through the program.

The Rhode Island Urban Debate League received $5,000 to support the growth of its in-school debate program. The organization expects to serve more than 1,500 students from Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence and Woonsocket.

Youth In Action in Providence was awarded $5,000 to support the organization’s CORE and Immersion programs for youth leaders from front-line communities.

State Arts Council Applauds Federal Funding to Rhode Island Arts Organizations

Written by Randall Rosenbaum for RISCAnews
February 13, 2019
Contact: Randall Rosenbaum at Randall.Rosenbaum@arts.ri.gov


The National Endowment for the Arts announced today that it has awarded grants totaling $145,000 to seven arts organizations and agencies in Rhode Island. These federal grants support projects by some of Rhode Island's major arts institutions. In addition, the Endowment works in partnership with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) to ensure that the people of Rhode Island have access to the arts.

In announcing the grants, National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter said, "The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate."

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, said, "we are delighted that the National Endowment for the Arts has supported these important Rhode Island arts institutions with direct grants. These grants will help thousands of Rhode Islanders experience the finest our state's cultural institutions have to offer. In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts works to ensure that people throughout the country have access to the arts, in their communities and as part of their educational and life experiences. Every grant that we make at the state level is a reflection of that national effort to make the arts available to all of our citizens, and as such is enormously important. The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is proud to work with our federal partner in that effort."

Here is the list of grants recently announced by the National Endowment for the Arts:

Rhode Island Number of Grants: 7 Total Dollar Amount: $145,000

Alliance of Artists Communities $25,000 Providence, RI Art Works — Artist Communities To support an initiative to strengthen the artist communities field by identifying and expanding opportunities for performing artists.

DownCity Design $35,000 Providence, RI Art Works — Design To support Access Providence, a free design education program for Providence youth.

Everett $15,000 Providence, RI Art Works — Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works To support the presentation of the dance-theater work Good Grief.

New Urban Arts $15,000 Providence, RI Art Works — Arts Education To support an arts mentorship program for underserved high school students.

Providence Children's Museum $30,000 Providence, RI Art Works — Design To support the Creativity Initiative, a new program that engages local designers and artists to create immersive, hands-on design exhibits and educational programming for youth.

Rhode Island Latino Arts $10,000 Providence, RI Challenge America To support a bilingual performing arts program for youth.

Trinity Repertory Company (aka Trinity Rep) $15,000 Providence, RI Art Works — Theater To support the production of Black Odyssey by Marcus Gardley and related community engagement efforts.

"Trinity Rep is very thankful for the continued support of the National Endowment for the Arts in providing access for Rhode Islanders to this amazing contemporary play," said Executive Director Tom Parrish. "Marcus Gardley's black odyssey was a theatrical, breathtaking, and powerful retelling of Homer's epic tale through the lens of African American history that served a wonderfully diverse audience and engaged the community in a remarkable way."

Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director of New Urban Arts in Providence, said, "New Urban Arts is grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts. These funds will support vital mentoring programs for the young artists for whom New Urban Arts is like a second home."

"DownCity Design is deeply grateful that the National Endowment for the Arts continues to recognize the vital connection between creativity and thriving communities through their ArtWorks funding," said Adrienne Gagnon, DownCity Design's director. "Our NEA grant will support our 2019-20 Access Providence programs, free design education programs in which Providence youth will create projects to promote accessibility throughout the city of Providence. The teens in our programs will work together to imagine and create a more accessible future for the people of Providence."

Aaron Jungels, Co-Artistic Director of Everett, said, "Everett is grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for their continued support. Our work brings the power of the arts to those who otherwise could not afford it, and every day we see the positive impact that the arts have on young people's lives. Everett's latest production, Good Grief, explores what the experience of healing from trauma looks and feels like. Audiences have deeply connected with the performers as they share their true stories."

Lisa Hoffman, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities in Providence said, "We are thrilled to receive support from the National Endowment for the Arts to extend critical opportunities for artists working in dance and performance. This funding will advance research and promote best practices for artist-centered spaces of all types. We are honored to undertake this work alongside our international network, including Rhode Island-based programs - Dirt Palace, The Steel Yard, AS220, Rhode Island Writer's Colony and Norman Bird Sanctuary."

Marta Martinez, Executive Director of RI Latino Arts, said, "As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, Rhode Island Latino Arts is embarking in a new phase by offering programming for Latino young people at La Galería del Pueblo, our new cultural space. This grant will provide us with the capacity to support our growing list of Teaching Artists as well as to reach new audiences in the City of Central Falls, where our programming will be offered."

About the National Endowment for the Arts: Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts: The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency, supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

High School Afterschool Programs Need to Buck Model As Our Arts Studio Does

Written by Emily Ustach for Youth Today Opinions
February 6, 2019


“I wish I had a place like this in high school.”

That’s the most common phrase after an adult gets a tour of New Urban Arts. When you walk into the community art studio, you are in a wide open space filled with tables, art supplies, a collection of art books, computers with design and music software, a soundproof recording studio stocked with various instruments, a collection of sewing machines and dress forms, screen-printing facilities and a darkroom.

The studio is staffed by artists, available to help students learn how to use the materials and tools and provide support and inspiration. The studio is literally buzzing with high school students. It doesn’t cost any money to attend, and youth can participate when it best works for their schedule, as often or as infrequently as they like. The only qualification is they have to be in high school.

New Urban Arts is a free, after-school art studio for high school students in Providence, R.I. In 2016-17, we enrolled more than 500 students, with an average daily attendance of 70 students, and 142 attending 30 days or more. We have no attendance requirements. Students come because they want to be there. This model of no attendance requirements, and a curriculum dictated and driven by each student and their interests, is the antithesis of what funders want and require in after-school programs. However, with 20-plus years of providing high school programming, this is what we know to work specifically for older youth.

Out-of-school time programs for high school students need to be designed by and for them As practitioners, we need to reimagine what successful programming can look like. New Urban Arts is one potential model. In Rhode Island, the number of high school programs funded through 21st Century Community Learning Centers funds is significantly lower than those for elementary and middle school. Other states have completely eliminated funding for high school programs because the number of high school-aged students participating is so low.

STAFF MUST BE DISCIPLINED TO PROVIDE FREEDOM

At New Urban Arts, high school students want to be there; they are eager and desperate for a space that is designed for them and their developmental needs. A program and organization that doesn’t tell them what to do and how to do it, but instead one that greets them, lets them know they are welcome and makes resources available to them to discover and learn at their own discretion and direction.

I want to be clear: In order to create a space that, from a young person’s perspective, is flexible, free-form and variable, it takes a remarkable amount of structure, planning, rigor and fidelity on the part of staff. In other words, New Urban Arts doesn’t just open our doors. We are deliberate in ensuring that the adults in the studio are structured and trained so that students can have the freedom to explore. What this looks like is an intensive, two-day orientation training for our volunteer artist mentors at the start of each year, monthly meetings and a full day midyear retreat. We focus on grounding our work with youth in inquiry: The adults in the studio use questions to help young people discover who they are and work through challenges on their own. We spend time becoming comfortable with the phrase “I don’t know,” and setting expectations with our artist mentors to ensure that they show up on time, ready to greet each and every student who walks through the door. If they can’t be there, they must not only tell the staff, but also let students they are working with know ahead of time.

It is easy for adults to view the open-door nature of our studio as an excuse to be more flexible themselves. However, consistency on the part of staff and mentors provides both physical and emotional safety and security that allow young people to take educational risks, or try something new, to make mistakes and learn from them without fear of consequences.

Out-of-school time offers so many opportunities to engage students, to connect them with content and learning that breaks out of the confines of the traditional school day. Can we rethink how to engage and inspire high school-aged students at a crucial time in their lives? A time when they are eager for independence — but don’t really know what that means for them or what it looks like. They are craving experiences that feel new and exciting. They want control but are unsure about what that means.

This should be an opportunity for out-of-school time. Instead funding for high school programs is harder to find. Programs struggle to meet attendance targets because they are following the model for elementary and middle school. I want to start a conversation about high school programming that supports self-directed learning and discovery where students provide the content and structure is applied to the adults in order to provide a safe, welcoming and rigorous learning environment. Who wants to join me?

Emily Ustach is the director of programs for New Urban Arts, and a 2017-19 National Afterschool Matters Fellow.

“You understand what we believe at our core”

Dear Friend,

Today, I’m writing to ask you to support New Urban Arts. We recently published our annual newsletter. In it, I reflected on the importance of our annual volunteer interview process, which I went through myself twelve years ago.

When you’re in high school, you rarely have much control over your own life, and at the exact same time, you’re just starting to really know yourself and your own needs. This dynamic is one of the things that can make adolescence so tough. So when I walked into New Urban Arts for my interview, I was exhilarated to find a place committed to supporting young people’s agency.

The students ran the interview, probing me with questions about myself and why I wanted to be in their lives. They had a clear sense of ownership over a space meant to serve them—something I’d never seen before. I felt like I was getting some small taste of the freer world that I wanted to work toward.

Now, I am more aware than ever of the time, labor, and resources that go into the mentor selection process, and I’m still impressed by how well the process captures the most special part of what you support by giving to New Urban Arts. As a donor, you ensure that young people have a role in shaping their own educational experiences. You understand that the role of educators is to support young people to articulate and achieve their own goals.

You understand what we believe at our core—that with proper support and mentorship, young people will make the right decisions. Donors like you keep this spirit alive at New Urban Arts.

Will you support NUA with a year-end gift today to ensure that our mentor selection process—and everything else we do to ensure that this space is driven by youth voice—continues for years to come?

From all of us at New Urban Arts, thank you and happy holidays!

Daniel Schleifer,
Executive Director

P.S. Please consider becoming a sustaining donor by supporting NUA every month in the amount that’s just right for you.

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Join New Urban Arts and other leading arts organizations for the 2018 Senator Pell Lecture

Join New Urban Arts and other leading arts organizations for the 2018 Senator Pell Lecture!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
5:00pm – 7:30pm
Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island
393 Broad Street, Providence, RI 02903

The City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism presents the 2018 Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture in the Arts and Humanities: “Planning is Not Enough: Collective Action and Accountability in the Creative Sector.”

This year’s Pell keynote address will be given by Nina Sanchez (Enrich Chicago) and will be followed by a panel discussion with leaders in the Rhode Island art community including, Howie Sneider (The Steel Yard/Valley Arts District), Daniel Schliefer (New Urban Arts/PYAC) and Elena Patiño (RISCA/NALAC/Expansion Arts) and moderated by Valerie Tutson (RIBS).

About the Pell Lecture:
Established in 2009, the Pell Lecture seeds critical conversations that build from Senator Pell’s vision for our nation, inviting Providence to come together to celebrate and share its communal histories of art, culture, and creativity.

The City of Providence and its partners host the annual Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts and Humanities to honor the late Claiborne Pell (1918-2009), who represented the State of Rhode Island in the United States Senate from 1961-1997. Senator Pell was a lead sponsor of the “Basic Educational Opportunity Grants” program in 1973, renamed Pell Grants in 1980; they have been critical mechanisms for providing financial aid to college students in the United States. He also played a pivotal role in the founding of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

Setting the Stage: NUA, Your Support, and 2018’s Annual Campaign Kickoff

 

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the word ‘stage.’ Because what I’ve come to realize is that by encouraging me to step onto a stage by picking up a guitar or hanging a photo, NUA was preparing me for the stages of my life.”

Adrienne Adeyemi // NUA Alum & Board Member
2018’s Annual Campaign Kickoff


Thank you
to everyone who joined us at our Annual Campaign Kickoff event last week! It is because of supporters like you that New Urban Arts can continue to set the stage for stories like Adrienne’s — stories in which NUA is a place where a student learns, connects, and activates a creativity they carry with them beyond Westminster.

If you couldn’t make it out last Thursday — or if you would simply like to revisit just some of the conversations and cocktails of the night — check out our Flickr album to view some of the great photos that our Studio Manager Owen Muir captured!

For those who would still like to make a gift, please make a donation here.
Thank you!

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We’re Hiring a Resident Artist Mentor in Fashion and Sewing

New Urban Arts is hiring a Resident Artist Mentor in Fashion and Sewing to serve in our Afterschool Program. Download the full job description here or read on:


Dates: Oct 2018 – June 2019
(35 weeks during the school year, renewable for additional years)

Time: 15 hours per week: three days per week during the after school hours (3-7pm), plus three hours of set up, maintenance, and planning time during the week. In addition, there will be occasional evening and weekend meetings and events. 

Compensation: $18/hour
Reports to: Director of Programs
Application due: Open Until Filled

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally-recognized community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists 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.

Overview
New Urban Arts is hiring a Resident Artist Mentor (RAM) in Fashion and Sewing. The Fashion RAM will embody our core values of connection, voice, inclusion, leadership, and risk by participating in the studio life on a daily basis; creating meaningful relationships with youth; teaching sewing, fiber arts, fashion construction, and related practices; maintaining our sewing studio; and supporting the healthy organization of an open studio.

Responsibilities:

  • Attend program team meetings before studio hours.
  • Oversee the sewing studio, including maintaining supplies and studio equipment, supporting volunteer sewing and fashion mentors, communicating material needs to NUA staff, and ensuring students are properly trained to use materials and equipment.
  • Introducing new media and techniques and supporting students in learning proper technique, care, and use of studio equipment and materials.
  • Modeling authentic youth engagement, including using an inquiry-based, asset-based, and supportive approach to meeting students’ needs that promotes self-esteem and self-concept of youth.
  • Creating and maintaining a safe environment for students to develop their creative practice, encouraging collaboration, and creating a learning space clear of bias and judgment.
  • Helping to maintain a studio space that is free of trash and debris and is ready for students each day to work and create.
  • Building relationships with students and promoting relationship building between students, mentors, and staff.
  • Contributing to the New Urban Arts community through participation in exhibitions, events and workshops.

Qualifications:

  • Ability to work collaboratively with New Urban Arts’ team (including the Studio Organizer, Youth Programs Manager, Youth Engagement Associate, and other RAMs) to foster an excellent, supportive learning environment.
  • Demonstrated expertise, either through experience or professional training, with sewing and fiber arts techniques, including knowledge of sewing equipment.
  • Demonstrated success working in culturally and socioeconomically diverse environments.
  • Experience and interest in forming positive and supportive relationships with teenagers.
  • Positive and direct verbal and written communication skills, including proficiency and regular use of email communication.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, responsiveness
  • Ability to handle stress without contributing to it.

TO APPLY:
All applications must include an updated resume, cover letter, and a portfolio of 5-10 work samples. Your cover letter (two pages maximum), should include answers to the following questions:

  • How would you, as a Fashion RAM, embody New Urban Arts’ core values?
  • As this is a new position, how do you envision what this work will look like on a daily basis?

Applications should be emailed to info@newurbanarts.org, subject: Fashion RAM. No calls please. Please send your resume, cover letter, and portfolio as separate attachments; do not include them in the body of your email. PDF is the preferred file format. If necessary, you may drop off your application or send it to us at:

New Urban Arts
705 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903

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Call for Volunteer Artist Mentors – 2018

Become a Volunteer Artist Mentor at New Urban Arts!

Each fall, New Urban Arts selects roughly 15 Volunteer Artist Mentors to participate in our interdisciplinary art studio on Westminster Street, across from Classical and Central High schools. Artist Mentors volunteer October 2018 through May 2019 to work with high school students in developing a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. Arts mentoring at New Urban Arts is a wonderful opportunity for artists and educators to learn how to effectively work with high school students in a community setting.

Mentor Applications can be downloaded here. 

In the past, Artist Mentors have been college students, graduate students, and artists from the community. Because New Urban Arts emphasizes peer-to-peer and participatory learning in our studio, Artist Mentors must be able to connect on a personal and artistic level with teenagers.  

Artist Mentors are nurturing, resourceful, flexible under pressure, open to taking risks, willing to learn, and able to commit 4 hours per week during an entire school year. Artist Mentors participate in a yearlong professional development program to support their growth as an artist and educator and are required to attend two weekend retreats held in the Fall and Winter.

We also offer Artist Mentor positions through off-site work-study programs for eligible university students. 

2018-19 Artist Mentor Applications available here. To have an application mailed to you, please contact New Urban Arts at 401.751.4556 or info@newurbanarts.org.  Applications are due September 3,  2018.

“Part of the joy of being an artist mentor is being at the center of two really great groups of people — the students, and the staff — all wrapped together in the NUA community.” Artist Mentor Jason Fujikuni, 2016-2017

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I hope you will join me today in giving to New Urban Arts! Here’s why:

During high school, it was difficult for me to grasp who I was, to feel a sense of belonging, but this was never the case at New Urban Arts. New Urban Arts donors—people just like you and me—made this possible.

When I first walked through those studio doors, I was taken aback by the hustle and bustle—what we have come to know and love as organized chaos—but the more I stood there, the more I felt part of this community of artists.  

NUA always fostered a safe space for me to exist and respected my thoughts and ideas. NUA is a place without criticism or judgement. The studio culture facilitated the development of my creative practice at a pace I felt comfortable. As the years went by, I learned about a myriad of art forms such as drawing, painting, photography, and poetry. I also became involved in governance through STAB (The Studio Team Advisory Board) which helped organize events and interviewed candidates for volunteer and staff positions, including the executive director.

At NUA, the students’ voices matter; my voiced mattered. By supporting New Urban Arts, you’re giving young people a place where their voices matter.

You learn so much more than being an artist at NUA. It’s self-discovery. I came to understand my creative practice, my voice, and my sense of self, and for that, I am eternally grateful. My personal belief is to leave a place better than you found it, and so I am happy to give back today as board member of the organization.

None of this would have been possible without you who see the value of the work New Urban Arts does. I would like for you to give today so the organization can continue to nourish the creative practice of our students and—through that practice and time spent at the studio—nourish their sense of self.

I welcome you to make a gift in-person so you can see the wonderful work NUA does. You can also give on-line at bit.ly/NUA-give.

A sincere thank you from,

Ángel Peña
NUA Alumni & Board Member
P.S. Please consider becoming a monthly sustainer at bit.ly/SustainNUA

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We’re Hiring a Development Associate (Part Time)

New Urban Arts is hiring a part-time Development Associate to assist our Director of Development with grant writing, our annual campaign, and database administration. Download the full job description here or read on:


Development Associate Position Description

Start Date: July or August 2018
Time: 20 hours per week
Salary Range: $20,800
Benefits: Healthcare and vacation time; contact for details
Reports To: Director of Development
Application Due: July 15, 2018

Overview
The Development Associate is a part-time position that works in close collaboration with the Director of Development to execute New Urban Arts’ fundraising strategies, including grant writing, the annual campaign, and CRM database management. The position supports other fund development activities as needed, including fundraising events and special campaigns.

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. Since 1997, we have served over 4,000 Providence teens and 200 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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 core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts. We also offer summer programs and post-secondary advising.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:
Grant Writing and Reporting

  • Maintaining grants calendar to ensure timely submission of letters of inquire, grant proposal deadlines, and reports.
  • Developing and writing grant proposals to foundations and other grant-making organizations (particularly those that regularly support New Urban Arts), effectively communicating the organization’s mission and programs.
  • Assembling and submitting grant requests, including letters of support, proposals, budgets, artwork samples, and other necessary documents.
  • Writing and submitting grant reports (again, particularly to those funders that regularly support New Urban Arts).

Annual Campaign and Database Management

  • Promptly and accurately entering donations into database.
  • Promptly and accurately generating donor acknowledgment letters.
  • Working with supervisor to identify, document, and properly acknowledge rarer types of donations, such as matching gifts and gifts from donor-advised funds.
  • Performing regular quality control tasks.
  • Assisting supervisor in reporting on the progress of the annual campaign.
  • Conducting prospect research.

Other Duties:

  • Assisting with fundraising events.
  • Assisting with any special fundraising campaigns.
  • Assisting with other fundraising activities as needed.

Experience and Qualifications

  • The successful candidate will be able to craft funding proposals in a clear and compelling manner.
  • Excellent writing, analytical, and research skills are essential; attention to detail is a must.
  • Self-motivated, detail-oriented, and highly organized.
  • A high level of computer literacy required; experience working with donor databases preferred.
  • Ability to seek and synthesize information and communicate in a compelling and succinct fashion.
  • Strong mentoring, relational, and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability and willingness to work collaboratively in an open studio environment.
  • Organized and community-minded thinker and communicator, able to balance interpersonal needs with administrative deadlines.
  • Ability to handle donor and personal information with sensitivity and confidentiality.

To Apply
Please submit cover letter, resume, and two writing samples to info@newurbanarts.org, with “Development Associate Position” as the subject. No phone calls please.

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Emily Ustach’s Speech for the Afterschool Advocacy Day at the State House, May 24th, 2018

Thank you to the United Way of Rhode Island and the After School Leadership Circle for inviting me to speak this afternoon. 

My name is Emily Ustach and I am the director of programs for New Urban Arts, a nationally-recognized community art studio for high school students on Westminster Street in Providence.  For the past 21 years we’ve provided free afterschool and summer programs that build sustained mentoring relationships between high school students and trained artist mentors.   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. 

New Urban Arts was started back in 1997 by 4 high school students and 4 college students.  This school year, we enrolled 650 students with an average of 70 students attending each day. 

To give those numbers a little bit of context, you should know that young people come to New Urban Arts completely voluntarily.  So that’s 650 – high school students – electing – on their own, to engage in an after school program.  And 70 students each day actively attending – without someone telling them to – an after school program. 

Student interest and demand for afterschool is not new information to anyone in this room who works in after school.  But if you don’t – I’m saying this because the demand is there.    

The demand from young people and their families for out of school programs is strong.  The students are there.  They want to be engaged. They want to be challenged.  They want to experience learning environments and programs that are different from the school day.  And it is so important that they have that opportunity. 

On our year end survey, we ask students how we can improve our programs. Some of the most common response are: “You should stay open until 8pm.”  And “There shouldn’t be a break between school year and summer.”  If it was up to students, we would be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The demand is there.     

At New Urban Arts, we have been able to meet this demand because of sustained, consistent and predictable funding that is guaranteed over multiple years.  The two most consistent funding sources are the 21st Century Community Learning Center program – a federal program operated by the RI Department of Education — And the United Way of Rhode Island.  Both of these funders not only provide consistent financial support, but they also come with professional development for our staff and teaching artists, and opportunities to connect with the wide network of after school programs across the state. 

Our most recent grant from the United Way allowed New Urban Arts to expand post-secondary support for students graduating from high school.  Through this funding we now have a full time staff member completely devoted to ensuring that all of our graduating seniors have a plan after high school.  It was also through this funding that the United Way connected us to other organizations working to support young adults transition to college and career.  We were connected to RIC’s Learning for Life program and are able to provide seamless support for our students attending RIC through this new relationship.   

So the demand is there – and we know that sustained, consistent and predictable funding is key to helping us meet that demand.   There is also an opportunity before us. 

Opportunity before us – We are a National Model:

Over the past year, I have been getting to know after school programs across the country through the National After School Matters Fellowship.  There are two things that stick out to me from my conversations with practitioners across the country. 

The challenges and struggles that face us in Rhode Island, are facing other after school programs. Challenges such as:

  • Consistent and predictable funding,
  • Professional development opportunities for the field,
  • A clear pathway for dedicated staff to grow and develop as a career field,

The second thing I have learned is that Rhode Island is full of national models, leading the way in after school and out of school time. Such as:

  • The Providence After School Alliance is so often brought up as an example of a city-wide effort to support after school,
  • RIDE’s decision to allow 21st CLC funding to support high school programming – that is a model that doesn’t exist everywhere.
  • The statewide professional development and learning communities that are gathered by the ALC and 21st CCLC – they don’t (and can’t) happen everywhere.
  • The degree program at RIC in Youth Development. We are leading the way. 

There is so much for leaders and the practitioners to be proud of when they think of Rhode Island and out of school programming. The demand is there.  The knowledge and skill in how to meet the demand is there.  We just need the funding to do so.  Thank you. 

PDF

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We are now accepting applications for our Summer Art Internship programs!

New Urban Arts is now taking applications for our 2018 summer programs! 
Rising 10th – 12th graders are invited to apply for our Summer Art Internship program.  Students participate in either Art Inquiry or Untitlement and receive a $400 stipend for their participation.  For more information click here.  For the application form, click here

Also this summer, rising 12th graders are invited to apply for our College Explorations program.  This program gives students a jump start on the college application process.  For more information, click here. For the application form, click here.  

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Providence Journal: In a small state of poetry: Freeing the inner self

This month, poet Indigo Bethea shares her thoughts on the impact of poetry at various stages in her own education and career.

Tina Cane, Rhode Island poet laureate

Tina Cane’s invitation to write this month’s column spurred me to seriously think through the role of the artist in the classroom. And in that mining of my most cherished experiences as an artist and educator, I discovered three fragments of memory worth sharing: Poetry as Emancipation, Poetry as THE Cry for Help, and Poetry as Voice.

Poetry as Emancipation

1990. Me, a New York City middle school student, encountering Edgar Allan Poe for the first time. “The Raven,” “The Bells,” “Annabelle Lee,” “Lenore.” All works expressing a profound sadness, a never-ending sigh that SPOKE to me. Though I had already been writing poetry by that point, Poe showed me that I didn’t have to hide my feelings. I could be as introspective as I wanted to be. And considering the challenges in my family life, my attempts to understand the forces beyond my control, I NEEDED that. Though I didn’t know it then, writing— specifically in the form of poetry — would become my freedom. My space to explore and understand myself, my world.

Poetry as THE Cry for Help

1997. Me, a college student on a school break, teaching my first poetry workshop to African-American elementary school students in Princeton, New Jersey. The theme was identity, and I had shared some pieces I wrote on “Hair” and the politics of texture. That, in itself, opens up a fascinating discussion on notions of beauty and self-determination. Yet, the part I remember best came from a quiet, dark brown little girl, “chubby” one might say, wearing thick glasses. A Pecola-Breedlove-kind-of-girl, the kind you easily overlook. The young girl privately shows me her poem, and like “The Bluest Eye,” this piece describes the life of a young black girl who feels invisible. Except this child doesn’t need Pecola’s magico-psyche-splitting resolution. Her plan is far simpler … suicide. Had this young lady been signaling for help before? Perhaps. Perhaps the concreteness of text finally made it possible for her to be heard. And at least on that day, she was no longer ignored.

Poetry as Voice

2010. Me, a transplanted adult now living in Providence, co-facilitating a poetry workshop at New Urban Arts. As the workshop unfolds and the students prepare to share their pieces with the group, a young lady mentions that she feels nervous and doesn’t normally present publicly. I offer to read her poem, provided she stands right next to me as I do so. In reading her work, I pretend not to understand her handwriting and otherwise mangle her words. Then pretending to be exasperated, I hand her the paper and say, “You do it!” And she does! Her voice changes from timid to masterful in a matter of seconds. I didn’t realize how monumental this transition was until she later explained, through tears, that “shyness” was really “stage fright” and she had just overcome it.

Arts education goes beyond curriculum. It is a lifeline allowing for profound self-awareness, connection and self-esteem.

— Indigo Bethea is a Brown University graduate and cultural anthropologist, working as the chief operating officer for the Center for Culturally Fluent Leadership. She also indulges her creative side as a poet/writer and self-proclaimed “food artist” with HappySpoonHomeCooking.com.

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We’re hiring for two VISTA positions

New Urban Arts is hiring for two VISTA positions, and we have descriptions for both job positions below. 

_____________________________________________________________________

New Urban Arts Communications Associate VISTA

Organization: New Urban Arts

Site Street and Address: 705 Westminster St, Providence RI 02903

Phone: 401-751-4556

Email: info@newurbanarts.org

Website: newurbanarts.org

Reporting to: Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director

New Urban Arts seeks an associate with a strong interest in youth development, arts education, and innovative pedagogy to assist with communications, writing and content creation, and database administration.

Program and Position Overview

New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. Since 1997, we have served more than 3,000 Providence teens and 175 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 3,000 visitors and participants. 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.

New Urban Arts seeks a self-directed and highly motivated associate with strong written and verbal communication skills to assist New Urban Arts in developing and implementing a comprehensive communications plan. Associate will report directly to the Executive Director and will work in close collaboration with New Urban Arts’ Director of Development, broader community, staff, volunteers, youth participants, and board of directors. New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and all staff should expect to support each other’s work and participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ mission, vision, values, and pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development and arts education.

VISTA Responsibilities

  • Work with executive level staff to develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan for development, programs, public events, and general news.
  • Manage New Urban Arts’ web, email and print presence, including content creation for website and social media, creation of monthly e-newsletter, annual physical newsletter and other print publications, and cataloguing photos and press coverage.
  • Coordinate and implement public relation strategies, distribution of press releases, and event listings.

Qualifications: Computer savvy, communications know-how, strong writing and editing skills, knowledge of communications best practices, team-oriented, CRM database experience, familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite, social media, graphic design skills a plus, Spanish a plus

Start Date: July 30th VISTA Pre-Service Orientation in Philadelphia. August 2nd start date at New Urban Arts.

To Apply: New Urban Arts is accepting applications through May 11, 2018. Please submit cover letter, resume, and (2) writing samples to info@newurbanarts.org. Any selected candidate will be required to submit an application (including two completed references) to myAmeriCorps and be accepted for service by VISTA.

Download the full job description here.

______________________________________________________________________

NUA Knights VISTA

Organization: New Urban Arts

Site Street and Address:

New Urban Arts: 705 Westminster St, Providence RI 02903

Central High School: 70 Fricker St, Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-751-4556

Email: info@newurbanarts.org

Website: newurbanarts.org

Reporting to: Tracy Jacques, NUA Knights Site Director

New Urban Arts seeks a rockstar youth engagement specialist and database superstar. NUA is recruiting  a dynamic VISTA to support and build infrastructure for an amazing comprehensive after school enrichment program at Central High School.

Program and Position Overview

New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. 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.

In 2017/2018 New Urban Arts expanded programming into Central High School with the NUA Knights after school program.  NUA Knights offers over 40 after school programs to students led by teachers, staff, community partners and other nonprofit organizations.  Over 600 students participated in the first year of programming.

New Urban Arts and Central High School seek a self-directed and highly motivated VISTA member with strong written and verbal communication skills to assist in the implementation of the afterschool program, including establishing and maintaining systems for day-to-day operations, data tracking, attendance, demographic reporting, student recruitment, scheduling activities, and managing communication with students, parents, school administrators, and New Urban Arts’ staff.

The VISTA will be stationed at Central High School and will report directly to the Central Site Director. They will also work in close collaboration with the New Urban Arts and Central High School community, staff, volunteers, and youth participants.

VISTA Responsibilities

  • Assist Central Site Director in establishing and maintaining systems for day-to-day operations of an afterschool program
  • Design and implement systems for enrollment, data tracking, attendance, and reporting (including the maintenance of the Rhode Island Program Quality Assessment (RIPQA) binder, a necessary component of the evaluation process for RIDE 21st Century programs)
  • Support student recruitment efforts, including the creation and distribution of recruitment print materials and maintenance of social media pages
  • Manage communication with students, parents, Central High School administrators, and New Urban Arts’ staff
  • Schedule activities with afterschool providers and coordinate after school transportation
  • Create a safe space for students and staff during after school hours

Qualifications: General Skills, Computers/Technology, Writing/Editing, Communications, Team Work, Communications, Proficiency with MS Office Suite and familiarity with databases a plus, interest in working with high school students in a public high school setting, must be able to communicate with both students and administrators, discretion and the ability to handle sensitive information a must, and ability to work in a stressful environment without contributing to the stress.  Candidate must be familiar and comfortable using social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Bilingual candidates preferred.

Start Date: July 30th VISTA Pre-Service Orientation in Philadelphia.  August 2nd start date at Central High School.

To Apply: New Urban Arts is accepting applications through May 11, 2018. Please submit cover letter, resume, and a writing sample to info@newurbanarts.org. Any selected candidate will be required to submit an application (including two completed references) to myAmeriCorps and be accepted for service by VISTA.

Download the full job description here.

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Motif Magazine: An Interview with Storm Ford

As I sit in the recording studio of New Urban Arts a cacophony fills the small room filled with about five people all playing different instruments, all different tempos, humming to themselves songs that don’t exist yet. Among these people sits Storm Ford. She sits in the middle of the room, stringing her guitar, singing; quietly, at first, but gradually growing louder. Soon her voice fills the room, overpowering every other sound. Everyone shifts and plays in harmony to the song she’s singing. I sit in awe, never before seeing someone command a room the way she does. Prior to this, I had heard and been introduced to her talents, but seeing it in person was something different, something special.

On February 14, 18-year-old Storm Ford released her long-awaited debut project, Highest Mountain. In this 10-track, neo-soul/R&B EP, she tackles subjects of family, intimacy, relationships and self discovery, but most importantly: personal growth. I recently had the privilege of sitting down to talk with Storm about her music and how Highest Mountain came to be.

Kleo Sincere (Motif): How long have you been writing music?

Storm Ford: I’ve been writing music since I was 14. I started playing guitar when I was 12, and I’ve written poetry since I was in fourth grade. When I started taking lessons, I kind of started putting my words into songs, but I didn’t write my first song until I moved back to Rhode Island for my sophomore year in 2015.

When I was 14, I actually had something to say. The only reason why I ever wrote was because I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore, and I didn’t really know how else to say it. Like when you just talk to people they don’t really care, but when you put it to a some dope ass chords and a nice beat they’ll be like, “Oh shit, let me take the time to listen to this!”

KS: What made you continue? You started playing guitar and was you like, “This is dope” and that’s it? What made you stick to it?

SF: I always been really into the arts, whether it was like painting with watercolor or dancing on the step team, even like writing short novels. I’ve always been into that. I never was like, “Oh, I want to be a famous singer,” or anything, but when Dream Girls came out in 2006, my grandma, who was raising me at the time, wouldn’t let me see it because it was PG13 or something. So my aunt got me the soundtrack and I listened to it everyday, and I kind of just took certain textures, or different riffs and stylistic things from Jennifer Hudson’s voice or Beyonce’s voice until I created my own style. And I’m still sort of doing that along the way, you know?

I didn’t sing in front of anyone, though. I didn’t sing in front of a crowd until I was 14, I sung the national anthem. That was like 600 people. And then I sang “All I Want For Christmas.” The response that I got from the crowd when I was hitting certain notes, I liked the way it felt. I was like, “Maybe I should focus on this for a little bit.”

KS: Do you write all your music? Do you produce it?

SF: Yeah I wrote all of them. They all started out as poems. If you hear my music, if you’re really into music, you’ll know that some of the chords I use are not popular in today’s music. I produced it, but Tom at New Urban Arts (NUA) mastered it, but I was there through every second of that. “Notes need to sound like this.” “That needs to go here.” “This needs to be stacked on top of this.” Except for “Stormy Day;” I wrote those lyrics in 10 minutes, and I came to NUA and Isaiah; he was playing this funky chord progression, and then Tom came in and Daniel was there and they were just going off! I started singing the song, and I was like, “Oh shit! This shit bangs!” So we started to record live.

KS: What significance do the interludes/skits hold to you? Do you feel as though your EP would be the same without them? Would you have released the project without them?

SF: I honestly believe that they’re necessary; this whole album is my diary. I felt like those three tracks. They wouldn’t have meant as much if they had chords distracting you from them. All of those poems are about growth. You can hear it throughout all of them. And I feel like they tell their own story and they’re all milestones in the whole process of writing this album.

KS: So if you didn’t have those you don’t think that it would be complete?

SF: No. You wouldn’t have known the whole story.

KS: I see that the theme throughout the EP is that you start out with a dilemma and by then end you’re like, “I’m this bitch.” In “Notes to Noi,” you start off with “Do I matter?” and you end the song with, “I matter.” Was this intended? Or is that just how it planned out by the end of you making the EP.

SF: The whole album tells a story. It’s not in order, but I think once you listen to it you know what I’ve gone through. Or I hope you realize, whoever the listener is, what you felt. Even if you can’t put your tongue on it. For Notes to Noi, originally the first round of the chorus was, “Do I matter?” These songs have evolved so much that, by the time I started recording it I was like, “Oh shit! I do matter! Like, ‘No sis, I’m good. I don’t need to know! Cause I matter.’” You know? “Notes to Noi” is about my mother. I wrote that when I moved back to Rhode Island just because it didn’t mean anything to her that I was back. So I feel like I was like, at first, I’d call it melancholy and then I realized that those feelings were coming from her neglect. So I wrote that for her. It [the growth] just came.

KS: You said you started this project when you were 14, right? Which song is the oldest?

SF: “Highest Mountain.” It’s the second song I ever wrote.

KS: So what’s the meaning of “Highest Mountain?”

SF: “Highest Mountain” is a movement, and it’s a metaphor for any misfortune or obstacle or heartbreak, heartache or anything that’s your mountain and it makes it seem more likely that you will get over it. In the album, you hear me get over my mountains, whether it’s an ex, or my mother, or my father or even myself. But a mountain can be, being unemployed for four months but you want to save up for this big thing. You know? Whatever you’re dealing with at the time. In my upcoming documentary To The Summit, I’m asking a bunch of artists and peers and mentors and friends and family what their mountains are and how they get over them and I just hope that I can convey how music is really important and just as important as perseverance as it manifests in my life.

KS: When will the documentary come out?

SF: In the beginning of June, right before my next album release! My next release is on [my] graduation day. It’s going to be four trapsoul songs. We don’t have the title yet, but we have the cover and we have the music! I feel like there’s a lot of pressure. I want to prove to people I can take over more than one genre. I feel like this album [Highest Mountain] is really sad. You have to be in your feelings with your headphones in to listen to it, but I want to make something people can bop to!

KS: How did you feel after you finished Highest Mountain?

SF: At first, I was like, “I don’t wanna hear these songs,” because I’ve heard these songs over and over again over the last five months. Or the last four years, I guess you could say. I think it hit four days after. I was just sitting home and I put my headphones in and I listened to it from beginning to finish and I cried because. Like “Notes to Noi.” My question never got answered. Do I matter? Yes I know I matter, but I don’t know if I ever cross her mind from time to time. You know? I was at the summit once I finished the album, but I was just wondering if I was going to make my way down. It’s like pouring a full glass of water into another full glass of water. Just feeling overwhelmed and I felt really vulnerable because the things that I held back for four years were finally out there after four years whether people received them or not.

This will definitely not be the last you see of Storm Ford. Highest Mountain is a captivating body of work that forces you to confront the depths of emotion. You can find it on all streaming services. Be on the lookout for Storm’s follow- up documentary, To The Summit, and her next body of work, both of which will be coming out in June!

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i-d Magazine: brianna rose brooks makes portraits of daydreaming black teens

 

Emily Manning

MAR 15 2018, 11:41AM

At her debut Deli Gallery solo show, the interdisciplinary artist shares eight of her personal sketchbooks.

The week before Brianna Rose Brooks celebrated her 21st birthday, she opened her first-ever solo exhibition at Deli Gallery in Queens. Love You Coz You Always Tell the Truth collects Brooks’s interdisciplinary artworks, which incorporate drawing, painting, silkscreen printing, and mixed-media practices.

In the middle of the exhibition space, eight of Brooks’s personal sketchbooks sit on a table. Visitors are free to flip through these intimate and dynamic diaries. They span from 2015 — the year Brooks left her native Providence, RI to begin a degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — to the present.

“I still struggle with anxiety, but in high school I was especially socially anxious, and didn’t know how to communicate with people,” Brooks tells me over the phone, after class. “So I drew in sketchbooks and went to the studio. I made things constantly as a way to express those feelings even if I could never find the words to share them with someone else. That’s where my work started, from this place of healing.”

Brooks says she’s most comfortable in her sketchbooks, “where things come naturally, and feel instant.” Perhaps this is why her work feels at once boldly expressive and emotionally introspective. Brooks renders black adolescence through a vibrantly colorful prism of tenderness and love. Her figures dress in zebra prints and chili-pepper-patterns. We find them stretched out on blankets, braiding each other’s hair, puffing on blunts, and in moments of contemplation. They are surrounded by flowers, stars, and rainbows. Sometimes, a halo floats above their gentle green and purple curls.

Below, Brooks shares more about herself and her show.

What was it like growing up in Providence?
Providence is super-small, but there’s a big communal arts scene, especially for inner-city children. I was involved with a program called New Urban Arts for the duration of my high school experience. Local artists teach you everything from screenprinting to sound studio techniques, and you get free access to studio space and supplies. Students are involved in hiring the artists they want to share the space with, so you get really close to your mentors. I spent a lot of time there, and found it was ok to be better at drawing than speaking. I met a lot of different people at different stages of development from all over, and ended up spending a lot of time with RISD students, local DIY artists, zine-makers. Providence is a beautiful, magical little place. I feel most whole there.

What drew you to Chicago?
I didn’t want to apply to RISD and I didn’t get into the school I wanted to. I went to a college prep high school that was very sports and academics-oriented in a way that just didn’t help me. So I struggled a lot. On a last-ditch effort, I applied to SAIC in June, was accepted in July, and moved in August. I’d never been to Chicago before then. So it was a chance, quick decision to move, but it’s been wonderful. Chicago is a beautiful city, and it seems like the type of place people come to work hard. At first, I was overwhelmed, and still find it to be overwhelming at times. The social sphere of art school is not always friendly. But I really value the interdisciplinary nature of it all. You’re never limited by your media. You’re always allowed to bring other things into it, or try new things. And the print scene in Chicago reminds me of the print scene in Providence. It’s friendly and wholesome.

How did your Deli Gallery show come about, and how did you select the work for it?
I’ve been posting my work on Tumblr for years, and Max [Marshall, owner of Deli Gallery] reposted one of my drawings. I was visiting someone in New York over the summer, and was excited about the show that was up at Deli, so we went to see it. The plan initially was to introduce myself, but I wasn’t real enough. When I walked in, I think Max knew who I was, because he’d followed me on Instagram. But both of us were too coy to do anything about it. [Laughs].

I’ve definitely been in that position!
The kinda-smiling-at-one-another across the gallery type of thing. After that, we got to talking, and have been planning the show ever since. In choosing the work: I initially went into it thinking I’d be showing lots of paintings. Large-scale oil paintings that are similar to the one untitled painting that’s in the show. When Max came to Chicago for a studio visit, he looked through my sketchbooks. I posted my sketchbooks online, but I never showed them as serious art pieces, or in a critique space, until this year. People started showing more interest in their intimacy as this honest way of making. It’s sort of voyeuristic to look inside a stranger’s diary, but it feels like an exercise in trust too. Max was attracted to that, and to these other drawings I had started and not finished. All of these things I’d been putting on the backburner as a way to try and “sophisticate” my work by making it more conceptual, doing it in oil, upping the scale. I got to return to this place of making that felt best to me, and was always where I wanted to be, but felt like wasn’t good enough. It was validating to talk about and choose the works from the sketchbooks. I’ve carried many of them with me over the years. They’re like time capsules, but also strange sites of mourning. Ghosts of old relationships and ways of feeling. When they were all set out on the table it almost felt like a final resting place. In displaying them, I’m sort of asking the viewer to share that emotional burden with them, or with me.

Do things typically start for you in a sketchbook?
I feel most comfortable in my sketchbook, and I’m trying to get to a place with larger-scale works that feels similarly spontaneous and intuitive. Which can be challenging. Large-scale works — screen prints, for example — require a lot of prep and thought. Generally, I feel my process has to do with the fluidity of things. It has to flow, and happen naturally. I feel like that’s more genuine. It’s about self-trust more than anything.

Your work is so vibrant and colorful, but many of your figures seem to have reflective, contemplative expressions — suggesting that they might be thinking or daydreaming. Can you say more about that?
Most of the work I make deals with trying to express black identity and love, tenderness, innocence in the same sentiment. So they do come from this place of self-reflection. They have a lot to do with learning, too. I’m trying to express adolescent black identity in a way that’s more kind, and doesn’t write black children off as, essentially, criminals. Black femmes are objectified, demonized, and silenced to the point where we’re hardly seen as fully autonomous, emotional beings. I think these perspectives are rarely present in contemporary art. These ideas we have formed about black bodies and black identities are learned, and I’m interested in propagating a sort of relearning. I’m a very sensitive individual, and when I think about making work, a lot of it has to do with making things I wish I’d been able to see when I was younger — perspectives I wish I had access to when I was a child. So making work is about expressing this narrative that presents an opportunity for other young artists of color to feel like they have a voice within and can be artists and part of the art world.

When I first got to Chicago — which is one of the most racially segregated cities in the country — I was part of 3% of black students at the entire institution. It was really isolating. I want my work to help make others not feel so isolated. Be that emotionally or representationally. When I think about a lot of widely accepted art about black identity, it’s really serious, mournful, and intense. That’s incredibly important, but that’s not all there is to the narrative of blackness. I think experiencing that influenced my pursuit, but communal arts and resources had the most profound impact on my identity. I was surrounded by a huge group of artists diverse in age, race, gender, identity, class, status. I was put on to the reality that as a young person of color, my perspective was valuable and worthy of sharing.

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New Urban Arts turns 21!

Join us for New Urban Arts’ 21st Anniversary Celebration and Annual Silent Art Auction on Friday, April 20, 2018, 7-10pm.

New Urban Arts is turning 21, and it’s time to celebrate! The big party is on Friday, April 20.  Enjoy great music, tasty beverages by our co-hosts and sponsors Bottles Fine Wine and The East End, and food from an amazing lineup of your favorite local restaurants. Join us for our silent art auction, celebrate this year’s winners of the Sandra Olson, Carole Harman, and Founders’ Awards, and participate in our first-ever raffle!

DETAILS: 

Ticket Price:
$35 cash or credit. 
Bring your checkbook or debit/credit card for the silent art auction! Don’t forget cash for the raffle!

Ticket includes entry, open bar, and food from all of your favorite local restaurants. Get yours here: http://bit.ly/NUA21stAnniversary

Off-street Parking will be provided by Classical High School.

Can’t come? We hope you’ll consider a donation instead.

We would also like to thank this year’s event sponsors. We couldn’t do it without you! 

  • Bank of America
  • DBVW Architects
  • The Bottles Group and The East End
  • Trinity Brew Pub
  • Pastiche
  • DBVW Architects
  • Asian Bakery
  • RISD Continuing Education
  • Tortilla Flats
  • Case Construction Company
 

Location:
New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster St, Providence RI 02903.

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New Urban Arts’ Students Create Snow Day Video for the Providence Public School Department

Over the summer of 2017, the Providence Public School Department approached New Urban Arts about working with students to create a “snow day video” to announce the cancellation of school. Students Jay Nunez and Dylan Itkin were intrigued with the proposal and conceived, wrote, shot, directed, acted, and edited the video. It debuted the first week of January 2018 on the first snow day of the 17-18 school year. New Urban Arts alum Jordan Moment Also makes a guest appearance in the video is as the news anchor.

Fun Fact: the video was shot during the summer, so snow effects were added during post production. Special thanks to the Providence Public School Department and Superintendent Christopher Maher for approaching New Urban Arts with this project!

A letter from a New Urban Arts alumna, to you

Dear friends,

I am an alumna of New Urban Arts. I want to tell you a little about my experience and ask you to support New Urban Arts today. I was born and raised in Providence, RI. My parents are both immigrants; one came legally, and the other did not. I feel that I had an average American teenage experience filled with the usual ups and downs one would expect from adolescence. One exception would be my experience at New Urban Arts. I attended their programs nearly every day for four years.

I know that I’m not alone in calling NUA a second home. It was a space where I connected with some of the most important people in my life. In Tamara, I found a maternal figure who had the capacity to ask me how my day was going when my mom, a single parent, was working two full time jobs. In Tyler, I found a paternal figure who was actually present and consistent. Aixa and the artist mentors became the older siblings and cousins that I never got to know. Eventually, even my younger sister started going after school. New Urban Arts was family.

These people shaped me and changed the trajectory of my life. They personified the village that it took to raise me. Sometimes I find myself thinking about what could have happened if I didn’t walk through those doors my freshman year of high school. One of the biggest reasons I did was because I heard it was free.

If there had been a cost associated with it, I would not have gone. I was already aware of the financial burden my existence placed on my parents. The reason I kept coming back was that it stayed free. New Urban Arts didn’t ask for anything back. I didn’t have to do anything; I was welcome to just be. As I reflect, I realize it was and continues to be one of the few times I was treated like I was enough and felt like I belonged. I never had to justify why I should be there. There was always space.

As part of the NUA family, I try to give back when I can. However I’m not always able to contribute monetarily. This is why I’m writing this letter to you. I’d like to ask for your help in keeping NUA free. People, especially young people, don’t often have a space where they don’t need to prove themselves, a space where they are met with unconditional kindness, a space where being equals belonging. Please give so that another young person who might have a similar story to mine can have a free space to be free.

Sincerely,

Ashley, NUA Alum ‘05

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New Urban Arts is participating in #GivingTuesday!

#GivingTuesday, a globally recognized day championing giving back to organizations that contribute to our community, is a growing movement taking place after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It focuses on giving back to organizations aiming to make a positive impact in our communities by harnessing the power of social media and collaboration.

If you would like to kick off your #GivingTuesday early, you can donate to our organization here.

In honor of the incoming holiday season, New Urban Arts wishes you a Happy Holidays.

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RI Foundation Blog: “New Urban Arts Endowment Fund”

New Urban Arts Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / October 25, 2017 /

“For a lot of students, wherever their creative practice is nurtured and encouraged is where they want to spend their time and energy. New Urban Arts becomes that central positive experience for many Providence young people who otherwise wouldn’t have these opportunities,” explains Daniel Schleifer, executive director of New Urban Arts.

Founded in 1997, the nonprofit community arts studio on Providence’s west side offers free after-school and summer arts and youth development programs for low-income high school students—students who attend schools that have had to make severe cuts to the arts. Its core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, connects artists-mentors with students. “For many young people, this is one of the very few places where they’re asked, ‘What do you want to do? What do you want to learn?’ We strive to have everything we do originate from the interests of our youth,” Dan states.

The New Urban Arts facility accommodates a myriad of interests, featuring a screen print studio, black and white photo darkroom, recording studio, digital media lab, library of art books, and areas for painting, drawing, and sculpture, as well as areas for sewing and textiles.

The organization recruits students from nearby high schools, but finds most enrollees learn of the program through word of mouth. Strong relationships with local colleges attract artist-mentors; program alumni also fill this role.

New Urban Arts is about more than the arts. “All young people, no matter their place in society, should have the opportunity to become more creative and independent thinkers. The hours spent on creative tasks build up our young people, giving them a sense of identity, voice, and the ability to make meaning of their worlds,” Dan shares.

Just as the programs are fostering the growth of those they serve, New Urban Arts is maturing as an organization. “This endowment signals that we see ourselves as a permanent institution. And we feel strongly that working with the Foundation makes us part of a community of nonprofit organizations that have established themselves as essential to the health and vitality of Rhode Island,” Dan concludes.

 

 

 

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Cardboard Pancakes Saturday, December 9th

New Urban Arts proudly announces the 7th annual Cardboard Pancakes holiday sale!

Cardboard Pancakes will play host to an awesome group of all-star local artists, craftspeople, and makers, in a somewhat-commercial-yet-also-sociable context. Art, crafts, prints & posters, cards, comics & zines, ceramics, jewelry, objects & curios, foodstuffs, and clothing will all be here, made by really great people. 

Last-minute presents, things your friends make that you would rather buy from them in person than over the internet, unique objects, messy multiples, cheap art as well as fancy stuff… it’s all gonna be here. We hope you will be here too!

If you are an artist interested in selling your work, you can apply here.

For questions about participating in Cardboard Pancakes, please email pancakes@newurbanarts.org.

The sale will run 10am-5pm on Saturday, December 9th at our studio, 705 Westminster Street in Providence.

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Statement on the Termination of DACA

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions announced the end of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which makes undocumented immigrants who entered the US as minors eligible for work permits and a two-year, renewable deferment from deportation. Approximately 800,000 people currently participate in the program.

New Urban Arts has always accepted students regardless of their immigration or citizenship status. Furthermore, we have never collected information about students’ immigration or citizenship status, and these practices will not change.

For those in our community who will be impacted directly by the cancellation of DACA, as well as allies who want to better understand the implications of this policy change, we are sharing the following list of resources, assembled by our colleagues at College Visions.

“What do I need to know if the DACA program ends?” from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. (Note: this was written last week before Tuesday’s announcement, but is still full of useful information.)

Know Your Rights Information provided by the American Civil Liberties Union

The Coalition of Advocates for Student Opportunities provides information for undocumented and DACA college students in Rhode Island.

Dream Act action alert created by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling

Finally, a word from Nick Figueroa, Executive Director, College Visions:

“Some people with DACA status are eligible for renewal, but they must act quickly to renew by October 5th. Other Dreamers need legal consultations to see what, if any, paths to citizenship are open to them. I hope you will share this important information with any young people, educators, and youth workers you know.”

We join with College Visions in asking that our community share this information far and wide.

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Call for Artist Mentors

Become An Artist Mentor at New Urban Arts

Each fall, New Urban Arts selects roughly 15 Artist Mentors to participate in our interdisciplinary art studio on Westminster Street, across from Classical and Central High schools. Artist Mentors volunteer October 2017 through May 2018 to mentor high school students in developing a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. Arts mentoring at New Urban Arts is a wonderful opportunity for artists and educators to learn how to effectively work with high school students in a community setting. In 2009, New Urban Arts was honored as one of the top youth arts programs in the country on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, receiving the nation’s highest honor for the field of out-of-school time arts and humanities programs.

Mentor Applications can be downloaded here. 

In the past, Artist Mentors have been college students, graduate students, and artists from the community. Because New Urban Arts emphasizes peer-to-peer and participatory learning in our studio, Artist Mentors must be able to connect on a personal and artistic level with teenagers.  

Artist Mentors are nurturing, resourceful, flexible under pressure, open to taking risks, willing to learn, and able to commit 4 hours per week during an entire school year. Artist Mentors participate in a yearlong professional development program to support their growth as an artist and educator and are required to attend two weekend retreats held in the Fall and Winter.

We also offer Artist Mentor positions through off-site work-study programs for eligible university students. 

This year, New Urban Arts is looking for artist mentors in the following disciplines: drawing, painting, fashion design, sewing, printmaking, screen printing, sculpture, installation, film/animation, graphic design, web design, song writing, music, sound recording, radio, painting, drawing, poetry, mixed media, spoken word performance, digital and darkroom photography, dance, yoga, mixed media, bookmaking and textiles and, study buddies (math and science). We are not limited to these media and are open to accommodate other media in our studio. 

2017-18 Artist Mentor Applications now available at www.newurbanarts.org. To have an application mailed to you, please contact New Urban Arts at 401.751.4556 or info@newurbanarts.org.  Applications are due September 5,  2017.

“Part of the joy of being an artist mentor is being at the center of two really great groups of people — the students, and the staff — all wrapped together in the NUA community.” Artist Mentor Jason Fujikuni, 2016-2017

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New Urban Arts Chosen as Supported Cause at Blue State Coffee

We would like to extend a big thank you to our friends at Blue State Coffee for selecting New Urban Arts as one of their featured nonprofit organization! Every six months, based on customer suggestions, they choose four local nonprofit organizations to support. Between July and December, Blue State Coffee will donate 2% of their sales to these select nonprofit organizations.

How it works:
As a customer, each time you make a purchase, you are given a token with which to vote for one of the four nonprofits supported by Blue State Coffee. The donation is allocated based on customer votes. The more votes for New Urban Arts, the larger the donation!

We hope you’ll visit Blue State Coffee for a drink or snack, and don’t forget to vote for New Urban Arts!

Find a Blue State Coffee near you!
Check Blue State Coffee on Facebook!

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We can’t do it WITHOUT YOU!

Every day, with the encouragement of mentors and staff, our students are able to realize their creative ideas—turning visions and dreams into something solid, whether that’s a poem, a screen print, or the opportunity to pursue college. But it goes beyond this too. Consider this recent reflection from one of our alumni turned staff:

“The work this place does is unique and vital to the development of each individual student that walks into this space. Not one kid gets grouped into any category, and not one kid is impeded from doing anything they want to do whether art related or otherwise.

“There is so much beauty and untapped potential inside of this place, and I am so happy to have watched it grow, expand, and evolve over the course of the last 6 or so years….”

Thanks to you, we continue to grow, expand, and evolve. As a donor and advocate, you make New Urban Arts possible. Now, as our fiscal year comes to a close, we need your help to ensure that youth have access to the arts and culture programs that will inspire and enrich them as they grow into adults. Make a donation today!

Last summer, our studio underwent a major renovation, nearly doubling our program space. Now, we’re experiencing record enrollment with  500 students attending our programs every year! We are currently Providence’s largest provider of free out-of-school arts programing for high school aged youth. With increased program space, growing enrollment, and record demand for our services, your donation is important now more than ever.

As the school year comes to a close, we need your help reaching our fiscal year-end fundraising goal of $20,000! By supporting youth in our diverse communities, you are empowering the next generation of artists, educators, organizers, activists, lawyers, doctors, and many careers not yet dreamt. Thanks to you, our students show up every day and are affirmed of their identity, their worth, and their incredible ability to effect change and contribute to their community. Please give today!

Thank you,

Daniel Schleifer
Executive Director

P.S. Make your donation online here!
P.P.S. Check out a student created video here!  

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East Side Monthly: “The East Sider: Rebecca Volynsky”

Artist Rebecca Volynsky moved back to Providence and rediscovered an artistic (and culinary) community here

eAST sIDE MONHLY | May 19, 2017 | aMANDA m. gROSVENOR

When East Side native Rebecca Volynsky moved back to Providence following a half-decade stint in Boston, she found herself “returning to her roots” in more ways than she expected. She moved into a 5th Street apartment just a few blocks away from her parents’ house. An artist as well as a first-generation American, Volynsky’s proximity to her family inspired a new passion for learning the traditional Jewish-Russian baking methods of her ancestors and experimenting with new recipes. She’s also returned to her old artistic stomping grounds and built creative connections throughout Providence.

Volynsky currently works for the City and was the Fund Development Associate at Providence CityArts for Youth for two years. She recently helped New Urban Arts, an after-school arts program for high school students, plan their annual birthday fundraiser; she was a participant in the program herself during her years at Classical High School and says it gave her “a life of sustainable creative practice.”

“I don’t know who I would be as a person were it not for that space,” she continues. “They gave me ways to express myself. It’s the most welcoming community art space I’ve ever encountered.”

Volynsky makes mixed-media art with paint and collage and finds the creative process therapeutic and meditative: “I never create with a pre-planned idea of what it would look like,” she says. “It’s about the process and which materials I have on hand, and therefore it’s also focused on what I’m feeling and experiencing in that moment; it’s a way of letting go and also experimenting and taking risks.”

Volynsky’s work has been featured at gallery shows in Providence and Boston, and most recently in an exhibition in the lobby of the Providence Lady Project. She is also involved with the Summit Neighborhood Community Garden and the Hope Street Festival and is working on a public art project for this year’s PVDFest. Even with so many pursuits, though, Volynsky finds time for her culinary passions.

“The bagel-making process has allowed me to become closer to my Jewish and Russian identity,” she says. It’s “a humbling process; it takes two days, and the slightest temperature change or wrong timing can ruin an entire batch. But there is a history of Jewish families baking in this community, and baking brings back memories of what I’ve had from other local makers.” Eating and cooking with her family has also helped Volynsky learn more about her family’s journey to the United States by way of the Soviet Union. “I feel like more of their stories unfold when we’re experiencing those traditional national foods together,” she says. “It brings me closer to my heritage.”

If you had one wish to enhance life on the East Side, what would it be?
“Keep Hope Street independent and local. I deeply miss a lot of the ruggedness that Hope Street used to have. I never thought I would come back here, but here I am now, making stuff happen. I care deeply about the local community and want to help small businesses succeed.”

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Providence Monthly: New Urban Arts Keeps Inspiring

After 20 years of outside-the-box artistic education for city teens, New Urban Arts shows no signs of slowing down

 PROVIDENCE MONTHLY | MAY 18, 2017 | AMANDA M. GROSVENOR
 

When you step into New Urban Arts’ sunny, open space on Westminster Street during programming hours, the first clear impression is its upbeat, active vibe. Cheerful chatter fills the air as young people take part in myriad activities; some are stretching in yoga poses, others are drawing with colored pencils; two are painting an old sidewalk container that used to dispense The Phoenix and have gathered what appear to be materials for some type of collage. A youthful, creative, joyful feeling is all-permeating and infectious.

Each day from 3-7pm, students from local high schools are invited to New Urban Arts to pursue whatever artistic activities they wish to explore in eight core mediums, including visual arts, fashion design, music performance and recording, darkroom photography, filmmaking and printmaking. All supplies are free to use and available without asking, and volunteer artist mentors are on hand to guide the process as needed and to answer questions.

“We’ve filled up a building with as many creative tools as possible and artists who know how to use them,” says Executive Director Daniel Scheifer, who estimates about a 10 to 1 ratio of students to artists on any given day. An average of 70 students will show up (it varies seasonally), mainly coming from Classical, Central and Providence Career and Technical Schools thanks to proximity, but almost entirely from Providence.

Daniel confides that the true goal of the program is much less about art than it is about relationship building: “If students want to just come and socialize, we’re fine with that. We affirm the agency of young people.”

To the casual observer, it appears to be working beautifully. Collaboration, teamwork and innovation sprout up organically in every corner of the building despite – or perhaps thanks to – the lack of structured activities. When we toured the newly finished downstairs level, kids were cutting out pieces of fabric to create tie-dyed outfits, which they then modeled or draped onto mannequins. A group sat crowded in a little recording studio with one of the mentors, cheering on the performance of their friend who had just laid down a new track. A couple of students were by themselves, playing with graphic design software and computer games. Some were sitting on a circle of
couches, chatting as they thumbed through books.

NUA also provides after-school snacks, bus passes and homework assistance. Daniel started volunteering there in 2007 as a Studio Study Buddy, joined the staff in 2010 and moved into the president role about two and a half years ago. In 2011, the organization relocated from a smaller space a couple of buildings down, and is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. When students are ready, NUA provides support for the college application process and assistance in putting together portfolios and planning for the next stage of life – whatever that entails. “Life After School Coordinator” Mara O’Day spearheaded the recent fourth annual “Not College Fair,” with 12 local vendors on hand to talk about apprenticeships, certifications, internships, licensing and other options for students who will not immediately pursue a college degree.

Because NUA gears all of its fundraising efforts towards keeping programming free for participants and relies on federal funding for 20 percent of its budget, potential federal cuts to arts organizations are concerning. Adults who participated in NUA programming as high schoolers recall that it made an often pivotal difference in their lives at a critical developmental stage, providing a safe haven and space for their creativity to flourish. Individual support will help ensure that this sunny, vibrant space is available for generations to come.

New Urban Arts
705 Westminster Street

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RI Public Radio: New Urban Arts Celebrates 20 Years In Providence

Rhode Island Public Radio features coverage on New Urban Arts’ 20th Anniversary.

RHODE ISLAND PUBLIC RADIO | April 21, 2017

Listen Here

The Providence-based arts nonprofit New Urban Arts celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend. The organization is a community art studio which provides free fine arts and music instruction to Providence students.

Executive director Dan Schleifer said since its founding in 1997, some 3,000 city students have taken part in the organization. He said some of those students have gone on to careers in the arts.

“But actually the majority of our students aren’t necessarily going on to the arts,” Schleifer. “What we think they’re getting is the benefits of arts education that we don’t think they’re getting in our schools.”

Schleifer said program provides arts education which, he says is diminishing in schools.

“We also have an impact on the life of the city itself, in terms of inviting young people into the cultural life of the city itself,” said Schleifer. “Those young people become part of the art and music scenes in Providence.”

The program will be celebrated with a panel discussion on arts education and New Urban Arts at Brown University this weekend.

 

New Urban Arts: Celebrating 20 Years of Creative Youth Development

In honor of New Urban Arts’ 20th anniversary year, The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities, the Swearer Center for Public Service, the Brown Arts Initiative, and the Brown Alumni Association sponsored a panel discussion and lunchtime reception. 

New Urban Arts: Celebrating 20 Years of Creative Youth Development from BrownBAI on Vimeo.

Three of New Urban Arts’ founders are Brown Alumni, and it received extensive support from the Swearer Center during its early years, including a Royce Fellowship for founding Executive Director Tyler Denmead ‘98.
 
The panel included former New Urban Arts staff members, volunteers, and students; they discussed creative youth development, a recently coined term for work that New Urban Arts has been doing since its founding. This term seeks to organize a longstanding community of practice that intentionally integrates the arts and humanities with youth development principles, sparking young people’s creativity, building their critical learning and life skills, and offering them safer spaces during adolescence.

New Urban Arts College Exploration Program

About College Exploration Program:
The College Exploration program is New Urban Arts’ year-round college access program. Starting in the summer, students will have access to quality college application support and mentoring.  Under the direction of A Life After School (ALAS) Coordinator Mara O’Day, students will build college lists, complete the Common Application, write essays, and receive support in completing financial aid forms and applying for scholarships. Students will develop their voice and stories through creative practice, students will gain a better understanding of their future goals and the various paths to achieve them. 

Over the past three years, New Urban Arts students have been accepted to a wide range of colleges and universities with competitive financial aid packages, including: Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island, Brandeis University, Providence College, Mt. Holyoke, Northeastern University, Syracuse University, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Brown University. 

Who can apply?
Rising high school seniors who have been active participants of New Urban Arts for at least one year.   Students do not need to be interested in the arts or design field, New Urban Arts will work with any active student regardless of their future college plans.

About the Summer Program:         
Ten students will have the opportunity to start the College Explorations program over the summer.  Students will meet weekly on:  Wednesday & Thursday –  10am-12pm., Friday – 9am – 5pm from July 7 – August 11, 2017.  Students will also be expected to schedule a standing, 30 minute, one-on-one meeting each week with the ALAS Coordinator, Mara O’Day.  Summer activities include college visits, hearing from current college students and former New Urban Arts Alumni, beginning the college application process, starting to make college lists, and using the creative process to help better articulate dreams for the future. 

To apply, click here  to print out an application.

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Summer at New Urban Arts!

New Urban Arts is now taking applications for our Summer Programs! This summer students can participate in one of two Art Internships: the Untitlement Project or the Art Inquiry: Lost and Found.

For more information on what programs/internships are available click here.

All students are welcome to participate in our Summer Open Studios from July 10 – August 11th, Monday – Thursday from 5-7pm . Rising seniors who have been active participants in New Urban Arts, also have the opportunity to apply for our College Explorations program. 

To apply for our summer programs, download an application here.

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Cranston Herald: New Hope Art Gallery Rings in New Season

The Cranston Herald features coverage on Jeanne Risica and her art work that is currently on display at New Hope Gallery.

CRANSTON HERALD | April 12, 2017

The New Hope Art Gallery Spring Show opened on March 28 at the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center at 1070 Cranston St.

There were over 200 guests who came out to join in great night of art, music, food, free portrait drawings and art raffles.

The Spring show features over 400 pieces of original, affordable art in every style and media by 95 local, national, senior, special needs and student artists.

They also had 12 tables of small art items for sale by our artists as well. With the Spring Show, they also began their collaboration with the Jeanne Risica Fund. Risica was a well know RI artist who died in December 2010 shortly after having her first solo show in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. A total of 5 works of art by Risica were on display and on sale at the Spring Show.

Risica wish was to have her beautiful art out in everyone’s home with all the proceeds from sales going directly to her fund which supports New Urban Arts.

This is a perfect collaboration for New Hope Art Gallery which is a nonprofit gallery with a mission “To bring art to all people and all people to art.” Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except holidays. They will also begin having monthly guided tours in May featuring several artists who will talk about their art and inspirations to guests. These tours are free and open to the public. For more information about the gallery, upcoming tours or the Jeanne Risica Fund please feel free to contact Director Ricky Gagnon at 401-280-6282.

Alumni! Seeing is Believing: 20 Years of New Urban Arts’ Community Vision (Our 20-20-20 Campaign)

Dear New Urban Arts Alumni:

New Urban Arts turns 20 this year, and we’re kicking off our 20-20-20 campaign: $20 in our 20th year to ensure another 20 years! It’s been a crazy run. We’re reaching out to you because no one understands the importance of this space more than you. You have shaped it into what it is today.

There are two things you can do to help ensure our success for the next 20 years:

Make a $20 Donation!

When you give to New Urban Arts, you’re giving back to a community that fosters inclusivity and understanding to all the people involved in it. Your support provides the very thing NUA gave to you: a safe space where anyone can express their true selves, free of judgment.

Fill out our Survey!

We understand that not all of our alumni are in a place to be able to give, but donations of any size make a huge impact. Whether or not you can help financially, please fill out our survey! Thank you for supporting New Urban Arts!

20th Anniversary Celebrations

We have two events coming up to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Learn more here and here. Finally, you may have heard about federal budget cuts recently proposed by the White House. Learn more here about how they could impact New Urban Arts.

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

New Urban Arts has submitted 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.

This application can be downloaded for public view here.

This announcement is also being posted publicly at Central High School, Classical High School, and Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts.

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Providence Journal: “URI engineering students helping provide prosthetic limbs in South America”

The Providence Journal features a New Urban Arts alumni who will be travelling to Colombia as part of a team that will be providing prosthetic legs and arms to residents in need.

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL | MARCH 24, 2017 |G. WAYNE MILLER

 

 A team of University of Rhode Island engineering students will visit Colombia this summer on a mission to provide prosthetic arms and hands to residents of that South American country who have become amputees.

A $25,000 federal grant is making it possible.

“It’s a meaningful and enriching project for our students, and we’re honored to receive this prestigious award,″ said Silke Scholz, who heads URI’s Spanish International Engineering Program. “The grant also affirms URI’s commitment to community service and global studies.”

According to URI, an abundance of land mines from years of civil conflict has left Colombia with the highest percentage of amputees in the world.

“Our students will better the lives of those less fortunate—and learn engineering skills at the same time,” said Scholz. “What could be more fulfilling for a college student?”

The $25,000 is URI’s second grant from “100,000 Strong in the Americas” program, begun under former President Barack Obama to “increase the number of American students studying in Latin America to 100,000, and bring 100,000 students from Latin America to the United States by 2020,” according to the university.

The award – “Sustainable Prostheses: An All-Inclusive Approach to Designing in the Americas” – is in collaboration with SENA Centro Nacional Colombo Alemán in Barranquilla, Colombia, on the Caribbean coast.

Joining Scholz on the August trip will be Kunal Mankodiya, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at URI. The students are: James Gannon of Coventry; Cristian Witcher of North Smithfield; Laura Parra, a Colombian native who lives in Pawtucket; and Corvah Akoiwala of Providence, whose parents are from Liberia.

“It’s fulfilling to work with a team from another country whose members speak another language but face similar challenges,” said Mankodiya . “URI is truly making its mark on the world stage by reaching out to an international community that needs help.”

 

“This will be the first time I’ve traveled out of the country,” said Akoiwala. “It’s for a great cause. These are people who can’t do the basic things we can do in life. I feel good about giving back.”

“I think the project will help us grow as students and members of the world community,” said Witcher, who was born in Ecuador and came to the United States when he was three.

The mission is an example of the university’s engagement with the world that president David M. Dooley, as recently as Wednesday, has vowed to protect in the wake of President Donald Trump’s continuing attempts to prevent people from certain foreign countries from entering the U.S.

“We are not going to back off from our efforts to be globally engaged,” Dooley told an information meeting. Once again, he vowed to use all means within the law to keep URI’s international community safe while in Rhode Island.
 
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Meet Our New Staff and Mentors

Now that our studio has reopened, our Youth Mentorship in the Arts Program is in full swing! Many of last year’s mentors have returned, and a few new ones have joined us, along with some new staff members. Please welcome: 
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New Urban Arts’ Grand Re-Opening and Summer Exhibition

Join New Urban Arts for the opening of our newly renovated studio and summer art exhibition on Friday, October 7! 

A special Student Preview will take place from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.,
with the public invited to join us from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Event highlights include a ribbon-cutting ceremony as well as an exhibition of art work created this summer by New Urban Arts’ Summer Art internship students. Light refreshments will be served.

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Options Magazine: “RI Foundation Awards Equity Action Grants”

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $50,000 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations that assist and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities of Rhode Island.


OPTIONS | SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

 

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded over $50,000 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations that benefit Rhode Island’s LGBTQ communities.The money, from the foundation’s Equity Action Fund, will go a long way to benefit the nonprofits. Project Weber/Renew was awarded $10,000 to extend a program that reaches out to transgender sex workers. Youth Pride Inc. received $ I0,000 to improve its Gay Straight Alliance Program. Sojourner House was awarded $8,000 to extend more help to LGBTQ victims of intimate partner violence. Thundermist Health Center was awarded $7,400 to improve its Trans* Health and Wellness Program. GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) received $10,000 to support its ongoing work with Rhode Island organizations and agencies that address issues facing LGBTQ youth and families. New Urban Arts was awarded $3,200 for the Untitlement Project, which enables low-income youth to use writing and art to explore issues of identity including sexual orientation, gender identity. and gender expression. Finally. Flickers, the Newport Film/Video Society & Arts Collaborative, was given $2,000 for its Forward Movement Program. “These organizations work to ensure the health, safety, and fair treatment of all LGBTQ Rhode Islanders,” said Adrian Boney, who oversees the Equity Action Commitee. “This important work is enhanced by strengthening alliances between nonprofits working to address the most critical needs of Rhode Island’s LGBTQ communities, including investments in health, education, and the arts, as well as issues critical to young and elderly members of the community.”

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Call for Artist Mentors

Become An Artist Mentor at New Urban Arts

Each fall, New Urban Arts selects 15 Artist Mentors to participate in our interdisciplinary art studio on Westminster Street, across from Classical and Central High schools. Artist Mentors volunteer October 2016 through May 2017 to mentor high school students in developing a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. Arts mentoring at New Urban Arts is a wonderful opportunity for artists and educators to learn how to effectively work with high school students in a community setting. In 2009, New Urban Arts was honored as one of the top youth arts programs in the country on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, receiving the nation’s highest honor for the field of out-of-school time arts and humanities programs.

Mentor Applications can be downloaded here. 

In the past, Artist Mentors have been college students, graduate students, and artists from the community. Because New Urban Arts emphasizes peer-to-peer and participatory learning in our studio, Artist Mentors must be able to connect on a personal and artistic level with teenagers.  

Artist Mentors are nurturing, resourceful, flexible under pressure, open to taking risks, willing to learn, and able to commit 4 hours per week during an entire school year. Artist Mentors participate in a yearlong professional development program to support their growth as an artist and educator and are required to attend two weekend retreats held in the Fall and Winter.

We also offer Artist Mentor positions through off-site work-study programs for eligible university students. 

This year, New Urban Arts is looking for artist mentors in the following disciplines: drawing, painting, fashion design, sewing, printmaking, screen printing, sculpture, installation, film/animation, graphic design, web design, song writing, music, sound recording, radio, painting, drawing, poetry, mixed media, spoken word performance, digital and darkroom photography, dance, yoga, mixed media, bookmaking and textiles. We are not limited to these media and are open to accommodate other media in our studio. 

2016-17 Artist Mentor Applications now available at www.newurbanarts.org. To have an application mailed to you, please contact New Urban Arts at 401.751.4556 or info@newurbanarts.org.  Applications are due September 2,  2016.

“I first came to the studio to share what I know about making comics.  Now it feels like a second home. I have a new understanding of what it means to be a creative person.”   – Melissa Mendes, Artist Mentor, 2006-2008

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Providence Business News: “RI Foundation Awards Equity Action Grants”

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $50,000 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations that assist and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities of Rhode Island.


PROVIDENCE BUSINESS NEWS | JULY 22, 2016 | JESSICA BOUCHARD

 

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $50,000 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations that assist and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities of Rhode Island.

Grants are provided through the Equity Action Fund and the money awarded will fund services such as wellness programs and domestic violence prevention for Rhode Island’s LGBTQ communities, according to a news release from the foundation issued Thursday.

Grants are awarded as follows:

—$10,000 to Project Weber/RENEW to help to extend a pilot program that reaches out to transgender sex workers. According to Colleen Daley Ndoye, executive director, the program’s goal is to ensure their transgender clients are able to access necessary health, prevention and recovery services.

“We target both the physical streets of Providence, as well as the invisible ‘streets’ of hook-up apps. Our goal is to ensure that clients, particularly transgender clients, do not fall through the cracks,” Ndoye said in a statement.

—$10,000 to Youth Pride to expand and improve its program, Gay Straight Alliance. The GSA is a coalition consisting of youth members from other GSAs in the state and Youth Pride intends on convening with these members in monthly meetings in order to increase outreach to local gay/straight alliances and offer regional GSA programming.

—$8,000 to Sojourner House to increase the accessibility of intimate partner violence services for LGBTQ victims, to make more community-based organizations knowledgeable about and more equipped to respond to such violence, and to make more students aware and more comfortable with LGBTQ and trans issues.

—$7,400 to Thundermist Health to support its Trans* Health and Wellness Program, allowing the organization to expand its individual and group behavioral health services and offer innovative, cultural wellness programs for transgender Rhode Islanders and their families so as to improve their physical and mental health and wellness.

—$2,000 for The Newport Film/Video Society & Arts Collaborative, Flickers, which will fund its Forward Movement Program. The program offers the screening of LGBTQ films, new film appreciation and film mentorship and an annual LGBTQ Film Festival Summit.

Equity Action, guided by a volunteer advisory committee comprised of community leaders, states it is committed to enacting social change by encouraging the support and improvement of the quality of life for LGBTQ Rhode Islanders through initiatives and organizations.

The Rhode Island Foundation is known for funding nonprofit organizations in the state. The foundation says it is the largest foundation in the state, having awarded $41.5 million in grants to nonprofits in 2015 alone.

For information about the Equity Action Fund or the other funds the Rhode Island Foundation oversees or to donate, visit www.rifoundation.org.

 

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…a person and an artist, not just a grade

Please give to New Urban Arts before our fiscal year ends on June 30. In the words of one of our students, Lia, here’s why your gift matters:

“New Urban Arts displays a tremendous amount of empathy and support for all who enter, and after experiencing what is possible, I am dissatisfied with the lack of thoughtfulness and kindness outside of this place.”

Your gift will help sustain this place where young people can experience that empathy, support, thoughtfulness, and kindness.

In a space like this, young people who are constantly told that they don’t matter learn to see their own potential. Lia continued, “It is a place where I learn about social issues and question myself and others consciously. Here I can actually improve myself as a person and an artist, not just as a grade. If it were not for NUA showing me that my ideas as an individual actually matter, then I wouldn’t be fueled with the knowledge that I could make a change.”

Lia just successfully finished her first year of college, where she is studying public policy, and she remains committed to changing the world.

I say it often: art draws young people into New Urban Arts, but the biggest impacts are a result of the safe space that we provide.

You can ensure that caring adults are here to welcome students, to take them seriously, to ask them what they want to learn and what kind of support they need.

We were able to help Lia launch her life after high school, but our enrollment has grown. That means more young people than ever want this to be the place where they plan for the future.

That’s why we’re planning to hire a full-time post-secondary advisor. This is something our students have been asking for and we’ve wanted to provide for a long time.

Please give today to help us make it happen and to ensure that this space is here for the young people who need it.

Sincerely,
Daniel Schleifer
Executive Director

PS Please consider becoming a sustaining donor to support us every month at j.mp/SustainNUA

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…number one support system

I’m writing this open letter to ask for your support as we head into the summer. Please give by June 30, the end of our fiscal year. Your gift will allow us to provide our summer programs and create a vital new position, a full-time post-secondary advisor to help students with the college process or create an alternative plan for life after high school.

Your support will change students’ lives. At our recent fundraiser, a student named Lily shared her story:

New Urban Arts has been a part of my life for five years. In middle school, I had very limited opportunities to make art…. I often found myself stuck in the cafeteria with sheets of copy paper and a pencil, all by myself.

You’ll find way too many public school students in this predicament, and since Lily was in middle school, the number of art teachers has dropped even lower. It’s unacceptable. Art is how we develop identity and work through emotions, not to mention the fact that the arts improve academic learning. And for some youth, creativity is the key to their future; they can’t succeed without it. Your gift will ensure that New Urban Arts is here for them.

I remember the first time I walked into NUA…. I was completely amazed by all the art supplies that were available, there was so much more than copy paper and pencils. And not only that, it was all free. I was so relieved knowing that it wouldn’t pose a financial burden on my family. Ever since that first day, I have been a constant part of the studio, and the studio has been a constant part of my life.

Free arts education draws young people to New Urban Arts. Once they’re here, the relationships they build—the relationships that your gift will help them build—allow them to overcome tough challenges:

This place became a home, and it quickly became my number one support system. I have attended three different high schools over the past five years, two of which caused me to think about dropping out of high school. At the second school I had no control of my education, and felt like none of the adults at the school were listening to me or had my interest in mind. In a time when I felt like all the adults in my life were not on my side, NUA staff was there for me. They were heavily involved in helping me choose the educational path that was right for me. They attended and advocated for me at meetings with school and district administrators.

Too many vulnerable youth are stuck in the wrong learning environments. Please make sure they can find New Urban Arts, as Lily did. New Urban Arts is so vital, particularly for youth who can’t thrive in traditional educational spaces—students who you’d picture doing well in a private alternative school, if their parents could afford it.

Instead of telling young people what to do, we ask them, “What do you want to learn?” We trust them, and in turn, they trust us. And when you earn their trust, young people will ask for the help they need. Then, together, you can do great things:

I don’t know where I would be if NUA wasn’t here—I probably would have dropped out of high school. I’m so grateful to have this be a part of my life…. I’m happy to say, I’ve been accepted to a few colleges and I look forward to graduating.

Your gift to New Urban Arts by June 30 will support our summer programs and allow us, for the first time, to hire a full-time post-secondary advisor.

Summer students spend four hours a day with mentors, building the relationships that are central success stories like Lily’s. As you may know, we are renovating this summer, so we must temporarily relocate our offices and run programs at partner organizations, driving the cost of summer programs higher than ever. However, with your support, we will still be able to offer a full range of summer learning programs.

Meanwhile, more young people than ever are asking for the kind of post-secondary advising we provided to Lily. New Urban Arts is their home, and they want it to be the place where they plan their futures. Right now, we’re not in a position to provide this for every student who asks, but you can get us there.

Frankly, some funders question our approach. Perhaps they don’t think our students can handle the freedom of being asked, “What do you want to learn?” But over 19 years, hundreds of youth like Lily have shown us that it works. That’s why we need people like you—people who believe that all youth, regardless of background, deserve a space they can trust and that trusts them.

We can’t do it without it you. Please give today.

Sincerely,
Daniel Schleifer
Executive Director

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New Urban Arts is Hiring – Join our Team!

On June 24, our beloved Director of Development, Connie Colvin, will be moving on to new opportunities in New York City. New Urban Arts is now looking for a new Director of Development. In addition, we are hiring for two new positions: a Life After School Coordinator to serve as a post-secondary advisor to our students, and a Resident Artist Mentor in Music Production.

Follow these links to apply, and please forward to anyone who you think would be a great candidate:
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Hiring a Director of Development

On June 24, our beloved Director of Development, Connie Colvin, will be moving on to new opportunities in New York City. New Urban Arts is now looking for a new Director of Development.

Download the full job description here, or read on:

Director of Development
Position Description

Start Date: August 15, 2016 
Time: 40 hours per week
Salary Range: $48,000 – $52,000, dependent on experience
Benefits: Excellent healthcare and dental plan.
Reports To: Executive Director
Application Due: July 8, 2016

Overview
New Urban Arts seeks a candidate with fundraising experience to work closely with our executive director and board of directors to design and implement robust fund development strategies. The ideal candidate is passionate about equity in education, youth development, arts education, and innovative pedagogy.

About New Urban Arts
New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. Since 1997, we have served over 3,000 Providence teens and 175 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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 core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts. We also offer summer programs and post-secondary advising.

Responsibilities:
Fundraising Strategy:

  • Work with board and executive director to develop New Urban Arts’ annual fund development plan, including annual fund appeal, special campaigns, events, earned income, grants, and sponsorships.

Fundraising Campaigns and Events:

  • Work to ensure that New Urban Arts meets its fundraising goals from our large base of annual individual donors.
  • Cultivation of new donors and growth of our donor base.
  • Work with the board of directors and the executive director to coordinate the Annual Fund Campaign, including mailings, personal asks of major donors, and other practices.
  • Manage relationships with New Urban Arts’ donors ensuring that donors are promptly and appropriately acknowledged, informed of the impact of their donations, and provided frequent opportunities to experience first-hand the impact of their gifts.
  • Develop and maintain ongoing relationships with major donors.
  • Coordination and promotion of fundraising events and other events connected to fundraising, such as cultivation events.
  • Manage the implementation of the fundraising features of our Salesforce database and supervise the staff member responsible for data entry and gift processing.
  • Regularly reporting to the board and executive director on the progress of fundraising efforts.

Foundation Grants, Corporate Relationships, and Sponsorships:

  • Work to ensure that New Urban Arts develops and maintains strong relationships with funders locally and nationally.
  • Track due dates of proposals and reports for grants.
  • Support management of ongoing relationships with institutional funders including, but not limited, progress reports and site visits.

 Communications:

  • Work with the communications committee of the board of directors to support our communications strategies.
  • Work with staff, board, youth, and other members of the New Urban Arts community to coordinate the design and distribution of marketing materials.
  • Supervise the staff member responsible for New Urban Arts’ web presence, including e-news and website.
  • Contribute to New Urban Arts’ social media presence.

New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and all staff should expect to support each other’s work and participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ mission, vision, values, and pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development and arts education.

 Qualifications:

  • A commitment to New Urban Arts’ mission and values.
  • An interest in working in a shared office space where staff are accessible to the high school students on whose behalf we work.
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
  • Minimum of five years fundraising experience, including donor development, relationship cultivation, and making personal asks, or comparable experience.
  • Strong project management skills with the ability to independently manage complex, multifaceted projects and meet deadlines.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to independently manage multiple projects and deadlines.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, and strong collaborative skills.
  • Experience with databases, email marketing platforms, Microsoft Office, and WordPress.

TO APPLY
E-mail resume, cover letter (two pages maximum), and writing sample (two pages maximum)  to info@newurbanarts.org, subject: Director of Development. No calls please. Send your resume, cover letter, and writing sample as three separate attachments; do not include them in the body of your email. PDF is the preferred file format.

 

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New Urban Arts receives $100,000 grant from United Way

New Urban Arts has been awarded a grant by United Way of Rhode Island in the amount of $100,000 to support our core after-school program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, and our post-secondary advising program, A Life After School. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to turn the Life After School Mentor into a full-time position, allowing us to provide more comprehensive support than ever to our young people as they prepare to graduate from high school.

Check out more info on the United Way website here.

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Students at the Center Blog: “#RealTalk: Providence Students Raise Their Voices”

Students at the Center Article on #RealTalk Forum, a discussion between students and educators on how to make education more meaningful, from changing the curriculum to expanding the arts.


#REALTALK FORUM | MAY 6, 2016 | MEGAN HARRINGTON

 

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in April, over 100 high school students gathered at the Providence Career and Technical Academy cafeteria, talking with friends, setting up tables with sheets of paper and markers, and manning sign-in tables. They were members of the Providence Youth Caucus (PYC) — a coalition of Providence’s seven youth organizations— gathering to develop solutions to improve education in their public schools, which they would then share with relevant policymakers to advocate for change.

An entirely student-led event, the PYC Superintendent’s Forum began a little after 4pm, when student speakers took the microphone at the front of the room to lay the groundwork for the event. “Your thoughts and voices matter,” they said. “We’re going to take all of your ideas and present this data to the superintendent and city officials so we can make a difference.”

Key school leaders — including Providence Public Schools Superintendent Chris Maher — attended the event to hear the students’ insights.

After a round of icebreakers, the students quickly broke out into nine tables to discuss hot topics in education such as personalized learning, school culture, discipline, student voice, and the arts. Two facilitators — a conversation leader and a note-taker — led the discussions at each table, while the other participants rotated to a new topic table every 10 minutes.

The first table I sat down with discussed the value of arts education, the strengths and weaknesses of Providence high school art programs, and what an ideal arts education would look like.

Most students at the table felt arts programs were critical for students to develop new skills, express themselves creatively, and explore possible career paths. One student excitedly shared his experience in his school’s engaging graphic design class, but most students felt their schools’ arts programs were lacking or even for show. One young woman said she took a calligraphy class that lacked necessary pens and ink until a month into the semester, but “it was an arts class, so it counted.” Some students lamented that art studios were eliminated to make space for engineering labs, or arts funding was cut to continue funding sports. And, others commented, because higher standardized test scores meant more school funding in general, arts programs were often cut in favor of those courses that incorporated standardized testing. Overall, students seemed to be in agreement — improved arts programs were necessary at their schools.

At a neighboring table, students contested the importance of student voice in the classroom.

Most students agreed student voice was not being adequately heard in their schools. “If it was being heard, many of these changes would have already been made,” one young woman reasoned.

But why wasn’t student voice being heard? Some said the burden was on students. “We should make more of an effort to speak up, organize in our schools, and discuss these issues with our principals,” one young man commented. “But there are some students who are speaking up but aren’t being heard,” said another. Others in the group agreed. Veteran teachers were unaccustomed to incorporating student voice and made students feel like the classroom dynamic was adversarial. “Even student government can’t go in front of school leaders and be taken seriously,” one student chimed in.

And where did students feel their voice was most lacking? Curriculum issues struck a chord with many, leading to an animated discussion about non-white history. “The last time I heard about slavery was in 6th grade; all I’ve learned about since then are the ‘World Wars,’” noted one young woman. “Black History Month is the only time I learn about black history,” chimed in another student. Others expressed their frustration with the focus on European history: “Why can’t we have an AP African History or an AP South American History?” one student questioned. In contemplating solutions to this important issue, the Providence students concluded that it was important to have a diverse teaching staff to bring varying perspectives to history.

After students had visited a number of tables, the team facilitators shared the ideas collected over the hour with entire conference. Everyone cheered after each presentation, giving extra applause when they felt particularly inspired.

Like many of the students that night, I left feeling invigorated and inspired, excited to see where their discussion would lead in the future. The Providence Youth Caucus is scheduled to formally present their data from the Forum to the district’s school board and Superintendent Maher on July 27, 2016. Stay tuned for the results of their presentation!

 

Original Article
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Now Accepting Student Applications for 2016 Summer Programs

Are you a high school student or do you know one who is interested in being involved with New Urban Arts this summer? New Urban Arts is accepting applications for our Summer Art Internships. Youth receive a $400 stipend for their participation as well as lunch, snacks, and Riptiks. Applications are due Tuesday, May 17, so download one now!

For a complete overview of the summer programs, check out our 2016 Summer Program Menu. Blow are brief descriptions of our programs:

PLEASE NOTE, THERE IS A MANDATORY ORIENTATION FOR ALL SUMMER PROGRAMS ON FRIDAY, JULY 8, 2016.

ART INQUIRY
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Thursday July 11 – August 12 
Working with artist mentors Kah Yangani and Vuthy Lay, create new work around this summer’s theme: Dislocation

UNTITLEMENT PROJECT
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Friday, July 11 – August 12
Work with artist mentors Diane Exavier and Eric Axelman to explore inequities around language, privilege, and power.

METALWORKING STUDIO AT THE STEEL YARD 
10:00-3:00pm, Monday -Thursday July 11 – July 22 
This Metalworking Course will be an introduction to creative industrial skills including welding, oxy-acetylene torch cutting, fabrication, blacksmithing, and grinding. After completing team exercises and samples demonstrating aptitude with each tool, participants will group design and fabricate elements of NUA’s new stairwell railing.

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Countdown to the annual event: Today’s the Day!

Check out Providence Community Acupuncture!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Health and Wellness Sponsor, Award Winner

Providence Community Acupuncture is receiving the Founders’ Award, which recognizes organizations and businesses who maintain an ongoing commitment to both New Urban Arts and youth arts education.  Providence Community Acupuncture is part of the community acupuncture movement.  The organization treats multiple people in a communal setting, making low-cost treatments possible for all Rhode Island residents.

We interviewed Cris Monteiro from PCA and asked her to share with us how she got started with New Urban Arts. Here’s what she said:

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
I first heard about NUA around the time I moved here in 2000. I met this really great couple (jack and Sandy Richter) who invited me to a fund raiser at the old train station building. That was a long time ago, and I’m glad to be just down the street from NUA now, and to be meeting many of the staff and mentors and kids.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
PCA’s (and my) involvement has really just been active since we moved up here last fall. I have known about NUA and followed some of the growth and changes that have happened. Being just down the street has already helped to bring closer connection to NUA. I’m excited about building community in general and with NUA specifically.

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
NUA’s core values as a youth program includes risk; which seems to be not just about risking with the creative process, or in being outside your comfort zone, but in connecting with others and being part of a group process. Risk taking in all of these ways I think pushes people to really learn about who they are and how to grow.  I love that the programming is year round and free. 

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
The last adventure I chose to go on started about 9 years ago when I decided that boutique acupuncture practice wasn’t what I wanted to do. I’m still on that adventure which has resulted in a lot more affordable acupuncture happening here in Rhode Island, as well as around the North America. The adventure has included growing a big damn clinic together with amazing people, including all of our patients, starting an international multistakeholder cooperative that has more patient members than acu-punks or clinics! starting an affordableacupuncture school, putting on national conferences every year, and being part of what has been dubbed the “quietest revolution.” Acupuncture can (and IS changing) the world!

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
I really dig NUA’s focus on creativity, leadership, inclusion, community and youth. When you step into their space you can feel a really feel life buzzing around; when you talk to people involved with the programs at NUA they’re excited. NUA is doing great work.

Visit PCA’s website here.
 
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International Journal of Education: “The Future of Homegrown Teaching Artists?”

This article, by founding executive director Tyler Denmead and alumni Hannah Winkler, appeared in the International Journal of Education & the Arts.


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATION & THE ARTS | APRIL 14, 2016 | TYLER DENMEAD AND HANNAH WINKLER

Volume 17 Number 10 April 14, 2016

Citation: Winkler, H., & Denmead, T. (2016). The future of homegrown teaching artists? Negotiating contradictions of professionalization in the youth arts and humanities field. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(10).

Abstract
Youth arts and humanities programs are providing invaluable learning opportunities for youth participants to become what we term “homegrown teaching artists.” After several years of artistic and pedagogic development, these alumni teach youth in the same programs where they were once participants. This phenomenon has emerged at the same time that the teaching artist field has become professionalized with new credentialed pathways through higher education. This simultaneity presents a paradox. Professionalization introduces formal standards and barriers to entry into the teaching artist field at the same time that teaching artists train youth who are racialized and low-income to become teaching artists through informal pathways in youth arts and humanities programs. In other words, the professionalization of the field is at odds with its aspiration to expand and sustain youth’s right to cultural self-determination. We address this contradiction by investigating the pathways and practices of three homegrown teaching artists before turning to implications for policy and practice.

 

Original Article
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Countdown to the annual event: 1 day left!

Meet Doug Best!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Board Member, Award Winner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Providence Journal: “Students in Providence discuss making education more meaningful”

Providence Journal Article on #RealTalk Forum, a discussion between Providence students and educators on how to make education more meaningful, from changing the curriculum to expanding the arts.


PROVIDENCE JOURNAL | APRIL 13, 2016 | LINDA BORG

 

The folks at New Urban Arts are very very busy. On top of their rigorous, year-round educational arts programming and workshops for young and emerging artists, they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary AND expanding their space. New Urban Arts’ diverse audience, staff, and programming is poised to greatly benefit from this new expansion.

New Urban Arts’ basement addition to their building in downtown Providence is the product of many individual and organizational efforts. After receiving a grant from the state of Rhode Island through the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts in 2015, and matching funds from local and regional donors, New Urban Arts was able to plan and begin their expansion. Daniel Schleifer, executive director of New Urban Arts, pointed out that all stakeholders were involved in the design process of the new space, “…[we received] feedback from students, volunteer artist mentors, staff, the board of directors and key organizational partners.”

The basement expansion at New Urban Arts brings new opportunities to students and emerging artists at a time when the organization is focusing on innovative ways to serve the ever-diversifying Providence community. In addition to their new digital media lab, “The biggest thing is that we now have a dedicated space in the building for music. Music and music production has been a huge area of interest for our students for years, but we’ve never had a place where we could meaningfully offer that educational experience.”

According to Daniel, this new expansion will be pivotal for the continuation of the New Urban Arts mission, “We’re helping to cultivate an atmosphere in Providence where younger artists of color feel more ownership of the arts scene and are more likely to approach cultural gatekeepers with proposals for shows or work. On the other side, hopefully, we’re creating circumstances where those kind of gatekeepers are going to be more open to those young people.”

New Urban Arts will celebrate their 20th anniversary and grand opening of the new expansion October 7 at 705 Westminster Street.

Original Article
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Countdown to the annual event: 2 days left!

Meet Paul Tavarez!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Alumni, Former Mentor, Current Board Member, Award Winner

Paul grew up in Providence living in most neighborhoods in the city. He attended after school programs such as SummerBridge (now Breakthrough Providence) and New Urban Arts. These programs helped him excel and eventually led him to pursue education outside of the state. After living in China for a year and a half he returned to Providence in 2013. In the past couple of years he has involved himself with various movements from ending police brutality to prison abolition. He currently works for the Providence Student Union as an organizer and is a recent addition to the New Urban Arts board. As a member of the New Urban Arts alumni community he has worked with his peers to create spaces for alumni engagement. He continues his creative practice in dance, poetry, and performance. 

We interviewed Paul and asked him to share with us how he got started with New Urban Arts. Here’s what he said:

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
My friend Ricky and I went to the open house because Ricky’s sister was a student at the time and we were interested. It was a fall open house in 2003, there were candles in white paper bags lining the side walk, edible arrangements were passing out chocolate covered strawberries, and Jessie was taking pictures of people posing in the display window from the sidewalk. I remember walking in and signing up for pretty much every medium in the building.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
It would be 13 years this fall. Although I wasn’t living in Providence as a permanent resident for a decade so involved is a loose term. I like to think I float in and out as needed. 

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
I think its the understanding and practice of treating young people like anyone else you’re trying to help. There is this soul to the organization that lacks all pretenses and in that moment of walking into the studio and realizing there are no grades or classes, no artificial structure,  that everyone there is trying to get better at whatever it is there doing. For me it’s a mixture of familiarity and mystery. I always feel welcome but there is always something new on the wall or a new member of the community. And this feeling of comfortable risk taking it seems like the walls were painted with it.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
My last adventure was to the corner store. Now I had just moved into the neighborhood and it was the first good day in a while so I walked. On my way through the side street I notice a cat was following me. Cute, short-haired, black with white paws, really friendly, it rubs its face on me and as we’re walking it meows. Being a cat loving person, I knew this cat wanted food. So I’m like, okay you want something to eat you have to follow me to the store. With the store not being far I wasn’t surprised it followed me. I walk in and Bodega bro #1 didn’t say anything about the cat coming in so I went with. Went over to the snack section got my Little Debbie’s, walked around looking for cat food….there was no cat food so I got my homie Charles (the cat) a variety of snacking options. There was jerky, crackers, cheese, the works. I was really feeling my generosity and Charles was a stray so why not? Anyway I’m buying our snacks and Bodega bro #2 comes out the shadows as soon as Charles lets out the most annoying “I-want-food-right-now meow” ever. Bro #2 starts yelling about no pets in the store and I’ve already abandoned Charles thrice by the time he walks over to me. Bodega bro #1 is just snickering while I’m paying and Charles straight up jumps from the floor to the counter onto my shoulder and licks Bodega bro #2’s face. He lost it, punches Charles in the face, but like a smooth criminal he just switches shoulders and hops off me. I grab my snacks and just walk out as the be-licked merchant whines about allergies. On the way back home I stop where I met up with Charles to give him his just rewards and as soon as I put my snacks down about thirty other cats showed up and started begging for food. I look down at Charles and he’s eating my honey bun

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
I support New Urban Arts because for all the years I have known the organization it has supported and fed my soul, body and mind. I’ve made friends and lost friends in this space. Felt joy and sorrow, created beauty and have trashed many a project within the walls of this organization. At this point it feels less like supporting an organization and more like feeding a part of myself.

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Countdown to the annual event: 3 days left!

Meet Elia Gurna!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Former Executive Director (2013-2014), Award Winner

Elia is an an artist, an activist, a youth worker and a mother. She was born in Queens, NY and is of mixed heritage – her mother immigrated from Austria and her father from Pakistan. Elia grew up in Queens, Vienna, and Karachi.

Elia’s work has been included in exhibitions annually since 2001, including galleries and other spaces in New York City, Beacon, NY and Philadelphia, as well as the Queens Museum of Art. She is part of the music and poetry performance collaboration einLab, which was featured on Columbia University’s WKCR’s Live Constructions radio program and has performed live in various gallery and museum settings.

As part of her mission to create youth led social change art projects, Elia participated in Theater of the Oppressed trainings and became a Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory facilitator in 2011. She has since facilitated this work for Occupy activists and others.

Elia has worked in youth programs for over 15 years in both the United States and Europe. In New York, she founded and directed Art Without Limits, a program of Development Without Limits (DWL), which provided out of school time art experiences for young people. As part of her work with DWL, Elia also facilitated dozens of professional development workshops on onsite coaching for youth workers and educators on a range of topics including positive discipline and child and youth development.

In addition to her work in art, activism, and youth work Elia has taught German language courses at the university level. Her favorite job yet was being a bike messenger in Vienna, Austria.

Elia holds a B.A. in German and Visual Arts from Columbia University and an MFA in Painting and Sculpture from Queens College, CUNY. 

We interviewed Elia and asked her to share with us how she got started with New Urban Arts. Here’s what she said:

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
I first heard about New Urban Arts through my husband Eric, when he came to visit the program in 2009. New Urban Arts was included in a report on best practices in 21st century afterschool programs. As a teaching artist, I had often dreamt out loud about a storefront community art studio for young people that exemplified my vision of art as the practice of freedom. Eric called me from Providence and said – “that place you talk about – it exists!”

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
I didn’t really become deeply involved with New Urban Arts until I came on as Executive Director in 2013. Before that my relationship had been virtual – visiting the “exchange” section of the website to use some of the guides and activities with kids and educators and artists I was working with in New York, and then in 2012 my husband Eric interviewed the Executive Director Jason Yoon and the Director of Programs Sarah Meyer for his podcast “Please speak Freely” and we made a trip to Providence to do that. So in a sense I was learning from this community of artists before I had even really met them personally!

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
New Urban Arts stands out to me as a place created by youth for youth and as an organization that embodies its founding principles, vision, and values.  While firm in content, New Urban Arts is flexible in form – new young people join the studio every year and get to engage democratically in creating the environment that is best for their development.

The Bauhaus painter and artist Paul Klee said, “Art makes the invisible visible.” And this is what I love about New Urban Arts the most – with just a little creative space and freedom, young people show us how wonderful, smart, and capable they already are, and we as adults are able to take heart and appreciate how much we need them, their good ideas and their energy to create the just and beautiful world we all want.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
The great adventure I am currently on involves navigating Los Angeles (which is the size of Rhode Island!) – so there is a lot to see and learn and take in – and the other great adventure is raising two kids while trying to make art! Ha! Lately though, reading about the refugee crisis and all the war and displacement and destruction in the world, I have been grateful for just how unadventurous my life is, and that I can go on adventures by reading books! My latest book adventure has led me to the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh – wondering how to create peace in the world by living mindfully. I recommend his book: Peace is Every Step. I think that peace is an adventure worth going on.

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
I support New Urban Arts

– Because it gives me hope for a cooperative, kind, beautiful world,
– Because I believe in art as the practice of freedom,
– Because I believe that everyone is an artist,
– Because I am counting on the community of young people to say what it needs and wants better than one person (in this case me, but really I mean any one person who happens to have the means or power to take the microphone), – and because no one should ever feel invisible or alone.

So I will end with the words of someone else who says it better than me
– Josef Beuys, whose idea of social sculpture has been a big influence:

“Here my idea is to declare that art is the only possibility for evolution, the only possibility to change the situation in the world. But then you have to enlarge the idea of art to include the whole creativity. And if you do that, it follows logically that every living being is an artist – an artist in the sense that he can develop his own capacity. And therefore it’s necessary at first that society cares about the educational system, that equality of opportunity for self-realization is guaranteed.”

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CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE AT NEW URBAN ARTS ON FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2016, 7-10PM: 19TH ANNUAL EVENT

On Friday, April 15, 2016, New Urban Arts is hosting our 19th annual fundraiser! At New Urban Arts, young people have the flexibility to choose their own adventure. Now its your turn; choose to help us provide arts education for the youth of Providence by joining us for fun, food, music, and art.

PRICE
In Advance: $30. 
At the Door: $35 cash, $40 credit. 

Bring your checkbook or debit/credit card for the silent art auction!

To purchase tickets visit: bit.ly/2016eventtix

Cost includes entry, open bar, and food featuring all of your favorite local restaurants. Click on “See More” for more information about our sponsors!

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS:

-Bank of America

-Donoghue Barrett and Singal

-All Saint’s Memorial Church

-Union Studio

-Aaronson Lavoie Streitfeld Diaz & Co., P.C.

FOOD AND DRINK PROVIDED BY:

-The Narragansett Brewing 

-Sin Desserts

-Providence Pizza Company

-Small Point Café 

-Red Fez

-El Rancho Grande

-Loie Fuller

-Julian’s

-Olga’s 

-Whole Foods

-Blaze Eastside

-Bucket Brewery

-Pastiche

-Revival Brewing Company

-The Grange

-Fertile Underground

-And more!

Interested in being a sponsor? Learn more here:
http://bit.ly/SponsorNUA2016

Meet us at the proverbial fork in the road, New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster Street, Providence, RI.

Off-street parking generously provided by Classical High School, Westminster St, Providence, RI 02903

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Countdown to the annual event: 4 days left!

Meet Daniel Schleifer!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Executive Director

Daniel Schleifer received his B.A. in Ethnic Studies from Brown University in 2004. He joined the New Urban Arts community in the fall of 2007 to pilot our Studio Study Buddy program, which combines academic tutoring with the structure and values of New Urban Arts’ Youth Mentorship in the Arts Program. Daniel is also a founding member, Sousaphone player, and composer in the What Cheer? Brigade, an 18-member brass band that tours internationally while remaining a local institution. In 2011, he received the prestigious MacColl Johnson fellowship in music composition from the Rhode Island Foundation.

Before coming on staff at New Urban Arts, Daniel worked as a policy researcher, organizer, grant writer, and lobbyist for Open Doors RI (formally the RI Family Life Center). In 2006, he served as field director of the Rhode Island Right to Vote Campaign (a project of Open Doors), a successful effort to amend by referendum, the Rhode Island Constitution, to extend voting rights to individuals on probation and parole.

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

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
I first heard about NUA from Andrew Oesch who was my roommate at the time and he told me that there was a place where education was happening for young people and that they had a say in the education they were getting.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
I have been involved in the 2007-2008 school year when I was the first Studio Buddy.

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
To me the biggest thing is, we work so hard to create an environment that is safe and yet gives young people as much freedom as possible to determine their own educational experience.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
I’ll talk about the adventure I’ll be going on later today! I’m going to New York City to play some new horn parts for the band Blondie which is a pretty crazy and exciting opportunity. The thing that makes this an adventure is that we’ve been communicating with them a lot leading up to this but they haven’t really given us much clarity about exactly what they want from us when we get out there. They sent us a track, and some ideas then said “But really just come up with whatever you want, we’ll just figure it out in the studio!” But the way that I’m used to working in the studio is to have a very clear plan, because “What Cheer” (Dan’s band) is such a huge band we can end up wasting a lot of time and money, because in the studio time is literally money in the studio.

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
There aren’t enough places in the world where anyone gets to feel free. In particular young people of low income, and more specifically young people of color. NUA is an important exception to that dynamic. That’s why I support NUA. It’s not just about what we provide and what it does for young people. I consider it a real privilege to be here because I learn so much about how the world could be or should be and about dynamics between people and about how people learn particularly young people.

If you were in High School, What Projects would you work on while at New Urban Arts?
Thinking back on my own High School experience, I think I would be in the sewing area patching up clothes, making new clothes, and making giant shark costumes. I would also be making a lot of friends. It’s funny because a lot of the friends I still have from High School are people that I was creative with in some kind of way, and New Urban Arts would have likely been the center of my High School career as tit is for a lot of the kids who come here.

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Countdown to the annual event: 5 days left!

Meet Deb DeCarlo!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Vital Community Member

Deb DeCarlo was born and raised in Providence, RI. Deb received a BS from the University of Rhode Island and a MA in Administration from Providence College. Since then, Deb has worked in the Providence Public School Department for 29 years as a teacher and then the principal of Carl. G Lauro Elementary School and Central High School. Having retired from the Providence Public School Department, Deb went on to Fall River and was the principal of a chronically underperforming middle school for 4 years. For the past 6 years Deb has worked as an Educational Consultant in New London, New Bedford and for the Mass DESE.

We interviewed Deb and asked her to share with us how she got started with New Urban Arts. Here’s what she said:

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
Through Carole Harman who was working with NUA. While I was the principal at Carl G. Lauro she arranged for us to have an Art Show in their space. 

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
Indirectly and directly through Carole’s involvement since their inception. Many students over the years have attended NUA 

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
Everyone that has ever become involved there has a great passion for the work this organization does. Students tend to give back or speak of how NUA has changed their lives.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
Trip to Italy. Although we had traveled to Italy many times, it was always an adventure because we would visit and explore a new part of the country. The art, food and the architecture and the people are phenomenal, not to mention the wine!! 

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
Because of the work it does but more importantly it was Carole’s passion and this is a way for me to continue to honor and celebrate her through the arts and young people.

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Countdown to the annual event: 6 days left!

Meet Mary Lee Partington!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Vice Chair of the Board of Directors 

Mary Lee is a founding member of Pendragon and the programs of The Blackstone River Theater. She built her performing arts life by creating original songs based on stories of the Blackstone River Valley. Immigrants and exiles take center stage in musical dramas that tell the story of the making of America. Partington twice gained “Best Female Vocalist” honors in the Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll identifying her voice as a powerful vehicle for songs old and new that represent tradition in the making. Passionate about the work of schools, she was honored in 2002 by the National Council of Teachers of English as one of the top 12 secondary English teachers in the U.S. Having retired from the classroom, Partington continues her arts and education efforts through the RI Arts Learning Network, the Pawtucket Arts Festival and the Labor & Ethnic Heritage Festival. Her most recent service in the cultural community was to the RI Council for the Humanities (RICH) Board of Directors.

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

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
I first heard about New Urban Arts several years ago while working on a project for the RI Arts Learning Network called “Arts Passport.”  The goal of Arts Passport was to welcome high school students and their teachers to attend Rhode Island’s professional arts events as a part of meeting educational standards in the arts for high school graduation in RI.  New Urban Arts captured my interest because students and artist mentors create an experience that immerses them in making and living an art-filled life.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
I’ve been involved with New Urban Arts for four years as a member of the Board of Directors. I come from a secondary education and Board service background, and I knew that New Urban Arts was making strong organizational strides while staying true to a mission dear to my heart..”the young at art.”

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
Young New Urban Arts artists-in the making are primary stakeholders and drivers of their experience; they are not just “served” by a mission.  I think that’s why the “New Urban Arts Effect” has extended impact beyond students’ years in the Studio.  Creativity is not just some measurable outcome associated with a standard.  New Urban Arts guides the setting and the situation that lead to a powerful enactment of the young capacity to create and to organize one’s own learning. 

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
I went to London at the end of January to see “Celts:  Art & Identity,” a major show of international Celtic art at the British Museum, and the 28th Annual London Art Fair in Islington. 

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
When I went to Cumberland High School, my interests in writing, traditional music, literature/theatre and history were supported by teachers who encouraged me to enjoy and employ a capacity to create.  I used what I was studying as the inspiration for plays, concerts, poetry and to build my enjoyment of being in the audience, too.  All these things have stayed with me through the years in my work…and I see “creative practice”…made perfect, at New Urban Arts, for a new generation.

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And the 2016 Awardees Are…

The long wait is finally over! We are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s awards. New Urban Arts introduced annual awards in 2002 to recognize individuals and organizations who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to New Urban Arts. These people share extraordinary contributions of time, expertise, money, energy, and support—often without solicitation—going beyond what is asked of them for New Urban Arts and its mission. Join us next Friday, April 15th at 7pm at New Urban Arts’ Annual Event to help us honor them. Buy tickets here.
 

Meet the 2016 New Urban Arts Awardees

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  • Douglas Best is receiving the Sandra Olson Award for his years of service to New Urban Arts on our board of directors. Best joined the board of directors in 2012 and is currently serving as the secretary of the board. Since joining our board, Doug has gone above and beyond in his board service to support our staff, students and mentors, including baking cookies for Cardboard Pancakes, volunteering at openings and events, and always showing up.
  • Elia Gurna is also receiving the Sandra Olson Award for her service to New Urban Arts as executive director.  Elia’s tenure as executive director provided energy and vision for re-engaging alumni, expanding staff capacity, and reminding us all of the power of playing games with each other. We are thrilled to recognize her leadership and commitment to New Urban Arts’ mission and programs.
  • Paul Tavarez is receiving the Carole Harman Memorial Award recognizing his work as a founding member of the Alumni Council. Over the past year, Paul has energized and reconnected alumni to New Urban Arts by helping to organize art making events and dance-party fundraisers. In addition he is providing a critical link between the Alumni Council and the New Urban Arts board of directors, ensuring that alumni voice and perspective are represented on the organization’s governing body.  
  • Providence Community Acupuncture  is receiving the Founders’ Award, which recognizes organizations and businesses who maintain an ongoing commitment to both New Urban Arts and youth arts education.  Providence Community Acupuncture was the first business to support the Health and Wellness program for New Urban Arts staff, which helps ensure that our staff are able to meet the needs and demands of a growing studio. 

Congratulate our awardees!

Share the news with your friends and colleagues and join us in congratulating our awardees on Twitter or Facebook now:  
Twitter Orange   FB Orange   

But really, click on button and a magic message appears! All you have to do is share!
 

Thank you Doug, Elia, Paul, and PCA for all you do!

Sincerely,
The New Urban Arts Annual Event Steering Committee

PS: Can’t come but want to give a gift in honor of our awardees? Select donate and add a note in the memo field at checkout.

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Countdown to the annual event: 7 days left!

Meet Lois Harada!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Former Mentor, Board Member, Event Planning Committee Member

Providence has been Lois’ home since 2006. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Printmaking and previously worked in the Alumni Office at RISD as an event planner. She currently works as the Production Coordinator of DWRI Letterpress located just a few blocks away from the New Urban Arts studio. She also teaches courses at the AS220 Community Print shop in Silkscreen and Letterpress printing. Lois found New Urban Arts in 2010 and spent one year as an Artist Mentor focusing in printmaking.

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

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
Former Artist Mentor and superstar Alice Costas! Alice and I worked at summer arts program in Western, MA and I was looking for ways to engage in the greater Providence community after graduating from RISD.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
I started as an Artist Mentor in 2010 and am currently on the board.

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
The community! The studio is always a buzzing hub of creativity. I feel inspired every time I step through the doors and am glad to be a part of the space.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
I went to a spin class. It was terrifying and I felt like I wanted to ralph through most of it. But I think I’m hooked now!

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
How could you not!? I had an amazing art teacher in high school that guided me into a career in the arts and I want everyone to be able to experience that. NUA is such a warm, welcoming place and I wish I had had as a high school 

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Countdown to the annual event: 8 days left!

Meet Tamara Kaplan!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Finance and Operations

Tamara received a B.F.A in ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1994. She then received an M.A. with a specialization in Museum Education and M.A.T. certification in K-12 arts education from The Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. During the years between schooling, Tamara worked as a production supervisor at a tile factory in New Jersey and a studio assistant at two production pottery studios in New Hampshire. She was subcontracted by Miotto Mosaics to create 6’ x 3’ mosaic panels for Canal Street Station, NYC. Tamara also spent time working in her studio and teaching adults and kids how to throw pots.

In 1998, Tamara started working with various Providence communities as a graduate candidate at RISD. Her graduate thesis was an in-depth look into how art museums can access new audiences by engaging teaching artists to develop work in communities not usually engaged in museum visits. This work led her to the position of  Program Director at New Urban Arts, then a three-year-old grassroots arts organization. Since then, Tamara has worked to provide Providence high school students with a safe and non-judgmental space in the out-of-school time to make art while developing caring relationships with adults and a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. After spending seven months as the Interim Executive Director, Tamara now serves as the Operations Manager.

These days, she works in letterpress, paper, sewing, prints, and words. Her twin daughters inspire her daily.

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We interviewed Tamara and asked her to share with us how she got started with New Urban Arts. Here’s what she said:

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
I was introduced to New Urban Arts while in grad school working in the Education Department at The RISD Museum. James Montford, their community person at the time, took me to NUA to meet Tyler and Marcus. I felt like I found home.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
I started working at NUA in 2000 end of August as their first Program Director outside of a founder. I have had many positions since. 

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
NUA is a very collaborative, thoughtful space when making decisions. We make sure that voices from student to board member to staff to artist mentor and alumni are heard. The process takes a bit longer but the end result is more interesting. 

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
My last adventure was with some friends and kids to Weetamoo Woods in Tiverton, RI. It is such a gem of walking paths, streams, and rocks to climb. Oooo, and there are also a couple friendly little donkey/ponies from a farm next door that you can pet. And then you can go to Grays after for ice cream.

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
Because there is no place like it in the world. It is a magical space where humanity is at its’ core.

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Countdown to the annual event: 9 days left!

Meet David Liddle!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Vital Community Member, Event Planning Committee Member 

David shares his life with his husband Michael and they live in the Edgewood neighborhood.  David has had a career in the horticulture field for the past forty years, and still counting. Currently David works as a specialty plant grower for a landscape/ nursery company. David has also been involved with fundraising for many non-profits other than New Urban Arts, such as the Southside Community Land Trust, Youth Pride Inc., SAGE and the Kent County YMCA. 

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

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?
I first heard about New Urban Arts when I first started dating my husband. He was on the Board of Directors for NUA, and had been involved on and off for a few years.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
This is my first formal volunteer role with NUA, but I have helped out in small ways over the years.

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
The energy when you walk into the space. There is such a good vibe in the studio space, and there is not much like it anywhere else. That alone is uplifting.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
I’ve been busy traveling to care for aging parents the past few years. It has been an adventure for sure. Like any adventure there has been good surprises and unexpected challenges. 

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
Because if there had been an organization like NUA when I was young it would have left a lasting influence on me, and who knows where I would be today.

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Countdown to the annual event: 10 days left!

Meet Aneudy Alba!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Resident Artist Mentor, Alumni

Aneudy was born and raised in Providence Rhode Island. He has taught art afterschool to middle school students from Paul Cuffee and Highlander Charter Schools. He served as a CityYear Senior Corps Member from 2009-2010 and also served as an AmeriCorps EDTAP (Expanded Day Teaching Artist Project) Teaching Artist at Providence City Arts in 2010-2011.

He has been an active member of New Urban Arts for close to a decade. He began as a high school student, and in 2006 as an alum became a member of the Student Recruitment Team and served on the pilot year of New Urban Arts youth leadership council, the Studio Team Advisory Board, which he Chaired the following year in 2008-2009. This is his 5th year as an artist mentor.

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We interviewed Aneudy and asked him to share with us how he got started with New Urban Arts. Here’s what he said:

How did you first hear about New Urban Arts?

I first heard of New Urban Arts while still in high school. I attended Classical High School in the early 2000’s, and would often see really interesting, funky looking people coming and going. My curiosity got the best of me and I started to ask around. I learned that it was a place that I could make art, so I bit the bullet and decided to cross the street and visit. The rest as the say, is history.

How long have you been involved with New Urban Arts?
I had attended New Urban Arts as a student for most of my high school experience. The year after I graduated I became a member of New Urban Arts’ recruitment team, tabling at different schools and events and spreading the word of NUA. The following year I was on the pilot program that would eventually become known as S.T.A.B., short for the Studio Team Advisory Board, where we as students would help plan and volunteer at different studio events and be active participants in the mentor application process as interviewers. The next year, I was S.T.A.B. chair, leading meetings and personally facilitating different goings on the studio. I left briefly and did two years of service with AmeriCorps at two different service sites. When I returned to the studio there was nothing else to do but Mentor. I was reluctant at first, having had mentors who set the bar so high in my personal experience, but ultimately decided to go through with it. That was five years ago, so I’ve been around for a bit over a decade now. I even pre-date most of my fellow staff!

What’s something that you think makes New Urban Arts stand out from other organizations?
New Urban Arts stands out to me from other organizations in that it’s a place where students have almost complete autonomy. It is very much a student driven place. The youth here don’t need to ask for adult permission, we are here to help them make and realize their ideas & artwork. You don’t raise your hand, my title isn’t Mister: this isn’t school, and so the rules are different. We provide youth the space to make, grow, and learn from experience. Mistakes are learning opportunities, and students own their creative practices. It truly is a diverse space where vastly different people come and interact with one another, our community is genuine in a way that is hard to describe in words, you just have to see it.

What was the last adventure you chose to go on? What did you do?
As a collector, going on the hunt for objects is always an adventure. My last adventure found me hunting and purchasing a rare pair of Nike Air max 90’s in my ever so rare and elusive size of 11.5, but it was a success and they live happily in the collection when not on my feet.

Why do you support New Urban Arts?
I support New Urban Arts because they support me. They always have, and I don’t see that stopping now. I have been fortunate enough to now be on the other end of this relationship, giving back by being a mentor. It’s a good relationship.

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Countdown to the annual event: 11 days left!

Meet Emily Ustach!

Relationship with New Urban Arts: Director of Programs 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Urban Arts and the Providence Youth Caucus

For the past year New Urban Arts has been a founding member of the Providence Youth Caucus (PYC). Led by Young Voices and the Providence Student Union, in partnership with four of Providence’s strongest youth organizations (New Urban Arts, H2O, RUIDL, and Youth In Action) this coalition unites students from across Providence to work with city and state leaders to improve RI’s biggest school district. Over the past year, youth representatives have met with Governor Raimondo, Mayor Elorza, Interim Superintendent Maher, and several state Senators and Representatives to push for more personalized learning and improved discipline practices.

This fall, the PYC created the #RealTalkEDU videos series. This series of student video interviews aims to shift the citywide conversation about school climate and classroom engagement. Check out New Urban Arts student, Idrees Montequi’s #RealTalkEDU video here.

On Wednesday, April 13th, from 4-5:30 at the Providence Career and Technical Academy, youth representatives from the PYC will lead a major citywide event, bringing together students, parents, and community leaders to create a list of priorities for improving Providence schools. By June, our next Superintendent will be confirmed, and the PYC will be able to present these priorities, influencing the future direction of the school district. We hope you will be able to join us at this exciting event!

Stay up to date with all the great work that the PYC and New Urban Arts have planned by following the PYC’s Facebook Page.

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2016 NEW URBAN ARTS AWARD — CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

We are now collecting award nominations. New Urban Arts introduced annual awards in 2002 to recognize individuals and organizations who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to New Urban Arts. Board members, staff, artist mentors and students can nominate candidates, people who share extraordinary contributions of time, expertise, money, energy or support—often without solicitation—going beyond what is asked of them in support of New Urban Arts and its mission.

New Urban Arts has grouped the awards and candidates as follows:

1. Sandra Olson Award Individual Volunteers: board members, volunteers, consultants, etc.
2. Founders’ AwardOrganizations & Businesses: corporations, small businesses, foundations, community organizations
3. Carole Harman Award – Full-time staff, artist mentors, students, and/or alumni

Each year, New Urban Arts gives awards to one individual or organization in each category. Under special circumstances as determined by the review panel, more than one award in each category may be given.
Awards will be given at the Annual Campaign Event, April 15, 2016.

Award Nominations are due Friday February 19, 2016 via Google form.

How do I nominate a candidate for an award?
Please submit the following at the above link:
· Name and category (see above) for the candidate you are nominating;
· Your name;
· The reasons why you are nominating this candidate;
· Additional information that the review panel should know.

Nominations will be kept anonymous.

Who are past winners of the awards?
2002 – Peter Hocking, Jephry Floral Studio, Marly Louis, Echoing Green Foundation
2003 – Kathleen Connolly, Jason Yoon, Gasbarro’s Wines
2004 – Jesse Banks III, White Electric, Craftland
2005 – Michael Fournier, Kedrin Frias, Jennifer Rice, Cornish Associates
2006 – Priscilla Carrion, White Whale Web Services, Tamara Kaplan, Judy Vilmain
2007- John Tabor Jacobson, Mary Adewusi, Esther Chak, Simon Moore, Jack Richter
2008 – Sarah Meyer, Myrth York, Aneudy Alba, Andrew Oesch
2009 –  Deborah Obalil, Mathias Arling, Vilmain Inc., Erik Gould
2010 – Rosalia Velis, Angelo Manioudakis, Andy Cutler
2011 – CJ Jimenez, Jane Androski, Susan Smulyan, Jay Glasson, Virginia Branch
2012 – Sara Bergman, Emily Ustach, Site Specific, Emmy Bright, Noel Puello
2013 – Daniel Schliefer, Adrienne Adeyemi, John Risica & Family, Holly Ewald, Caitlin Cali
2014 -Derek Schusterbauer, Teal Butterworth, Julia Gualtieri, Austin O’Goffa, Providence Pizza Company
2015 – El Rancho Grande, Founders’ Award Recipient; Ashley Paniagua, Carole Harman Memorial Award Recipient; Mike Tanaka, Sandra Olsen Award Recipient

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Providence Monthly: “Punk For All”

The Providence Monthly wrote a profile of punk band Downtown Boys, many of whose members have served as mentors at New Urban Arts. The article discusses New Urban Arts in some depth as well.


PROVIDENCE MONTHLY | JANUARY 20, 2016 | TONY PACITTI | PHOTO BY TIM SIEKIERA

 

The folks at New Urban Arts are very very busy. On top of their rigorous, year-round educational arts programming and workshops for young and emerging artists, they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary AND expanding their space. New Urban Arts’ diverse audience, staff, and programming is poised to greatly benefit from this new expansion.

2015 was a hell of a year for Downtown Boys, Providence’s own “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party.” Their album, Full Communism, dropped in May and got them the attention of Rolling Stone, NME, Pitchfork, Stereogum, NPR and Spin. Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello called them America’s best punk band. Local media, present company included, was generally late to the party in that respect. I can’t speak for my peers, but I’ve got no good excuse. All I can do is try to make it right because, in a world where racial inequalities are dominating headlines, Downtown Boys is the kind of punk we need.

On Full Communism, the band leads a six-person assault against all the world’s phobias and -isms. Lead singer Victoria Ruiz alternates between English and Spanish as she spits righteous fire across 12 tracks that manage to make the saxophone work wonders for aggressively political punk rock. Not-ready-for-radio topics like the lingering effects of slavery, white supremacy and queerphobia are given the gloves-off treatment. Even the institution of punk, which prides itself on being inherently progressive, is challenged.

“What isn’t being brought to the light but is happening in underground spaces are a lot of POC punks and queer musicians,” explains Victoria. “People who are breaking out of cis (cisgender), white male identity who are making art and music in order to fight that status quo. That’s punk.”

She chalks up the idea of punk being a white man’s game to the same skewed perceptions that make politicians, CEOs and cops, by and large, white. “Why is punk so white? That question comes from what we see being raised in punk, or what’s put on magazine covers. It’s institutions of whiteness,” says Victoria.

“Maybe the problem isn’t with punk, but with how we’re reading history and how we’re analyzing it.”

“There’s always this stigma that people of color aren’t doing art or aren’t in punk bands because they’re not interested in those types of things,” says drummer Norlan Olivo, who cites his experiences at AS220 and New Urban Arts as the reason he’s a drummer and currently in school for photography. “It’s not that they aren’t interested, it’s that there aren’t a lot of resources where they can go and do those things in the community that they live in.”

Norlan and Victoria have served as mentors at New Urban Arts and praise both organizations for the roles they play in providing these resources. By opening those doors, another wave of punks, regardless of their medium, will be better equipped to tear down walls that would otherwise hold them back, which is about as punk as it gets.

“When I go to see bands that I like a lot and see what they can do in their space, that in turn inspires me to try to create something so that people can come to our shows and feel included and empowered,” says lead guitarist Joey DeFrancesco. “I want them to feel powerful enough to create possibilities that they’re not seeing.”

Speaking of creating possibilities, Joey and Victoria, along with Rhode Island politician and activist David Segal, launched the website Spark Mag in November. The three of them saw a problem with the way local bands with a political message were being covered – or weren’t being covered, in many cases – and took it upon themselves to create an alternative space for alternative voices. Described as the “culture wing of Demand Progress,” Spark Mag serves to raise awareness and financial support for musicians and artists whose work promotes progressive ideas.

Downtown Boys don’t have time for superficial outrage or trendy slacktivism. Theirs is punk in its purest form: angry, marginalized and ferociously hopeful for a better tomorrow, someday. Last year there were a lot of ears on them and, for their part, they’re keeping the conversation moving forward. This year, they’re set to tour down to SXSW, then over to Europe later in the spring. Each show is a conversation, an opportunity to open one more person up to what’s happening in the world around them and the idea that it’s within their capacity to do something about it.

“The most important thing,” Victoria says, “is for people to feel included and empowered.”

Downtown Boys
downtownboys.bandcamp.com

 

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Spark Magazine: “Building a Better Scene in Providence”

Spark Mag, co-founded by former New Urban Arts mentor Victoria Ruiz, wrote a profile of LOVESICK, a band including two New Urban Arts alumni. They credit New Urban Arts for its impact in making Providence’s music scene more inclusive.


SPARK MAG | JANUARY 11, 2016 | EVAN MCLAUGHLIN | PHOTO BY OWEN MUIR

 

Providence, Rhode Island is a city of contradictions. The capital of a postage stamp sized state that’s home to huge populations of people from all over the world; a “liberal” a city that tries to crush struggles against brutal police and abusive bosses; a city that claims the motto “The Creative Capital” while criminalizing young artists of color. A vibrant array of bands carrying the energy of those contradictions have been born out of Providence, but few have affected the city as much as LOVESICK.

LOVESICK is the trio of Josh Rodriguez, Manny Brooks, and Nathan Thao Phrathep, and they create music that channels all of the frustrations of growing up and living in a place like this into a powerful, yearning sound. The three have managed to inject a new energy into the city’s punk and DIY scene. Each show they play they bring along an ever-increasing group of fans, almost all young people of color, many of whom are new to punk spaces and music. When they play, their fans create the ideal environment: bouncing off the walls, crashing into one another, respectful, supportive, and most of all, absolutely joyous in the moment. I talked to Manny Josh and Nathan about their band and the impact they’ve had on the city.

LOVESICK’s self-titled EP will be out March 19 on Endless Bummer Records.

EVAN MCLAUGHLIN: I’ve been involved in the Providence DIY scene for a little while, and everyone I talk to says that shows here have completely changed from just a few years ago. Shows at warehouse spaces used to be really white spaces, and you’d see the same group of punks all the time. A lot of the people that come to your shows say that it’s the first time they’ve been in a punk or DIY space, or that they wouldn’t be in those spaces at all except for your band. Why do you think you’ve managed to make these connections with so many people?

Josh Rodriguez: I think a lot of it is just us trying to be open minded, trying to accept the way other people are. We might seem normal, but we’re outcasts in a way, we’ve been like that since we’ve been kids. We dressed different, we spoke different, we listened to different music, and people around us saw something special in us. Because of that, we just have an open mind and see whats special in other people too. For us, it really doesn’t matter. Our friends will come to the show and they might be weirded out at first, but they’ll get used to it, they’ll like the music and they’ll like the space. Our friends will come and then their friends will come, and it’ll spread like that.

Nathan Thao Phrathep: For me, I had no idea that any of this was out there for a long time. All the music I knew about was on the internet. It wasn’t till my dad took me to see Pilgrim that I ever knew that there was local music in Providence. I just went to more and more shows from there. I go to a show a week now. I’m just amazed with how talented this city is, every single person you meet at shows is talented and is doing something.

JR: I go to New York a lot to get away, and everyone views it as the only real center of culture. But I see the similarities that Providence has to Brooklyn and to other really creative places. It’s not different, there’s not less here. There’s just as much energy here.

NTP: I feel like Providence is just going to keep getting better, I could name bands from here that I love all day. It’s just because there are so many ways that people are actually putting the effort in to get youth involved, to get kids resources to make things. Places like Spark City, AS220, New Urban Arts, they’re just going to make it so that things here keep getting even better. People see how cool it is to do all of this. Nothing’s cooler than making a warehouse space and putting on shows.

How did you first get involved with music, and how did you form the band?

Manny Brooks: Me and my brother have always wanted to play music, I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old. My church needed a guitar player, so I decided to figure it out. I didn’t know how to play, so I just played it like a bass. Me and my brother always wanted to make a band, my mom said Josh used to flip rice pans over in the kitchen to use as drums, until they got him actual drums to play.

NTP: My dad’s a musician, so I grew up with that always around. I got my first guitar at 13 and just taught myself, tried to copy all the guitarists I idolized. Manny was the only other person I knew who played guitar, so we made some really bad metalcore music when we were 14. Josh and Manny asked me to join the band like 5 days before they had a show at the Columbus Theater in Providence, and I joined the day they started recording their demo, so I had to learn everything right then. It was pretty hard.

I know you’re involved in different kinds of art than just music. Do you see LOVESICK as a combination of all those different mediums of art that you’re making and involved with?

JR: Originally LOVESICK came from me. Before it was a band, I wanted to make a clothing brand called LOVESICK. I would make my own clothes, embroider LOVESICK on my jeans. For a while too, it was a tag I did around the city. I would write LOVESICK with a heart around it. It was just something that I liked the sound of, I thought it was catchy. I learned how to wheat paste at New Urban Arts and started putting up posters all over too. After I stopped tagging, there’s a store downtown named Clover that asked me to do a whole mural for them. It was stencils covering the whole wall that had a picture of Kennedy, and said “Hey Kennedy, the Kids are LOVESICK,” inspired by Andy Warhol, the Sex Pistols, Raymond Petty. When me and Manny decided to make a band, we thought it would be a cool name for it. It’s kind of a combination of all the different things we do.

MB: I got a job at New Urban Arts mentoring after I saw my brother making art there and thought I wanted to do it too. Because of my job I get to use the studio whenever. I learned how to do sewing screenprinting, all kinds of different things. I’m making wallets, pouches, things people can carry, pretty soon I want to be able to do my own hoodies and shirts.

Recently, there was a street artist named Devin Costa who was putting up tags reading LONELY on buildings in Providence. A couple months ago, he was caught on security camera in one of the buildings, and the police decided to charge him with 13 different felonies, one for each tag he put up. His fines total more than 12,000 dollars, and he can go to prison if they’re not paid off within a year. For the past few years Providence has been selling itself as “The Creative Capital,” a haven for artists to come and create, what do you think of what the police and the city are doing to Devin and other young artists of color?

JR: I have a personal relationship with Devin, and I know him and the art he makes. It’s messed up! The way I look at is is that he could have been doing something else instead of putting those tags up. He could have been selling drugs, he could have been killing someone. Instead, they’re charging him with making art. I mean, yeah it was illegal but how can you say you support artists and then do that?

NTP: They’re trying to make an example of him. Devin and other artists are getting prosecuted just for making art. It’s so repressive, we should be able to create in the creative capital!

JR: It’s all over the city too. I’ll put up a poster downtown, by the next day its gone. They’ve got people patrolling the streets taking things down. It’s not offensive, it’s not a nazi sign.

NTP: The repression just makes me want to make more art just to oppose it. Just because he got in trouble, we should still all be making art, we should be making more art. They’re trying to make it so that everyone in the city is scared, but we can’t be scared.

 

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I was allowed to break the crayons

Please make your year-end gift to New Urban Arts today. You’ll be offering the joy of unfettered creativity to young people who too often face constraints. One of our students recently wrote her college essay on the difference between New Urban Arts and other learning spaces, and I asked her if I could share it with you:

“I was sitting by myself at a long wooden table while everyone was drawing pictures to give their moms. I started my process by splitting my crayons down the long way with scissors. I wanted to achieve a page full of smooth color swaths. Before I could even begin to drag my crayons across the blank paper, my kindergarten teacher, grabbed my hand and yelled at me, “Stop destroying the art supplies!” She then walked me over into the corner, and I had to sit there for the rest of the art class. My passion for exploring the full potential of materials started at a young age. According to that teacher, so did my rebellion.

“As I grew older, it was up to me to find my art community: I was looking for other people who loved art as much as I did. Freshman year of high school, I discovered a non-profit organization across the street from my school. New Urban Arts is an art studio open to high school students. It’s completely free and has opened many opportunities for me to try different mediums and ways of working. When I first got to New Urban Arts, I was scared because I didn’t know what to expect. However, everything there was magical and filled with compassion. This place became a home for me: a family. It was like a treehouse. It was my escape when I needed space. I felt grounded: like I was above all the craziness that was going on in life. I explored making books, developing film and drawing from observation. At New Urban Arts, I was allowed to break the crayons.

“At the New Urban Arts studio, I’d found creative professionals who cared. They were constantly immersed in their process and sharing their knowledge with students. I learned that as an artist you should never stop creating. Creating gives me purpose: it helps me understand myself and the world around me. Art is a language that addresses aspects of our experiences for which there are no words. I learned that artistic expression is vital to my life and the way I function. I also learned that I can create my own family of people who truly want the best for me. New Urban Arts offers a tremendous amount of empathy without asking for anything in return. They have taught me to spread love and understanding to those around me.

“If there was one thing I learned when my teacher took those crayons away from me, it was how precious art is and what creativity means to me. Art helps people come together to create and reinvent the world around them. This is my community.”

With in-school arts education at an all-time low, more youth than ever are flocking to the community that New Urban Arts provides. I hope you’ll help us provide it for them.

Sincerely,
Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director

Support New Urban Arts.

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How our city’s future should look

On Saturday, we hosted a small holiday dance party for New Urban Arts alumni. Maybe you, or someone you know, attended. Looking around the room, we saw a diverse group of young people, dancing and catching up with friends. Some were home from college; some were enjoying a vacation from work.
 
At some point, it occurred to us: this is how our city’s future should look. Please donate to New Urban Arts to build toward that future.
 
We live in a truly multiracial city, with no one group in the majority, but diversity in our cultural institutions hasn’t kept pace with demographic shifts. We need to change this reality by opening avenues of cultural participation to youth of color. Sadly, with arts education at an all-time low nationally and locally, these opportunities are rarer than ever in our public schools. 
 
The decline in arts education has driven more students than ever to New Urban Arts. We are now Providence’s largest high school afterschool arts provider. As you’d imagine, costs have risen with attendance, but we’re committed: we’re not turning anyone away, and we’re staying true to our vision. We need your support to take on the challenge of expanding cultural access for our city’s youth.
 
Consider this recollection from a New Urban Arts alumnus, currently attending the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt):
 
“Before I started coming to New Urban Arts three years ago, I was very shy, quiet, and didn’t have many friends…. My life was pretty much boring. I had never even ridden public transportation before.NUA gave me the opportunity to see Providence. When I made friendships with mentors, it kind of gave me a VIP pass to many activities they were doing outside of New Urban Arts. Like helping out with a project at the RISD Museum. Or going to the Athenaeum…. These are places I had never been to before. Working with these mentors has really opened my eyes to see the artistic side of Providence.”
 
You can help us make the same impact for the record number of youth we’re serving today. We truly believe that, for the city to thrive, its culture needs to reflect the youth who are its future. New Urban Arts is the place to make this happen; please give today.
 
Sincerely,
 
Daniel Schleifer, Executive Director
Paul Tavarez, Board Member and Youth Program Alumnus

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NUA is committed; are you?

New Urban Arts needs your support.

Arts education is at an all-time low for Providence public school students. In our high schools, for every art teacher, there are over 600 students. We’re seeing record attendance at New Urban Arts; it’s nearly doubled since 2011. As you’d imagine, costs have risen with attendance, but we’re committed: we’re not turning anyone away, and we’re staying true to our vision. Now, we need your support to keep that commitment.

Despite our growth, despite the demand, it has been difficult to attract new institutional funders. For some, it’s hard to see past the fact that New Urban Arts doesn’t have classrooms, productivity metrics, attendance requirements, or other trappings of dominant educational approaches.

Instead, we have a community built around young people’s needs—as defined by young people. That’s why, when you walk into our studio, you’ll see students doing so many different things. Most are making art, but you’ll also see students hanging out, studying, and playing games. You’ll see them preparing college applications and planning their futures. When you support our work, you’re offering young people flexibility; you let them choose the right experience for them.

If you see the wisdom in this approach, please donate. Please help us pay for additional educators. Help us fill the studio with the resources that our youth need. Build a community that is ready to embrace more students than ever and give them something vital that they’re not getting anywhere else.

Saulo, our program and development assistant, is an alumnus of New Urban Arts. A few weeks ago, he asked me if it was okay to take time out from his duties to talk to Mila, a student with whom he has a particular rapport. “Of course,” I told him, “that’s why we’re here.” He then told me a little about their conversation.

Mila is a gifted singer; she initially came to New Urban Arts to nurture that talent, but this space nurtures her in other ways. Here’s Saulo:

Mila seemed really upset so I sat with her and asked what was bothering her. We had talked before about her living situation, so I had some idea about the problems she’s facing. She often seeks me out to talk because she feels really comfortable around me and can open up to me.

She was telling me she felt super discouraged and that she was thinking of not making music anymore. She opened up to me and told me she has this facade of being confident, but ultimately is very self-conscious and has really low self-esteem. I sat there and I listened to her speak about wanting to give up on her passions because she felt like she wasn’t getting anywhere, like she was wasting her time and even mine.

To hear her say those things stirred some emotions in me that I hadn’t felt in a while. I was in her shoes at one point, a confused, scared, and anxious teenager at New Urban Arts trying to figure out what life is about. I talked to her a bit about my own struggles, to let her know that I went through some of the same things.

After a while she got re-inspired and she left with a smile on her face. She said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” That’s why this place is so important, because for some youth it’s the only place they can feel comfortable enough to say what they really feel without judgment, and know that what they say will be taken seriously. It’s the one place they can truly feel safe.

New Urban Arts is now the largest high school afterschool arts program in the city, but that’s just one reason why this space is so important. Youth are hungry to express themselves, but they’re also looking for a safe space where they feel heard, where it’s okay to be vulnerable.

You can ensure that we are there for every young person that enters this studio. Please give today at: http://bit.ly/NUA-Give

Sincerely,
Daniel Schleifer,
Executive Director

A place for youth to create

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Providence Mayor Elorza’s December Newsletter

This month New Urban Arts was featured in Mayor Elorza’s December Newsletter. He credits New Urban Arts with being one of many organizations which offer residents opportunities to express their creativity and refine their talents.


MAYOR ELORZA’S NEWSLETTER | DECEMBER 23, 2015 | JORGE ELORZA

 

The holiday spirit has taken over the Creative Capital and like many of you I am delighted to see beautiful lighting and decorations throughout our neighborhoods. I am joined by my
colleagues at Providence City Hall in wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful and festive holiday break.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the studio space of New Urban Arts. While I was
there I saw some of our youth in action creating one of kind pieces. I can proudly say that
Providence’s unique creativity is driven by great organizations which offer our residents
opportunities to express their creativity and refine their talents.

 

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Rolling Stone Magazine: “Meet America’s Most Exciting Punk Band”

Rolling Stone Magazine wrote a profile of punk band Downtown Boys, many of whose members have served as mentors at New Urban Arts. The article discusses New Urban Arts in some depth as well.


ROLLING STONE | DECEMBER 11, 2015 | DAVID GROSSMAN

 

Victoria Ruiz and Joey DeFrancesco, lead singer and guitarist of the most exciting punk band in America today, Downtown Boys, are eating pizza before a show in their hometown of Providence and discussing the finer points of Internet policy. “We really need to connect on-the-ground policing with Internet surveillance and the criminalization of the Internet and think of it all as the police state, and state violence,” Ruiz says as The X-Files plays on the TV overhead.

For those tired of living in a country where it’s OK to give equal weight to #AllLivesMatter and to consider abortion a crime, where hourly workers are expected to be grateful for the scraps they get and never ask for more, and where xenophobia and gun culture have blurred together with patriotism, you’ve got two choices for public events: a Bernie Sanders rally or a Downtown Boys show, and Victoria Ruiz is a better public speaker. The Providence band’s two LPs, a 2012 self-titled effort and this year’s Full Communisim, are galvanizing blasts, but seeing Downtown Boys live electrifies every nerve.

There are a few elements at play here: the abrasive horn section of Adrienne Berry and Emmett Fitzgerald, drummer Norlan Olivo’s manic abilities, which often lead to his standing on his drum kit as the crowd lifts the two of them together. But chief among them are Ruiz’s introductions to songs, which feel like Amy Goodman channelling X-Ray Spex’ Poly Styrene, Ta-Nehisi Coates meeting Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye. She talks about the slave trade, pointing out the markers and businesses that made up the transactional components of America’s original sin, connects these corporations to modern-day landlords and the police, draws these institutions into whatever room they’re playing, and then encourages their destruction through song. The crowd inevitably explodes into a physical manifestation of these anthems, slamming against each other in the type of solidarity where they know, they truly know, that in the fight against invisible and violent superstructures, they’re the ones who will win.

An easy critique of ideologues is that they don’t dirty their pure visions with details, facts and figures. Yet here are Ruiz and DeFrancesco, eating pizza, drawing a direct line from the late Aaron Swartz’s work on the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2012 to their performances.

The three met in 2010, united by the failed run for Congress by Swartz’s friend David Segal. Ruiz had just moved to Providence from California, intrigued by its arts scene and cheaper rent than New York, and had taken a job at the Renaissance Providence Hotel, where she met DeFranceso. A full-fledged member of that scene, he was part of a radical brass band named after Providence’s official motto, the What Cheer? Brigade. From there, he had also formed a band named after an early Springsteen lyric: “And them downtown boys sure talk gritty/It’s so hard to be a saint in the city” (“It sounded tough and fun but also queer,” he elaborates). Ruiz quickly joined the band, and when she heard about Segal’s work for hotel workers, joined his Congressional campaign doing Spanish language outreach. She now works as a part-time organizer with the group Segal and Swartz founded together, Demand Progress.

Segal took a strong interest in Downtown Boys — DeFrancesco refers to him as the band’s unofficial label. “I was thinking of new ideas how to harness the Internet into these organizing campaigns that Demand Progress was doing, how to take the energy he saw at our shows,” DeFrancesco says, “to channel it into what he and Aaron had been working on for so many years. I pitched the idea a year ago of making a website focused on radical artists.” That site, now known as Spark Mag (a Downtown Boys–affiliated DIY venue in Providence is named Spark City), boasts interviews with artists like Baltimore rapper Abdu Ali and Atlanta post-punk band Algiers as well as essays, like Priests’ Katie Alice Greer on presenting as femme and Don Giovanni’s Joe Steinhardt on Spotify economics.

Those last two speak to the interconnectivity of punk these days. Greer initially signed Downtown Boys to Priests’ label Sister Polygon — she says that seeing them for first the first time felt like the “most naturally insane joyful angry thing” — and the band is currently signed to Don Giovanni.

Ruiz ends the interview in the pizza shop because Lovesick, “the best band in Providence,” is apparently halfway through their set, “and they only have, like, five songs.” The band walks a few quick blocks to New Urban Arts, a community arts studio for high-school students. Various community members offer up their skills and abilities as mentors; the students decide how mentors can help their art. Most members of the current Downtown Boys lineup have spent time here, either as a mentor or volunteer. A sixth member recently left the band to work there full time. Art covers the walls, and teens and tweens in Nirvana shirts rock out accordingly as Lovesick plays punk with metal riffs. A guy in a shark costume hops around and gleefully jumps into the pit. Lovesick throws T-shirts into the crowd like they’re at an NBA game, Ruiz runs around trying to catch one.

There are a few bands on before Downtown Boys headline, so everybody piles into Norlan’s 2003 Hyundai Sonata to talk about that subject as old as time, the State of Punk. “It’s white,” Olivo, a founding member with DeFrancesco, says with a sigh. The band has been through this conversation before. “One thing I think about a lot is, why is it white? People think that people of color aren’t interested in punk music, aren’t interested in the arts. I don’t think ‘interested’ is the right word; I think they’re just not thinking about it. Those resources, those facilities where they could do those things aren’t as available to them. So it’s interesting being a band with people of color in it and moving into these traditionally white spaces … I feel better going to those places and confronting those people with music, and being there. That in itself is very political, very radical. I feel like we’re challenging them.”

“It’s really amazing to go into a room of white dudes,” adds saxophonist Berry. “We kill, slash and thrash.” At this point, though, the band rarely gets all-white crowds. “People of color come out,” says Victoria.

Providence has a proud musical tradition of abrasiveness, going back over a decade with noise bands like Lightning Bolt and Black Dice. “We take the loud, noisy aspect from Providence and bring it to our band in a punk, pop, controlled way,” Norlan says. As they begin their set at New Urban Arts, they quickly show how they’re able to not only control that noise but also use it to galvanize anyone looking to destroy what’s outside those walls.

Ruiz begins to pick up steam as the music starts, defining New Urban Arts as a template for the future, a place where canon and tradition only matter as much as they can serve the next generation. How the physical energy in this room can be redefined on the Internet, how the kids of color, the queer kids, anyone here hassled by the cops can take that energy and redefine their future. “Coming in on a wave!” she and Joey yell at the start of their first song. “On a wave of history!”

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“Give Love” Mentor Exhibition Opening Event, Friday, November 13, 5-7pm

Introducing the 2015–16 artist mentors, studio study buddies, and staff at New Urban Arts, a community arts studio where local artists and high school students practice powerful mentoring relationships.  This gallery opening event is free and open to the public, and takes place at our studio, 705 Westminster Street in Providence.

The exhibition will remain on view in our studio until December.
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Saturday, December 12, 10am-5pm: Cardboard Pancakes 6 Holiday Art Sale

New Urban Arts proudly announces the 6th annual Cardboard Pancakes holiday sale!

Cardboard Pancakes will play host to an awesome group of all-star local artists, craftspeople, and makers, in a somewhat-commercial-yet-also-sociable context. Art, crafts, prints & posters, cards, comics & zines, ceramics, jewelry, objects & curios, foodstuffs, and clothing will all be here, made by really great people.

Last-minute presents, things your friends make that you would rather buy from them in person than over the internet, unique objects, messy multiples, cheap art as well as fancy stuff… it’s all gonna be here. We hope you will be here too!

The sale will run 10am-5pm on Saturday, December 12th at our studio,705 Westminster Street in Providence.

Some Confirmed artists are:

Beth Brandon

Muffy Brandt

Kristie Danis

Tycho Horan

Julia Gualtieri & Walker Mettling

Keegan Bonds-Harmon

Joan Wyand

Hilary Treadwell

Sam Merritt

Meredith Stern

Mike Knives

Vuthy Lay                     

Grace Ludmer

Pamela Laurenzo

Anne Reinhardt

DWRI LETTERPRESS

Jenine Bressner

Kah Yangni

Cathy G. Johnson

Mimi Chrzanowski

Dailen Williams

Zaidee Everett

Ivy Powers

Alexis DeCamp

Abigail Falvey

 

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New Urban Arts and The Drawing Room present the Work of Jeanne Risica

New Urban Arts is pleased to announce a special opening this upcoming Thursday September 17th, 2015 of the late Jeanne Risica’s artwork at The Drawing Room (479 Washington Street) between 7-9pm.

This is a unique thing for us to do a show offsite for someone who’s not a student or mentor here. Jeanne was an artist with the Dillon Gallery in SoHo from 1995 until her death. She was one of the original artists-in-residence at AS220 and worked for the Art Students League of New York. Jeanne graduated in 1983 from Marlboro College, where she studied with the painter Frank Stout. During this time, she traveled to Italy and began exhibiting paintings of landscapes, figures and portraits, as well as more abstract work.

 

All proceeds from the sale of Jeanne Risica’s artwork support the Jeanne Risica Fund for Art Education, founded in 2011 in her memory through the Rhode Island Foundation. The fund pays out a yearly dividend in support of New Urban Arts in Providence, RI.

To see more of Jeanne Risica’s work and to learn more, click here: www.jeannerisica.com

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Summer Art Show: Creative Compassion & The Art of Kindness 9/11/2015 5-7PM

Creative Compassion & The Art of Kindness Is an exhibition  of artworks by high school students who participated in New Urban Arts’ summer programs. Each summer, artists, scholars, and students explore themes of human experience that intersect with creative practice. This Year’s show will highlight work from our 10th annual Art Inquiry Program, Untitlement Project, and Providence Prints.

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Summer at New Urban Arts 2015

Summer 2015 at New Urban Arts was phenomenal and we couldn’t have done it without your support!  Thanks for believing in the power of art to transform lives and communities!

Our summer Art Internship programs provide low-income high school aged students in Providence structured art education opportunities.  This year we worked with 25 students in three programs – the Art Inquiry, Untitlement Project, and Providence Prints.   Students committed to a rigorous schedule and received stipends on successful completion of their programs.  We provide participation stipends so that low-income youth aren’t forced to choose between enrichment and employment.  Please join us on September 11th for the opening reception of our Summer Art exhibition.  

Art Inquiry:  Creative Compassion and the Art of Kindness

Ten students explored compassion and kindness in art and the role artist play in promoting kindness, compassion and understanding through their art work.  Students worked with mentors Caitlin Cali and Eva Joly to explore Providence, meet artist and make work around the theme of compassion and kindness.  Special thanks to Julia Gualtieri for her advice and support as our Scholar in Residence for the Art Inquiry program.

Many thanks to all our visiting artists including Hollis Mickey, Victoria Ruiz, John Risica, Geraldine McPhee, The Providence Athenaeum, Alison Rutch & Resources for Human Development, Sycamore Street Garden, 186 Carpenter Street, RISD 2nd Life, Big Nazo, Iyengar Yoga, Little Free Library, Free Store, Mimi Chrzanowski, and Dailen Williams.

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 The Untitlement Project

With the guidance of artist mentors Alex Algoro and Eric Axelman, ten students explored issues of identity, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  Thank you to visiting artists Victor Terry, Christopher Johnson, Ron Lewis, Muggs Fogarty, and all the couples who participated in our Relationship Panel.

The Untitlement Project received funding from the Equity Action Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation for funding this important work.  Look for an Untitlement Resource Guide on the exchange section of our website this fall. 

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 Providence Prints

Five students spent the summer studying the history and culture of printmaking in Providence.  Under the guidance of printmaker Mimi Chrzanowski students visited print shops, experimented with various printmaking techniques, and became screen printing ninjas! 

Thank you to everyone who visited or opened your doors, especially Ian Cozzens, Julia Gualtieri and the AS220 Printshop, Pricilla Carrion and Atlantic Mills multi-use studio space, Christina Alderman & Britnay Salsbury at the RISD Museum, Lois Herrada and DWRI Letterpress, Alison Nitkiewicz, Dirt Palace, and the Providence Public Library’s   Special Collections. 

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New Urban Arts is hiring two Resident Artist Mentors for the 2015-2016 school year. Applications due August 28, 2015.

Resident Artist Mentors will focus in one of two areas: printmaking or two-dimensional media.  Resident Artist Mentors will embody our core values of connection, voice, inclusion, leadership and risk by participating in the studio life on a daily basis, creating meaningful relationships with youth, and supporting the healthy operation of an open studio. 

Key Responsibilities include:

  • Attending weekly program team meetings before studio hours
  • Overseeing one of two media areas: printmaking or two-dimensional media; including maintaining supplies and studio equipment, supporting other printmaking and two-dimensional mentors, communicating material needs to NUA staff, and ensuring students are properly trained to use materials and equipment.
  • Introducing new media and techniques, support students in learning proper technique, care and use of materials & studio equipment.
  • Modeling authentic youth engagement, including using an inquiry, asset-based and supportive approach to meeting students’ needs that promote self-esteem & self-concept of youth.
  • Creating and maintaining a safe environment for students to develop their creative practice, including creating a learning environment clear of bias and judgment, and encouraging collaboration.  Help maintain a studio space that is free of trash and debris, and is ready for students each day to work and create.
  • Building relationships with students and promoting relationship building between students, mentors, and staff.
  • Contributing to the New Urban Arts community through participation in exhibitions, events and workshops.
  • Reporting to the Director of Programs, the Resident Artist Mentors will work collaboratively and in conjunction with the Studio Organizer and Youth Programs Coordinator.

Position Requirements:

  • Completed at least one year as an Artist Mentor at New Urban Arts
  • Demonstrated experience with visual arts discipline(s) either through experience or professional training
  • Demonstrated success working in culturally and socioeconomically diverse environments
  • Experience and interest in forming positive and supportive relationships with teenagers
  • Positive and direct verbal and written communication skills, including proficient and regular use of email communication
  • Flexible, inclusive, responsive and can handle stress without contributing to it

Fore more information and how to apply, see attached position description, or email Emily Ustach at emily@newurbanarts.org.  All applications are due August 28, 2015. These positions are only available to former artist mentors or arts mentoring fellows.  

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New Urban Arts is seeking an Archivist and Documentarian Volunteer

New Urban Arts is no longer accepting applications for a Archivist and Documentarian Volunteer. We’re really excited to have our volunteer this Fall!

 

Location: New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Time Commitment: 1 year at least 4 hrs/week

Expected start date: September 2015

Supervisor: Director of Development Connie Colvin

 

Organization Description

New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. Since 1997, we have served over 2,500 Providence teens and 150 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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 core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students from low-income families with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts.

 Our pedagogy empowers and trusts youth to create their own educational space. In our teaching model, student interests and creative impulses drive learning: most educational institutions require teachers to develop rigid lesson plans before they even interact with students; at New Urban Arts, students bring their creative visions to mentors, whose role is then to teach the skills necessary to realize that vision, using inquiry to help students refine and articulate what they want to convey. On the administrative side, youth participate in all major decisions, including hiring, programming decisions, and event planning. Most notably, they select each year’s cohort of artist-mentors.

Position Description 

In 2017, New Urban Arts will celebrate our 20th anniversary. In preparation, we are planning to publish a retrospective catalog and mount an accompanying exhibition that seeks to capture our artistic output, pedagogical development, the evolution of our practices, and our impact on students and artists. New Urban Arts seeks a candidate with a strong interest in unique and innovative practices in youth development, arts education, and alternative pedagogy to lead the following ongoing projects:

  • Create and maintain permanent virtual and physical archives of New Urban Arts’ artistic and pedagogical output, with an eye on our approaching 20th anniversary. This project will include the publication of a retrospective catalog.
  • Document New Urban Arts’ ongoing artistic and pedagogical output.

In service of these projects, position duties will include these tasks:

  • Assess our current physical and virtual archives.
  • Consult with community members across the organization about improvements to current archival practices.
  • Propose and implement improvements and new practices.
  • Collect significant documents related to our pedagogy.
  • Maintain and expand The Exchange section of our website
  • Work closely with program and development staff on strategies to use documentation and archival materials to support youth programs and fundraising.

 New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and all staff should expect to support each other’s work and participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development and arts education.

 Qualifications

  • Strong written, verbal, and visual communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Strong skills in organizing information
  • Open-minded, creative thinker
  • Advanced degree in the humanities, social sciences, library and information science or arts encouraged
  • Proficiency with a scanner preferred, but not required
  • Photography skills preferred, but not required
  • Experience that demonstrates commitment to New Urban Arts’ core values of connection, risk, leadership, voice, inclusion
The Archivist and Documentarian Volunteer will have access to New Urban Art’s facilities including studio space and supplies.
 
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Support summer excitement

Today is the last day of New Urban Arts’ fiscal year. I hope you will consider a gift to our Annual Campaign right now.

Yesterday, I told you about the importance of our summer programs, which provide rigorous art experiences to youth who otherwise have few options during the summer. These programs offer educational enrichment as well as employment experience. At the end of the summer, we share out our materials for public school teachers and arts educators nationwide to have a resource guide to replicate our successes.

Please make a donation of any size to our summer programs. Our summer programs depend on individual support from donors like you and we need you now to help support students at this important time in their year and their lives.

As always, I appreciate your generosity to New Urban Arts.

Sincerely,

Daniel Schleifer,

Executive Director

P.S. Even if you can’t give today, your support at any time in the next few weeks will still help fund our summer programs.

P.P.S. If PayPal mystifies you or if you’d like to give through an alternative method, feel free to call the studio at (401) 751-4556 and ask for Connie.

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Support NUA this Summer!

Please make a donation to support New Urban Arts’ summer programs at bit.ly/NUA-Give.

What do you think happens when we don’t expect anything from our most vulnerable young people over the summer—when we don’t give them a reason to use their brains? Consider this: More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.

What do you think happens when we challenge and engage our youth over the summer? Earlier this year, New Urban Arts student K wrote her college essay about her experience in our summer programs. I asked her if I could share it with you:

[Summer] was a whole different level of learning. New Urban Arts provided me with one of the most stimulating and creative experiences that I’ve ever had, and it is something that I will not forget…. I loved to write but I never understood how I could channel my sentiments onto paper in such a way that it’d be as if the ink was embedded onto the page. How I could move others with my words; create melodies from the abyss that housed my thoughts? It was last summer that I translated the words in my head. It was last summer that I gave my words a voice; that I allowed the voice to speak….

In February, K was accepted into Northeastern University’s Torch Scholars Program for students who have “persevered despite difficult family situations, cultural barriers, financial challenges, or unfavorable educational environments.” K credits our summer program with giving her the confidence to apply.

Although we focused on writing, it was also about pushing boundaries. The empowerment and confidence that I gained over the summer cemented my goal of pursuing my ambitions in life…. I was pushed to do things that I had never done, and being able to conquer my fears and limits made me believe that I could shoot for anything. New Urban Arts made me want to continuously learn from others…. The Summer Art Inquiry made me realize that I did not want to be someone afraid to take risks.

We need your help to give more students a chance to spend their summer finding their ambitions and conquering their fears. Please support our summer programs.

Sincerely,

Daniel Schleifer,

Executive Director

PS Please give before our fiscal year ends on Wednesday at bit.ly/NUA-Give.  Your gift is critical at this time of year.

PPS. Consider becoming a sustaining donor to support us every month at j.mp/SustainNUA

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Providence Youth Caucus student representatives meet with Mayor Elorza

Students from the Providence Youth Caucus met with Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza to promote the goals outlined in their youth-written education platform “The Schools Providence Students Deserve.”

Student leaders from the PYC explained their goals to expand student-centered learning in Providence, and asked the administration to focus on:
• Re-examining suspension policies to reduce suspensions and expand positive, restorative discipline practices citywide
• Increasing personalized learning through internships and career-oriented classes.

Mayor Elorza was actively interested in the PYC representatives’ points, and his staff agreed to meet again with the PYC soon to discuss the city’s progress on these issues.

The PYC is a coalition of youth representatives from Hope High Optimized, New Urban ArtsProvidence Student UnionRhode Island Urban Debate League,Young Voices, Youth in Action, Youth Pride Inc., and YouthBuild Providence.

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New Urban Arts announces Daniel Schleifer as executive director

The New Urban Arts Board of Directors announced today the appointment of Daniel Schleifer as executive director of this nationally recognized arts organization for young people in Providence, Rhode Island. Schleifer, former director of development, has been serving as interim executive director since the resignation of former Executive Director Elia Gurna, who relocated to Los Angeles in December.

Schleifer joined the New Urban Arts community in the fall of 2007 to pilot the Studio Study Buddy program, which combines academic tutoring with the structure and values of New Urban Arts’ core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts. As director of development, Schleifer fostered a 40% increase in individual giving to New Urban Arts’ annual fund along with significant increases in grant funding. These funding increases have allowed the organization to adapt to major growth in student enrollment. Other significant successes include spearheading New Urban Arts’ first capital campaign, seeding an endowment, and paying off the mortgage on New Urban Arts’ building.

”I’m just so proud to watch his growth from volunteer mentor in our youth programs to ongoing responsibilities in development to now executive director,” says Tamara Kaplan, New Urban Arts finance and operations manager. “As another working creative professional, I also appreciate Dan’s continued commitment to the What Cheer? Brigade, the award-winning 21-piece brass band, even while taking a leadership role at New Urban Arts. It’s so refreshing to see that he doesn’t need to give up one creative practice for another.”

In addition to his major development wins for New Urban Arts, Schleifer is well versed in youth development principles and practices. In conjunction with his development duties, Schleifer led the first iteration of New Urban Arts’ Untitlement Project summer program, which continues to be one of the organization’s most popular summer programs. The Untitlement Project provides an opportunity for low-income youth to explore, through writing and art, issues of identity, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Schleifer also participated in the 2010 Program Committee which created a vision for New Urban Arts to better serve a larger number of students. At this time, New Urban Arts is experiencing the highest level of student engagement in its 18-year history.

Schleifer says, “It’s an honor and a joy to head this community of artists. More young people than ever are coming to New Urban Arts, and I’m eager to ensure they get the support and mentoring they need to create, learn, and lead.”

 

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Seeking Development and Program VISTA – Job Description Available

New Urban Arts is now accepting applications for a Development and Program VISTA. We seek a candidate who believes in the power of creative practice and lifelong learning. The complete job posting follows.

Download the job description here.

New Urban Arts Development and Program VISTA
Location: New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903
Supervisor: Development Director Connie Colvin
Compensation: VISTA stipend
Time: 40 hours/week
Position expected start date: August

New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized community-based art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists. Since 1997, we have served over 2,500 Providence teens and 150 artists. Each year, our public programs reach over 2,000 visitors and participants. 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 core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts, brings Providence public high school students together with local artists, building powerful mentoring relationships through the arts.

New Urban Arts seeks a candidate with a strong interest in youth development, arts education, and community building to assist with program documentation, fund development and external communications. Program duties include assisting with the student attendance database, maintaining our archive, helping to run gallery events, and assisting in preparing publications. Fund development duties include gift processing, proofreading promotional materials, assisting with fundraising mailings, automating and formatting select reports, assisting with grant writing, and providing support with our annual campaign event. External communications duties include maintaining elements of our web and social media presence, sending monthly e-news, event promotion, alumni engagement, and special projects.

VISTA members can expect to gain practical skills in database management, the essential mechanics of annual campaign fundraising, and non-profit communications. New Urban Arts is a collaborative work environment, and VISTA members can expect to participate in high level conversations about New Urban Arts’ pedagogy, as well as trends in youth development and arts education.

 Competencies

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Strong research skills
  • Open-minded, creative thinker
  • Strong sense of good humor
  • Experience, behaviors and attitudes that demonstrate commitment to New Urban Arts’ core values of connection, risk, leadership, voice, and inclusion

Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office
  • At minimum, two years of college (or equivalent) with coursework involving expository writing and research; bachelors degree preferred
  • Experience with databases (Salesforce), WordPress, Vertical Response, and Adobe Creative Suite helpful but not required

AmeriCorps*VISTA is a national service program under the Corporation for National and Community Service designed specifically to fight poverty. The VISTA commits to serve full-time for one full year at a nonprofit organization and receives $11,796 stipend for the year, disbursed biweekly. Upon successful completion of the term of service, the VISTA is eligible to receive either an AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,730 or a $1500 cash stipend.  

Thank you for your interest.  This position posting is now closed as of 6/1/2015.

Phone interviews will be held with qualified candidates between 5/19/2015 – 6/4/2015. Applicants progressing to the second round of interviews will be required to submit a full VISTA application at NationalService.gov/VISTA prior to 6/10/2015. In-person interviews will be held between 6/1/2015 – 6/15/2015. All final applicants will be required to complete a final interview with New Urban Arts’ students.

Your cover letter will serve as your writing sample. No phone calls please.

New Urban Arts is an equal opportunity employer; we welcome candidates of diverse backgrounds.

Download the complete job description here.

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Learn more about our 2015 Summer Programs!

Are you a high school student or do you know one who is interested in being involved with New Urban Arts this summer? New Urban Arts is accepting applications for 25 paid summer apprenticeships in the arts. Youth receive $400 stipends for their participation. Lunch, snacks and Riptiks are provided to students at no cost! For students who can’t participate in one of the paid apprenticeship programs, we also have an open studio program. Applications are due Friday, May 29, so download one now!

 For a complete overview of the summer programs, check out our 2015 Summer Program Menu. Here are brief descriptions of our programs:

ART INQUIRY
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Thursday July 6 – August 7
Working with artist mentors Caitlin Cali and Eva Joly, create new work around this summer’s theme: Creative Compassion & the Art of Kindness.

UNTITLEMENT PROJECT
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Friday, July 6 – August 7
Work with artist mentors Alex Agloro and Eric Axelman to explore inequities around language, privilege, and power. 

PROVIDENCE PRINTS
10:00-3:00pm, Monday -Thursday July 6 – August 7
Explore various forms of printmaking and its history in Providence with artist mentor Mimi Chrzanowski. 

OPEN STUDIO
5:00-7:00pm; Monday-Thursday, July 7-August 8
Open to all students! Come hang out with Artists Mentors Cara Adams & Noraa Kaplan. Drop by the studio anytime to invent creative projects that only hot summer days can inspire!

 

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Art Party, May 15, 2015, 6-8pm

Join us in celebrating the creative voices of Providence youth! Art Party marks the end of a yearlong collaboration between Providence artists and high school students at New Urban Arts. Check out student artwork in the gallery, and experience a student fashion show. Join us for fun, food, and art!
 
Help us celebrate by coming dressed as your favorite artist or art work.  
 
End of Year Celebration: A Tribute Ceremony 
4-6pm
 
Art Party: An Interactive Exhibition and Celebration
6-8pm. 
 
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Vote for New Urban Arts on Thursday, April 16, 2015, 7-10pm: 18th Annual Event

On Thursday, April 16, New Urban Arts becomes old enough to vote, so we’re hosting our 18th annual fundraiser! Young people vote with their feet, and right now—with participation rates at an all time high—they’re electing New Urban Arts in a landslide. So do your civic duty, and help us fulfill our campaign promises by joining us for fun, food, music, and art!

PRICE: $20 includes entry, open bar, and food—
featuring all of your favorite local restaurants.

WIN: The Silent Auction is your chance to win artwork and art experiences by local artists, featuring: 

Alejandra Peralta
Eli Nixon
Cara Adams
Erik Gould
Erik Ruin
Eva Joly
Gansett Beer
Ian Cozzens
Ivy Powers
Jacques Achille
Jeanne Risica
Joan Wyland and Harrison Bucy
John Panzarella
Jori Ketten
Juan Alfonso
Julia Gualtiari
Kah Yangni
Keegan Bonds-Harmon
Kelli Rae Adams
Kris Craig
Kristie Danis
Lois Harada
Marie Gagnon
Mark Freedman
Meredith Stern
Mike Eng
Mike Guadagni
Mikey Hougland
Nina Ruelle
Norlan Olivo
Peter Lutz
Pia Brar
Priscilla Carrion
Rebecca Volynsky
RISD
Rob Pecchica
Robert Reyes
Ryan Dean
Sarah Clover
Shannon Falvey
Studio Hop
Todd Stong
Westport Rivers
Caitlin Cali
Walker Mettling

 Cast your ballot at New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster Street, Providence, RI.

Off-street parking generously provided by All Saints’ Memorial Church, 674 Westminster St.

 

Eventbrite - Vote for New Urban Arts: 2015 Annual Event and Silent Auction

Thank you to our generous sponsors!Donoghue Barrett and Singal logoBankRI logoCitizens Bank logo

 El Rancho Grande
Sin Desserts
Pastiche 
Blaze East Side
Whole Foods-University Heights
White Electric
Foremost Baking Company
Faust Hofbrauhaus
Seven Stars Bakery
The Red Fez
Trinity Brewhouse
Providence Pizza Company
Julian’s
Trader Joe’s
McLaughlin and Moran
Narragansett Brewing Company
Madeira Liquors
New Harvest Coffee Roasters
Revival Brewing Company
Fertile Underground
Adler’s Hardware 
Ocean State Jingle Lot
DWRI Letterpress
Hope Media
Frog and Toad
Aaronson Lavoie Streitfeld Diaz & Co., P.C.
RISD Museum
MOO

Interested in becoming a sponsor?   Learn more at bit.ly/sponsorNUA

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2015 Sandra Olson Award — Call for Nominations

We are now collecting Sandra Olson award nominations. New Urban Arts introduced this annual award in 2002 to recognize individuals and organizations who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to New Urban Arts. Board members, staff, artist mentors and students can nominate candidates, people who share extraordinary contributions of time, expertise, money, energy or support—often without solicitation—going beyond what is asked of them in support of New Urban Arts and its mission.

New Urban Arts has grouped the candidates as follows:
1. Individual Volunteers: board members, volunteers, consultants, etc.
2. Organizations & Businesses: corporations, small businesses, foundations, community organizations
3. Full-time staff, artist mentors, students, and/or alumni

Each year, New Urban Arts gives a Sandra Olson Award to one individual or organization in each category. Under special circumstances as determined by the review panel, more than one Sandra Olson Award in each category may be given.  Awards will be given at the Annual Campaign Event, April 16, 2015.

Sandra Olson Award Nominations are due Monday February 23, 2015.

 

How do I nominate a candidate for a Sandra Olson Award?

Fill out a short Google form here.

Having trouble with the Google form?  Email Jennifer Morrison (jennifer@newurbanarts.org) with the following information:
· Name and category (see above) for the candidate you are nominating;
· Your name;
· The reasons why you are nominating this candidate;
· Additional information that the review panel should know.

Nominations will be kept anonymous.

Who are past winners of the Sandra Olson Awards?
2002 – Peter Hocking, Jephry Floral Studio, Marly Louis, Echoing Green Foundation
2003 – Kathleen Connolly, Jason Yoon, Gasbarro’s Wines
2004 – Jesse Banks III, White Electric, Craftland
2005 – Michael Fournier, Kedrin Frias, Jennifer Rice, Cornish Associates
2006 – Priscilla Carrion, White Whale Web Services, Tamara Kaplan, Judy Vilmain
2007- John Tabor Jacobson, Mary Adewusi, Esther Chak, Simon Moore, Jack Richter
2008 – Sarah Meyer, Myrth York, Aneudy Alba, Andrew Oesch
2009 – Deborah Obalil, Mathias Arling, Vilmain Inc., Erik Gould
2010 – Rosalia Velis, Angelo Manioudakis, Andy Cutler
2011 – CJ Jimenez, Jane Androski, Susan Smulyan, Jay Glasson, Virginia Branch
2012 – Sara Bergman, Emily Ustach, Site Specific, Emmy Bright, Noel Puello
2013—Daniel Schliefer, Adrienne Adeyemi, John Risica & Family, Holly Ewald, Caitlin Cali
2014—Derek Schusterbauer, Teal Butterworth, Julia Gualtieri, Austin O’Goffa, Providence Pizza Company

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Young people aren’t an afterthought here

The thing I most want to share with you in asking you to support New Urban Arts today is how this place becomes the centerpiece of adolescence for young people who’s adolescence is often society’s afterthought.

Carmina started hanging out at New Urban Arts last year. She’s very shy, and at first, she didn’t talk very much. She just sat alone, endlessly drawing comics.

One day last spring, she sat down at my desk. I asked how she was doing, and it all came pouring out. “My teacher yelled at me today, but it wasn’t my fault, so I yelled back at her, and I didn’t mean to get so mad, and I felt bad, and then I started crying.”  It was a school moment you probably remember; Carmina was talking to another student before class and became so absorbed that she didn’t hear her teacher bring class to order.

It was a minor scolding. Carmina even thought the teacher was right, but it was too late, she told me, because the smallest things can trigger her, and once she starts to cry, she can’t stop. Other kids make fun of her for it.  And now she was speaking to me in halting bursts between sobs. “They call me crybaby…. I don’t want to be this way…. I thought I was getting better.”

We talked for over an hour, and I learned about some of the challenges Carmina is facing. You don’t need to hear all of them, but I’ll share two that really struck me: she does have teachers that she trusts and who like her, but they never have enough time for her. And when she’s drawing, she feels like nothing painful can touch her, but her school has only one art teacher for 700 students, and Carmina doesn’t qualify for his class.

You can help us make sure that young people get plenty of time with caring adults and plenty of art in their lives. Please give.

At New Urban Arts, youth connect with others. They gain creative skills to envision their own solutions. They build lasting, positive relationships with artist-mentors and peers. Their needs are not an afterthought. So you see why young people flock here.

But right now, they’re flocking to New Urban Arts in higher numbers than ever, and we need your help to keep up with the demand.This year, we have experienced the highest attendance levels in our 18-year history. That means more young people using art supplies, needing bus passes, and eating snacks. It also means we need to add staff, so that more adults are consistently present for our youth and artist-mentors have logistical support to focus on students.

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Please give today online at: http://bit.ly/NUA-Give

Sincerely,
Daniel Schleifer, Interim Executive Director

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Can you patch social fabric?

We live in a world that emphasizes and divides us by our differences. You see these divisions play out in strong and frightening ways for the youth of our cities—particularly public school students, youth of color and those from low-income families. I know our schools are trying their hardest, but how much impact can you make when forces beyond your control are prescribing your priorities, what you can teach, and how to teach it?

That’s why we ALL need a place like New Urban Arts. Please support our work with a gift to our annual fund right now. Our youth need it because they need art in their lives, but they, you, and I also need it because it’s a version of a different kind of city, a different world—one with a different way of teaching and learning, and a different way of dealing with our differences.

If you came to Cardboard Pancakes (our annual holiday sale), you got to see one of the ways that New Urban Arts is a hub for people who genuinely want to cross all kinds of divides. When you walked in, you saw tables overflowing with art created by our students and artist-mentors, as well as artists from the wider community; you saw these diverse artists, at various stages of their lives, conversing as equals. And you saw people eager to show their appreciation for the efforts of these artists. In short, you caught a rare moment where youth who are typically excluded from public life were participating fully in it.
cardboardpancakes_1

If you think these moments should be more common, support New Urban Arts. You’ll be welcoming young people to feel like they’re part of the social fabric of our city. You’ll be building a place that takes young people seriously.
 
In the spirit of giving this season, please support New Urban Arts as we support youth creating a new world. You make a real difference. When you give to New Urban Arts, you make it easier for young people to grow, take risks and reap all the benefits that come with a life full of art.

Give today at: http://bit.ly/NUA-Give

Sincerely,
Daniel Schleifer, Interim Executive Director

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“A space that values youth voices”

When you feel heard by others, you recognize the spark of genuine connection. All young people need to experience that kind of connection; they need safe spaces to ask difficult questions and express their thoughts and feelings. More young people than ever are seeking those connections at New Urban Arts this year, and you can help us meet the growing need.  

Recent events have been a stark reminder why the community New Urban Arts builds is so crucial, and why we need a space that values youth voices. When you walk into New Urban Arts, you’ll typically see students sitting across from me at my desk, telling me about their lives and asking questions. We draw together, and while we draw together, we talk. We’ve been talking a lot about Ferguson. Our youth are asking challenging questions and processing serious concerns about how society views them.

When education is too focused on scores and quantifiable outcomes, there is not enough time during the school day for open-ended discussion and creativity. In a city where over 15,000 children are growing up in poverty and our schools are woefully underequipped in so many basic ways, asking young people how they feel, what they think, and what they would like to create has been outsourced to New Urban Arts.

We can only fill the gap with the help of donors like you. With your support, we’re here—a team of patient, caring artists—not to provide answers, but to be available, serve as a sounding board, ask questions, and above all, to take young people seriously.

I like working with an artist mentor because I feel like we have an equal opportunity to teach each other new things. No one is above the other. I don’t feel judged. I finally have a place where I can be myself and be accepted for who I am. I found a home.

– S. R., New Urban Arts student

As you know, young people at New Urban Arts work through their thoughts and feelings via the creative process. A student in our summer program recently described this experience in a college essay:

 

The nonjudgmental discussions within this program are enlightening, and learning how to translate these issues into art and writing is life-changing. When asked what I would like to see happen in this program, I find myself suggesting a collaborative art piece—something that would have previously sent me crawling back into my shell. However, this is the new me, the artist who no longer hides in her imagination, but is strengthened by it.

L.M., New Urban Arts student

This story illustrates the remarkable possibilities for young people when they have time and space to explore what matters to them and make art from it. But we need your support to create this space.

I told you that more youth are using New Urban Arts’ studio than ever—further proof that our community needs this place. So far this year, we have experienced the highest attendance levels in our 18-year history. That means more young people using art supplies, needing bus passes and eating snacks. It also means we need to add part time staff, so that more adults are consistently present for our youth—so that our artist-mentors have logistical support and can focus on students.

With your help New Urban Arts will remain a safe space for generations of Providence youth and a model for positive youth engagement nationally. Please support us as we continue to work to stake a claim for the centrality of creativity and imagination in human and community development.

Give today online at: http://bit.ly/NUA-Give

Sincerely,

Elia Gurna,
Executive Director

P.S. I hope you’ll consider monthly giving; visit www.newurbanarts.org/donate and click on Become a Monthly Sustainer.

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An Announcement from New Urban Arts

New Urban Arts announces the appointment of Daniel Schleifer as interim executive director of New Urban Arts to begin in January of 2015, with plans for an executive search to be announced at a later date.  “I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to help lead New Urban Arts as it continues to grow and serve young people and artists in Providence,”  says Schleifer. 
 
Schleifer assumes leadership of the organization after seven years of service. He began his association with NUA as a mentor.  Currently, he serves as the organization’s director of development. His appointment is upon the resignation of executive director Elia Gurna, who will be relocating to Los Angeles at the first of the year. Her husband Eric Gurna has been appointed president and CEO of LA’s Best, one of the country’s largest after school programs. 
 
The Board of Directors stated that Ms. Gurna’s leadership of NUA is noted for the inspiring and visionary direction she has provided during her time in Providence.  Her resignation is received with deep regret and warm best wishes from the New Urban Arts Board of Directors, staff, mentors, and students.

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“Me and You” Mentor Exhibition Opening Event, Friday, November 14, 5-7pm

Introducing the 2014–15 artist mentors, studio study buddies
and staff at New Urban Arts, a community arts studio where
local artists and high school students practice powerful
mentoring relationships.  This gallery opening event is free and open to the public, and takes place at our studio, 705 Westminster Street in Providence.

The exhibition will remain on view in our studio until December 12. Read more about our 2014-15 mentors.

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Sunday, December 14, 10am-5pm: Cardboard Pancakes 5 Holiday Art Sale

New Urban Arts proudly announces the 5th annual Cardboard Pancakes holiday sale!

RSVP to our facebook event here.

Cardboard Pancakes will play host to an awesome group of all-star local artists, craftspeople, and makers, in a somewhat-commercial-yet-also-sociable context. Art, crafts, prints & posters, cards, comics & zines, ceramics, jewelry, objects & curios, foodstuffs, and clothing will all be here, made by really great people.

Last-minute presents, things your friends make that you would rather buy from them in person than over the internet, unique objects, messy multiples, cheap art as well as fancy stuff… it’s all gonna be here. We hope you will be here too!

The sale will run 10am-5pm on Sunday, December 14 at our studio, 705 Westminster Street in Providence.

 

Confirmed artists so far include:

Julia Gualtieri
Walker Mettling
Sam Merritt
Muffy Brandt
Jori Ketten
Joan Wyand
Harrison Bucy
Kah Yangni
Lois Harada
Mimi Chrzanowski
Rebecca Volynsky
Catherine Marrow/Eat the Mommy
Ryan Dean
Mike Guadagni
Alejandra Peralta
Zaidee Everett
Meredith Stern
Pia Brar
Nina Ruelle
Hilary Treadwell
John Panzarella
Kelli Rae Adams
Legend Lowell
Erik Ruin
Beth Brandon
Ivy Powers
Elizabeth Novak
Mikey Hougland
Keegan Bonds-Harmon
Kristie Danis
MOO East Providence
Elizabeth Hursh
Noraa Kaplan
Ian Cozzens
 

 

 

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Friday, October 10, 5-7pm: “In-Between” 2014 Summer Programs Gallery Opening

“In-Between” is an exhibition of artworks by high school students who participated in New Urban Arts’ summer programs.  Each summer, artists, scholars, and students explore themes of human experience that intersect with creative practice.  This year’s show will highlight work from our 9th annual Art Inquiry program, Untitlement Project, Mural Team, and Corrugated Community program.  

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Mon, Aug 4 – Sat, Aug 9: Corrugated Community

New Urban Arts, Ramshackle Enterprises, and PopUp Providence present Corrugated Community, a week of FREE interactive cardboard construction in Providence’s Parks.

Stop by any day from 11am-3pm to make a flag, decorate a box, or enjoy some shade. Then, from 3-4pm, there will be guest artists holding workshops and performances.

Monday, August 4: Columbus Square Park (Elmwood and Reservoir)
Guest Artist: Len Cabral of the RI Black Storytellers
facebook event 

Tuesday, August 5: Donigian Park (Valley Street)
Guest Artist: New Urban Arts Art Inquiry Students
facebook event 

Wednesday, August 6: Riverside Park
Guest Artist: Hip Hop Dance with Sokeo Ros of Everett Stage and School
facebook event

Thursday, August 7: Burnside Park (Kennedy Plaza)
Guest Artist: Project 401
facebook event 

Friday, August 8: Armory Park
Guest Artist: The Brave New Voices Slam Team and New Urban Arts’ Untitlement Project
facebook event 

Saturday, August 9: The Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park
On the final day, we make a special appearance at the Decordova from 11am-2pm.
facebook event 

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“What do you do when they argue over supplies?”

One of our former artist-mentors told me that her cousin recently asked her, “What do you do when New Urban Arts students argue over supplies?” The question caught her off guard because at New Urban Arts, you never see students argue over art supplies.

She shared this reflection: “Supplies are not precious at New Urban Arts. There’s a culture of resourcefulness and collaboration here that exists not because anyone has posted rules about ‘sharing’ but because these qualities are so embedded into our collective practice.”

But a few days later, our director of programs told me that 68 young people applied for New Urban Arts’ summer programs this year—the most ever. It reminded me, as I hope it will remind you, just how scarce resources for youth are, even as we fight for a culture of resourcefulness.

Most Providence families can’t afford summer programs for their children. Even free programs are a stretch because our students need summer jobs. However, RI’s unemployment rate is 8.3% (the highest in the US), and it’s 11% in the neighborhoods where New Urban Arts students live, so youth are likely to spend all summer looking for jobs that they probably won’t find. That’s why New Urban Arts offers paid summer internships for youth; that’s why more students than ever have applied, and that’s why I’m asking you to help us expand our summer programs this year to meet the growing demand.

There is no better investment you can make for our city than investing in our youth.  Young people, no matter their background, deserve and need opportunities to engage meaningfully. With your help, more students will spend the summer making art, painting murals, and enriching our neighborhoods and our city with their artistic presence.

With your help, more students than ever can experience a place where there’s no reason to fight over supplies.

Sincerely,
Elia Gurna, Executive Director

P.S. Please try to give before tomorrow, when our fiscal year ends.

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2014 Summer Studio: Paid Internships in the Arts For Students

Are you a high school student or do you know one who is interested in being involved with New Urban Arts this summer? New Urban Arts is accepting applications for 36 paid summer apprenticeships in the arts. Youth receive $400 stipends for their participation or a college scholarship. Lunch, snacks and Riptiks are provided to students at no cost! For students who can’t participate in one of the paid apprenticeship programs, we also have an open studio program. Applications are due Tuesday, June 10, so download one now!

For a complete overview of the summer programs, check out our 2014 Summer Program Menu. Here are brief descriptions of our programs:

ART INQUIRY
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Thursday, July 7-August 8
Work with artist mentors Aneudy Alba and Cara Adams to create new work around this summer’s theme: “In-Between.”

UNTITLEMENT PROJECT
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Friday, July 7-August 8
Work with artist mentors Mai Nguyen and Paul Tran to explore inequities around language, privilege, and power.

MURAL TEAM
10:00-3:00pm;Monday-Thursday, July 7-August 8
Make your mark on Providence! Design and paint a large-scale public mural for the  community with artist-mentors Chris Hampson and Kedrin Frias.

CORRUGATED COMMUNITY
Time TBD Monday-Friday, July 28-August 8
The Corrugated Community is a popup collaborative public art project that will bring cardboard construction, fort building, flag festoonery, and public performances to parks in neighborhoods in Providence. Work with Artist Mentoring Fellow, Eli Nixon.

OPEN STUDIO
5:00-7:00pm; Monday-Thursday, July 7-August 8
Drop by the studio anytime to invent creative projects that only hot summer days can inspire.

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Thurs, April 10, 7pm: New Urban Arts is Seventeen – 2014 Annual Event

Share outfit ideas,  gossip about your crush of the week, and reveal your mortifying studio moments with New Urban Arts at our 17th annual fundraiser!

FEATURING: Tunes all night spun by DJ B-Day (Chris Hampson) and an InstaGLAM booth run by photographer Jesse Banks III. 

WHEN: April 10, 2014 at 7pm

WHERE: New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster Street, Providence, RI

PRICE: $20 for food, refreshments, and an open bar provided by our generous sponsors:

  • Blaze
  • El Rancho Grande
  • Pastiche, Persimmon
  • Providence Pizza Co.
  • Sin Desserts
  • The Grange
  • The Red Fez
  • Trinity Brewhouse
  • White Electric
  • Bottles Fine Wine 
  • McLaughlin & Moran

MEET: Our 2014 Sandra Olson Award Winners.

PLUS: The Silent Auction, your chance to win artwork and art experiences by local artists! Preview the silent auction items here.  

Free Parking available nearby at 325 Cahir street. 

 
This event is sponsored by: Hairspray Salon, Hope Media, Momentum Fitness, Neighborhood Health Plan, RI, Taylor & Company, Cutler & Company, and Donoghue Barrett & Singal. 
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Something we haven’t had since elementary school

Two weeks ago, I asked our student leadership team to write a letter about what they do, and they ended up explaining why you should support New Urban Arts:

“What makes the space so special to us is how contrary an environment it is to school…. Here, it’s on your own terms. New Urban Arts is nothing like a school art class, which some of our seniors haven’t had since elementary school.”

As I mentioned in my last letter to you, over the last ten years the number of art teachers in the Providence School District declined from 155 to 72; we went from one teacher for every 178 students to one for every 327 students. We all wonder what statistics really mean; if you’re the statistic, do you really notice whatever decline you’re supposed to be experiencing?

Well, our students noticed, and they’re telling us that some of them have gone at least seven years without art in school. Help us fill the void by supporting New Urban Arts.

The students’ letter explains exactly why teens need the creative time and space they find at New Urban Arts:

“There is complete creative freedom: mentors here aren’t meant to be formal teachers, but instead, help out on whatever level any student needs, from showing them a new skill to giving feedback on an independent piece of work…. No one feels pressured to be someone they are not. Perhaps most valuably, NUA is a safe space. Anybody can come; it’s anti-bullying, anti-prejudice, anti-harassment. For any time of our lives, whether happy or sad, leisure or crunch-time, NUA is the perfect place to be.”

The freedom and relief from pressure that we offer makes us the “perfect place to be,” but it also puts us at odds with afterschool funders that have become increasingly prescriptive about what we should teach and how it should align with school standards. We help young people develop all kinds of skills, but our values dictate that we don’t succeed by forcing them on our students. We succeed by responding to students’ goals:

“We also have big dreams for the future; our members imagine the studio getting a fuzzy carpet or a Velcro wall. Others think of goals for improvement, like color film development, fixing up our loom, or getting a 3-D printer, or planning activities like cake decoration and a day of finger-painting.”

You can help us make these dreams come true. Support New Urban Arts or consider becoming a monthly sustainer. Please try to give before the year ends.

Sincerely,
Elia Gurna

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Support our 2014 Annual Fund Campaign

New Urban Arts needs you. Please click the heart to the right to contribute to our 2014 Annual Campaign, or consider monthly giving options.

You know the feeling you get when you’re being creative. You’re gardening, cooking, installing a shelf, or wrapping presents; your thoughts are absorbed in the present; you’re learning; you’re creating your world and yourself, and you’re filled with a sense of accomplishment.

For Providence public school students, that feeling is increasingly rare. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of art teachers in the Providence School District declined from 155 to 72; we went from one teacher for every 178 students to one for every 327 students. 

At New Urban Arts, we believe that feeling isn’t some optional nicety; it’s a human right, vital to our development as people. Regardless of background, we all have the right to engage deeply with the world around us, and to express that engagement creatively.  So I hope you’ll donate to New Urban Arts now to instill that feeling in hundreds of youth who might not otherwise get a chance to be creative.

Something happened in our studio recently that I think illustrates what you make possible by supporting our work:

Ava is a freshman, and it was her second day at New Urban Arts. I saw her looking around uncertainly and asked, “What are you working on?”

 “I want to make prints of this drawing I did yesterday.”

 “Let’s check the board and see if any of our screen print mentors are here today.” They weren’t, but Vuthy, a senior who’s been here for three years, overheard and picked up on Ava’s disappointment.

 “You need help printing?” he asked. Ava nodded. “Have you coated a screen?” Ava looked more confused. “I don’t have time right now, but Tremell doesn’t look busy; maybe he can show you.” Vuthy turned and yelled across the room, “Hey Tremell!”

Tremell, another senior, who had been hanging out with friends in the lounge area, joined us. Vuthy explained the situation, and Tremell and Ava got to work. Two hours later, she had her first set of prints and two new friends.

Collaborative problem solving, empathy, compassion, teaching, leadership, trust, risk-taking, seeing others’ abilities–these are just a few of the skills that Ava, Vuthy and Tremell practiced that day. This is what can happen when you give young people freedom, a safe space, and a push in the right direction. This is what happens when you don’t impose rules about who can use resources, who instructs, how to learn, or what to learn.

In today’s educational climate, a youth-led space that values open-ended inquiry, messy tinkering, and collaboration is radical. Limited funding forces poor districts like Providence to cut the arts, and afterschool funders are increasingly prescriptive.They want youth programs to align with school standards; they ask us to focus on goals like Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) or workforce readiness. New Urban Arts helps young people develop these skills, but our values dictate that we don’t succeed by forcing anything upon our students.

…Tremell doesn’t look busy…

What if we required youth to “look busy” at all times? Would Ava have learned anything? Would Tremell have gained the deep understanding you get from teaching someone else? What if we were the kind of space that valued “productivity” over relationships?

That’s where YOU come in! Give now to protect the integrity of our mission and allow youth in need to have remarkable arts learning experiences. The NEA reports that low-income and minority youth, who compose the vast majority of our students, now have half as much access to arts education as in 1982. Help us continue to reverse that trend.

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Friday, December 6, 5pm-8pm: “Listener” 2013-14 Mentor Exhibition Opening Event

The mentor show introduces our 2013–14 artist mentors and mentoring fellows to our studio community. This event is sponsored by BankRI. The opening is free and open to the public, and takes place at our studio, 705 Westminster Street in Providence. RSVP to our facebook event. 

The exhibition will remain on view in our studio until December 20. Read more about our 2013-14 mentors.

Featuring work by:
Alejandra Peralta
Alexandrina Agloro
Alison Rutsch
Aneudy Alba
Cara Adams
Chris Hampson
Dailen Williams
Forrest Curl
Jacques Achille
John McGarry
Justine Mainville
Karina Esperanza Yanez
Kevin Gonsalves
Maria Canada
Mike Eng
Mimi Chrzanowski
Morgan Street
Rachel Cronin
Sydney Peak
Thuy-Mai Nguyen
Todd Stong
Tom Van Buskirk
Victoria Ruiz

Plus work by staff members:
Rick Benjamin
Elia Gurna
Tamara Kaplan
Eli Nixon
Ashley Paniagua
Daniel Schleifer

BankRI_logo

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Saturday and Sunday, December 14-15, 11am-4pm: Cardboard Pancakes 3 Holiday Art Sale

New Urban Arts proudly announces the 3rd annual Cardboard Pancakes holiday sale, sponsored by the Amgen Black Employees Network!
RSVP to our facebook event here. 

Cardboard Pancakes will play host to an awesome group of all-star local artists, craftspeople, and makers, in a somewhat-commercial-yet-also-sociable context. Art, crafts, prints & posters, cards, comics & zines, ceramics, tapes, jewlery, objects & curios, foodstuffs, and clothing will all be here, made by really great people.

Last-minute presents, things your friends make that you would rather buy from them in person than over the internet, unique objects, messy multiples, cheap art as well as fancy stuff… it’s all gonna be here. We hope you will be here too!

The sale will run 11am-4pm each day! It takes place at our studio, 705 Westminster Street in Providence. OFF-STREET PARKING will be available at the 325 Cahir Street (the old Boy Scout Building).

PLUS, on Saturday, All Saints Memorial Church (right across the street) will open its doors to youth artists from RiverzEdge Everett Company Stage and School, Providence Youth Slam, and New Urban Arts,  so you can spread your love to other great youth-serving arts organizations and see the inside of a beautiful church. Voices of Christmas, RI’s premier seasonal caroling group, will perform at both New Urban Arts and All Saints’ Memorial Church. Saturday’s performances will begin at 12:00pm at All Saints’.

12:00 – Everett Company Performers at All Saints’
1:00 – Voices of Christmas at New Urban Arts
1:30 – Voices of Christmas at All Saints’
2:00 – Providence Youth Slam at All Saints’    

2012-breakers-stairs 

Confirmed artists so far include:
Beth Brandon
Max Binder
Emmy Bright
Yolibel Gonzalez
Joan Wyand
Harrison Bucy
Kah Yangni
Catherine Marrow/Eat The Mommy
Liz Novak/ WITH CARE jewelry and wearables
Olivia Horvath
Walker Mettling
Meredith Stern
Julia Gualtieri
Sarah Clover
Katrina Clark
Rob Pecchia
Jori Ketten
Mimi Chrzanowski
Ian Cozzens
Nika Gorini
Rebecca Volynsky
Erik Ruin
Christopher Jorge
Legend Lowell and Duncan McPherson
Justine Mainville
Jenine Bressner
Seth McCombs
Muffy Brandt
Kate Holden
Caitlin Cali
Prisilla Carrion
Kedrin Frias
Aneudy Alba
Ryan Dean
Hilary Treadwell
Karina Yanez
Amanda Alvarez
Sam Merritt
Anne Reinhardt
Kristina Brown
Kelly Eident/I’m Your Present
Morgan Street
Alejandra Lindstrom Peralta
Leita Adeyemi
Ashley Paniagua
Lolade Ashamu
Katherine Salazar
Katie O’Connell
Axel Lozada
Brianna Brooks
Sheila Herrera-Solarez
Justin Figueroa
Joely Barrios
Alejandra Mayorga
Precious Capehart
Alexzene Capehart
Ava McCartin
Patcharee Phmsouvannady

Sponsored by the Amgen Black Employees Union
amgen-logo 

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Thursday, November 7, 7:15-8:30pm: Floating World: Book Release Party for Rick Benjamin

Join us to celebrate the release of Rick Benjamin’s new book of poetry, Floating World. The State Poet of Rhode Island, Rick is also an Arts Mentoring Fellow at New Urban Arts. After a short reading, books will be available for purchase with personal inscriptions. A portion of the proceeds will benefit New Urban Arts.

Read more about Floating World at Rick’s website.

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Friday, October 4, 5-8pm: “Faking It” – 2013 Summer Art Inquiry Exhibition Opening

“Faking It” is an exhibition of artworks by high school students who participated in our 8th annual Summer Art Inquiry program. Each summer, artists, scholars, and students explore themes of human experience that intersect with creative practice. This year’s theme showcases ideas of belief/doubt, forgery/fabrication, authenticity/authorship, lies/deception, and the arts of illusion and hoax.

After the opening event, the show will be on display in the gallery October 4 through November 15, 10am-6:45pm.

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With Your Help, New Urban Arts is a Summer Home

Dear Friend of New Urban Arts,

At the end of the school year, we survey our students and the most common word used to describe New Urban Arts was “home.”

We need your support to provide this home. Please give now.

As summer vacation begins, you can really understand what students mean when they call New Urban Arts home. Our summer programs don’t start for a few weeks, but if you visit, you’ll see students here anyway.

And we welcome them. They say hello to the staff; they ask for academic advice; they visit with friends from other schools. Summer is also when our alumni return from college, and they also spend a lot of time here. They make art; they see old friends; they catch up with staff and mentors.

Youth-driven community space, where teenagers of various ages and backgrounds relate freely and safely, even without the prompting of formal programs, is rare, especially when school’s out. But summer is precisely when the risks and challenges faced by low income youth are magnified, and when they most need a place like New Urban Arts.

Research tells us that during the summer kids fall behind, they disconnect from learning, fail to develop important life and academic skills, and then struggle when school starts again. Our students can’t afford the summer enrichment programs that wealthier families easily provide.

With your help, we can offer students the experiences they need. Please make sure that we can continue to serve students all summer in both formal and informal programs. Your gift will help, especially at this critical time of year, when the need is great and funding is hard to come by.

Sincerely,

Tamara Kaplan
Interim Executive Director

P.S. Please try to give before our fiscal year ends on June 30th.

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Tuesday, July 2: Shop at Seven Stars Bakery to Support New Urban Arts

On Tuesday, July 2nd, Seven Stars Bakery will host a community giving day to benefit New Urban Arts. A percentage of sales from ANY of the three Seven Stars Bakery retail stores will go straight to supporting our youth programs. If you need bread for your 4th of July party, buy it at Seven Stars. Buy bread for the rest of the month. Buy sandwiches and coffee too. It all supports New Urban Arts! RSVP to our facebook event.

Seven Stars Locations:

820 Hope Street, Providence RI 02906

342 Broadway, Providence RI 02909

Rumford Center, 20 Newman Avenue, East Providence RI 02916

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Monday, July 1, 2pm: Say Goodbye to Jesse; Say Hello to Ashley, Elia and Eric

July 1 is Jesse Banks‘ last day in the studio, when alumna Ashley Paniagua will officially take over for him. New Executive Director Elia Gurna and her husband, Eric Gurna, who will serve as our director of national engagement will also start that day.

This is a chance for students, mentors, volunteers and anyone who cares about New Urban Arts to say goodbye to Jesse and welcome Ashley, Elia and Eric!

Stop by the studio any time between 2pm and 4pm.

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An announcement from Director of Programs Sarah Meyer

After eight wonderful years working at New Urban Arts, I will be leaving at the end of this summer and moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where my husband Seth will attend the University of Michigan Masters Program in Social Work. I hope to find an exciting opportunity in Ann Arbor soon. There are many things that have played a part in this long labored decision, including a felt need to decrease the distance between our now 2½-year old son and his large and loving extended family back in the Midwest.

Though we are optimistic about our next chapter, we will dearly miss Rhode Island. To live on a street named Hope in a city named Providence has been like writing a poem – a blessed journey to share with each of you. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to Tyler, Jason, Tamara, and to everyone who has opened the path to be a part of the extraordinary community at New Urban Arts, one with expansive creative freedom and permission to risk glorious failure; one where it’s about you being you and that being the thing. It has been an incredible honor to witness Providence’s amazing pool of young people, artists, writers, educators, activists, designers, makers, seekers, doers and believers. You have been the best colleagues and mentors I could ask for. Your laughter, flexibility, forgiveness, bravery, innovation, commitment, generosity, and genuine compassion teach and refuel me everyday. Thank you.

NUA and its values will travel with me, and I hope the same is true for the connections I have made over the years. I hope to see many of you between now and the end of summer programs at New Urban Arts. My last day will be August 16. I look forward to our paths crossing in new and exciting ways unimagined yet. I also look forward to seeing NUA flourish and explore new territory under the direction of its next Director of Programs.

You will always be in my heart and on my mind.

With gratitude,
Sarah Meyer

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2013 Summer Studio: Paid Internships in the Arts For Students

Are you a high school student or do you know one who is interested in being involved with New Urban Arts this summer? New Urban Arts is accepting applications for 24 paid summer apprenticeships in the arts. Youth receive $400 stipends for their participation or a college scholarship. Lunch, snacks and Riptiks are provided to students at no cost! For students who can’t participate in one of the paid apprenticeship programs, we also have an open studio program. Applications are due Monday, June 10, so download one now!

For a complete overview of the summer programs, check out our 2013 Summer Program Menu. Here are brief descriptions of our programs:

ART INQUIRY
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Thursday, July 15-August 15
Work with artist mentors Aneudy Alba and Marguerite Keyes to create new work around this summer’s theme: “Faking It.”

UNTITLEMENT PROJECT
1:00-5:00pm; Monday-Friday, July 15-August 16
Work with artist mentors Sydney Peak and Jorge Vargas to explore inequities around language, privilege, and power.

MURAL TEAM
10:00-3:00pm;Monday-Thursday, July 22-August 16
Make your mark on Providence! Design and paint a large-scale public mural for the  community.

OPEN STUDIO
5:00-7:00pm; Monday-Thursday, July 15-August 16
Drop by the studio anytime to invent creative projects only hot summer days can inspire with artist mentors Dailen Williams and Maxine Wright.

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Fri, May 10, 4pm: Art Party 2013 Year End Celebration

Join us for a block party that marks the end of a yearlong collaboration between artists and  high school students at New Urban Arts. The event begins with a tribute to graduating seniors and culminates with a parade, fashion show, and dance party from 6:30–8:30pm.

Festivities also include an interactive art gallery, experiments in creative placemaking, cotton candy, temporary tattoos, performances, FLiP publication release, artolympics, senior tribute ceremony, DJ Micah Jackson, artmaking, food trucks, and more!

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Announcing our New Executive Director, Elia Gurna

FROM NEW URBAN ARTS BOARD CHAIR SUSAN SMULYAN AND INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TAMARA KAPLAN:

New Urban Arts has a new Executive Director, Elia Gurna! As an artist, Elia has worked in youth programs for more than a decade in both the United States and Europe. She holds a BA in German and Visual Arts from Columbia University and an MFA from Queens College, CUNY. Elia first visited New Urban Arts over a year ago at the urging of her husband, Eric Gurna. Eric met NUA as part of a team studying best practices for the federal 21st Century Community Learning grant program and felt that our program matched Elia’s commitment to youth empowerment through the arts.

In an exciting arrangement, New Urban Arts will also collaborate with Eric Gurna. Eric is founder and CEO of Development Without Limits, an organization that works with youth programs around the country. Eric will continue at DWL and will consult with New Urban Arts as Director of National Engagement.

Elia and Eric made an amazing impression when they came to Providence. In the studio, Elia got everyone moving with activities from the Brazilian activist Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed; her commitment to student-centered and political spaces moved us; and the artist mentors appreciated her continuing dedication to her own creative practice. The students loved Eric’s jokes and the Board loved his depth of experience.

The Gurnas will move to Providence, with their two young children, and start work on July 1. Details will follow about how we will welcome Elia and Eric and when you’ll have a chance to meet them. The search committee, chaired by Myrth York, did a phenomenal job and we want to thank Heather Kilmartin, Emmy Bright, Simon Moore, Brett Smiley, and C.J. Jimenez. The Board also values the work done by the staff at New Urban Arts in making sure that the organization flourished through the transition. Finally, thanks to the whole community for your help during this time.

This is an exciting moment for New Urban Arts and we are thrilled to share it with you. Please check out Elia’s artwork.

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Spring 2013 Conversations Series

New Urban Arts is excited to announce the Spring 2013 series of Conversation on Creative Practice, organized and curated by Arts Mentoring Fellows Rick Benjamin and Eli Nixon. The sixth annual series will be held at our art studio, located at 705 Westminster Street in Providence. All events take place from 7-9pm and are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Thurs, March 21: Imagination Ignition and Meaning Transmission: Films, Drawings, Prints, Puppets, Clown with Jo Dery and Eli Nixon.

Tues, March 26: Stories in Words and Paint, Murals and Songs with Valerie Tutson and Munir Mohammed

Tues, April 23: Poetry Infusion: Affirmation and Rebellion with NY performance poet Kahlil Almustafa and RI Poet Laureate Rick Benjamin

Mon, May 13: Dancing on Top of Dyslexia with Vermont choreographer Lida Winfield about balancing art, family and redefining notions of success.

Conversations are made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Mon, May 13, 7pm: Dancing on Top of Dyslexia with Vermont choreographer Lida Winfield

Join us for the last in our 2013 series of Conversations in Creative Practice.

Lida Winfield is a choreographer dedicated to using the performing arts as a tool to move herself and others forward developmentally, socially and spiritually. She strives to make the performing arts accessible and tangible for all individuals, communities and populations. She has more than twelve years experience teaching dance, theater and storytelling to diverse populations including youth at risk, refugees, homeless families, adults with disabilities, college students, professional performers and rural and urban youth. She studied improvisation abroad at The School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She has toured internationally, merging storytelling, dance and visual art to create captivating and poignant performances that invariably cause audiences to laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously.

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Conversations are made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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Tues, April 23, 7pm: Poetry Infusion: Affirmation and Rebellion with NY performance poet Kahlil Almustafa and RI Poet Laureate Rick Benjamin

Join us for the third in our 2013 series of Conversations in Creative Practice.

Kahlil Almustafa is known as the People’s Poet, whether for a mass rally of hundreds of people, a nightclub, church, university or a backyard family reunion. A published author and 2002 Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion, he mentors more than 100 young people each year from New York City’s five boroughs. His collection of 15 years of poetry, Growing Up Hip-Hop, is used in classrooms nationally from the elementary to the university level.

Rick Benjamin is Rhode Island’s State Poet Laureate and a scholar, artist and educator who currently practices art-making and learning at Brown University, RISD, Goddard College and in many other learning communities in and around Providence (among them elementary, middle, and high schools and assisted living centers).

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Conversations are made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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2013 Sandra Olson Award Winners

Holly Ewald, board member and former artist-in-residence
Holly has worked tirelessly with New Urban Arts’ students, staff and board since 2002, first as an artist-in-residence and currently as a board member. As artist-in-residence, she initiated our annual mail art exchange. Holly is a studio and community artist who works in a variety of media, including artist books, collage, monoprints, mail art and installation. Originally from Michigan, she lived in Brooklyn for 15 years before moving to Pawtuxet Village so her twin boys could dig in the dirt. She is founder of the Urban Pond Procession, which celebrates and promotes stewardship of Providence ponds. Holly has also worked with folklorist Michael Bell to develop Voices and Visions, a hands-on community arts and humanities projects that creatively document the history, folk life, and oral traditions of Pawtuxet Village.

The Risica Family, founders of the Jeanne Risica Fund for Art Education
The Risicas founded the Jeanne Risica Fund for Art Education, which exclusively benefits New Urban Arts, in memory of Jeanne Risica, who died in December 2010, shortly after her first solo show in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The Risica family generously seeded this fund, and pledged that all proceeds from future sales of her paintings would benefit New Urban Arts. Her brother, John Risica, notes, “To Jeanne, art was a driving force and a reason to be. She sacrificed material comfort in the pursuit of her work.” Jeanne was one of the original artists in residence at AS220 in Providence, and worked for the Art Students League of New York. A 1983 graduate of Marlboro College, she studied classical portraiture with painter Frank Stout and studied abroad in Italy, where she began exhibiting paintings of landscapes, figures and portraits as well as more abstract work. For many years, Jeanne collaborated with poet Ron Ottaviano, and by 1995 was represented at the Dillon Gallery in SoHo. Her paintings have been shown in Korea, Venezuela, Italy, Belgium, and New York. She was a recipient of several grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, including a travel grant that brought her to Savannah, Georgia, where she created a mural at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She also created a mural for Riverside Mills in Providence. To view paintings available for sale, please visit bit.ly/RisicaPaintings or contact John@welovelofts.com.

Daniel Schleifer, development director and founder, Studio Study Buddy Program
Dan first came to New Urban Arts in 2007 to pilot our Studio Study Buddy tutoring program and now serves as our Development Director, a role in which he helped successfully shepherd New Urban Arts’ capital campaign and has grown the annual campaign fund to record levels. Dan received his BA in Ethnic Studies from Brown University in 2004 and is a founding member, Sousaphonist, and composer in the What Cheer? Brigade, an 18-member brass band that tours internationally while remaining a local institution. In 2011, he received the prestigious MacColl Johnson fellowship in music composition from the Rhode Island Foundation. In 2006, he served as field director of the Rhode Island Right to Vote Campaign, a successful effort to amend the Rhode Island Constitution by referendum to extend voting rights to individuals on probation and parole.

Caitlin Cali, alumni artist mentor and volunteer
Caitlin served as an artist-mentor from 2008-2012, and went above and beyond to support students, particularly as a mentor to the Studio Team Advisory Board. She has chaperoned trips, installed art shows and been an indispensable source of support to our program staff. She received her BFA in Printmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and completed a year of graduate courses in Art Education at the University of Massachusetts. She has taught or worked at the Providence Comics Consortium, the Avatar Central Day Program, Nantucket Island School of Design and Art, Pyramid Atlantic, Zea Mays, and the Edward Gorey House Museum. Currently, she serves as the visuals director at AS220 Youth Studios.

Adrienne Adeyemi, artist mentor and alumni student
Adrienne first came to New Urban Arts as a student in 2002. Since then, she has been a committed volunteer and now serves as a photography artist mentor. She has also served as an intern and interim operations manager. She received her BA in Film Studies and Photography in 2010 and her MPA in 2011, both from Clark University in Worcester, MA. While at Clark she was awarded the Steinbrecher Fellowship, a research grant that sent her to Nigeria for the first time to visit her family and photograph her travels through the country, culminating with an exhibition and publication. Adrienne worked at the Rhode Island School of Design last year as an Americorps Vista supporting the Public Engagement Network. She currently serves as the Business Manager at the Manton Avenue Project.

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Thurs, April 11, 7pm: Living the Future – Our 16th Annual Fundraiser Event

Step into our time machine and join us for our 16th annual fundraiser, a sci-fi celebration of all the things that make New Urban Arts the future, presented by Citizens Bank and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.

WHEN: April 11, 2013 at 7pm

WHERE: New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster Street, Providence, RI

PRICE: $20 for food and refreshments from Persimmon, El Rancho Grande, Trinity Brewhouse, Sin Desserts, Fertile Underground, White ElectricProvidence Pizza Company, McLaughlin and Moran, and more!

MEET: Our 2013 Sandra Olson Award Winners.

PLUS: The Silent Auction, your chance to win artwork and art experiences by local artists Emmy Bright, Ian Cozzens, Alec Thibodeau, Hilary Treadwell and over 30 others!

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Tues April 9, 5pm: Learning 401

New Urban Arts’ friends Andy Cutler and Jen Silbert ask you

“WHAT’S YOUR MOST POWERFUL LEARNING STORY?”

And what do these stories teach us about what powerful learning IS and CAN BE for Providence – and the roles we all can play in making it happen?

One storyteller at a time, no more than 5 minutes each, personal examples of powerful learning moments are shared in ways that humanize and connect, shining the light on what everyone can do—strides short or long—to further catalyze innovation in Rhode Island education.

Building on the national Save Our Schools (SOS) movement to put the “public” back in public schools, Sam Chaltain’s Faces of Learning campaign, and the video series launch of “A Year at Mission Hill” in Boston, this “Learning 401” series brings together students, their families, educators, administrators, policy makers, employers, community leaders, and residents – anyone and everyone who knows learning and therefore has a voice in helping to advance it.

So spread the word, invite your family and friends, and prepare to be inspired.

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For more info:
Jen Hetzel Silbert
jhsilbert@gmail.com
@jhsilbert #Learning401

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Tues, March 26, 7pm: Stories in Words and Paint, Murals and Songs with Valerie Tutson and Munir Mohammed

Join us for the second in our 2013 series of Conversations in Creative Practice.

Valerie Tutson has been telling stories in schools, churches, libraries, festivals and conferences since 1991 and designed her own major as an undergraduate at Brown University, Storytelling as a Communications Art. Valerie. She draws her stories from around the world with an emphasis on African traditions. She not only delights listeners with her tale-telling, she also teaches workshops and classes to students of all ages, and hosts Cultural Tapestry, an award-winning show for COX 3 celebrating the diverse cultures around us. Valerie has most recently served as the co-Director of the National Black Storytelling Festival in Providence.

Munir Mohammed was born in Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa. He is an educator and muralist whose media include oils, acrylics, water color, pastels, pen and ink, and wash. He has taught community art projects at numerous centers for students of various ages.

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Conversations are made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Thurs, March 21, 7pm: Imagination Ignition and Meaning Transmission: Films, Drawings, Prints, Puppets, Clown with Jo Dery and Eli Nixon.

Join us for the first in our 2013 series of Conversations in Creative Practice.

Jo Dery is an interdisciplinary artist who experiments with storytelling. Her works include animated films and videos, drawings, prints, illustration, installation projects, and artist/small-press book publications. Her animations have screened at festivals nationally and internationally. Most recently, she designed an installation project for the DeCordova Museum Biennial, at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Massachusetts. She is Assistant Professor of Animation, DePaul University School of Cinema and Interactive Media, Chicago, IL.

Eli Nixon is an interdisciplinary artist who works under the name Ramshackle Enterprises. Since 1998 Eli has been writing, building, performing, and touring her own solo clown and puppet shows, collaborating with other artists, and frequently facilitating the creation of puppet parades, pageants, and performances with groups of children and adults. Eli has worked with Pig Iron Theatre and Spiral Q (Philadelphia), Red Moon Theater (Chicago), Bread and Puppet Theater (VT), and Big Nazo Puppets (RI).  Eli has been an artist-in-residence at dozens of schools, senior centers, and addiction recovery and mental health facilities, and has worked extensively with community groups, camps, and after-school programs.

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Conversations are made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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2013 Sandra Olson Award – Call for Nominations

We are now collecting nominations for the 2013 Sandra Olson Award. New Urban Arts introduced this annual award in 2002 to recognize individuals and organizations who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to New Urban Arts. Board members, staff, artist mentors and students can nominate candidates, people who share extraordinary contributions of time, expertise, money, energy or support—often without solicitation—going beyond what is asked of them in support of New Urban Arts and its mission.

Please download the Call For Nominations form for more information and email your nominations to julia@newurbanarts.org. Nominations are due by Monday, February 25, 2013. 

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Thurs, Feb. 7 3:30-6:30pm – Crossfit Providence hosts WOD for New Urban Arts

Our neighbors at Crossfit Providence, 425 Washington Street, will host a Workout of the Day (WOD) benefitting New Urban Arts on Thursday, February 7. Part of the workout will involve making art at New Urban Arts! Proceeds will go to the Jeanne Risica Fund for Art Education, a Rhode Island Foundation fund exclusively benefiting New Urban Arts. The Risica family established the fund in 2011 in memory of Jeanne Risica, a Rhode Island artist who passed away in 2010, shortly after her first solo show in New York City. John Risica, Jeanne’s brother, is an athlete at Crossfit Providence, as is New Urban Arts Development Associate Dan Schleifer.

Here’s a reflection from Dan on the common philosophies behind New Urban Arts and Crossfit:

You may ask yourself, what’s the connection between an art studio for high school kids and Crossfit?

At first glance, they look really different. When you enter Crossfit Providence, you’ll typically see 18 athletes who all appear to be doing the same thing. When you enter New Urban Arts, you’ll see 35 high schoolers who appear to be doing 100 different projects.

But these are both communities built around a passion—and the belief that we can better all aspects of our lives by pursuing that passion, whether it’s art or athletics. Both of these communities sustain their members with what they offer, as long as the members commit to being present.

So I’ll probably never crack 5 minutes on Fran*, but that’s not the point. Josh B (Crossfit Providence’s head coach) says, “come 3 -5 times per week and good things happen,” and he’s right; when I come regularly, I feel better; I’m more energized, and I have more mental acuity.

It’s the same at New Urban Arts; most of our students don’t go on to arts school. However, once they start showing up and connecting with mentors through this community, good things happen. I’m reminded of Abel, who grew up in the Hartford Projects, started coming here as a high school freshman, graduated from college and returned to New Urban Arts to mentor other youth before starting his own business this year. Here’s what he says about the role of New Urban Arts in his life: “I probably wouldn’t have attended college without New Urban Arts, and that was all free stuff that came in addition to the art.”

And Abel is just one of the many lives that this arts studio has transformed. So I hope you’ll participate in the WOD for New Urban Arts. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and you’ll be helping transform the lives of some local young people who don’t have many opportunities.

-Dan Schleifer

*Fran is the name a of a Crossfit benchmark workout.

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You’re allowed to write on the walls

My name is CJ. I was a student at New Urban Arts. Now I’m a mentor and donor. I’m asking you to support New Urban Arts because youth from my background need a place where we can write on walls.

My entire life, I’ve lived in small apartments where we didn’t have lots of space. I couldn’t write on the walls because we didn’t own our home. I could never make noise because I couldn’t wake up my neighbors.

In primary school, I got in trouble all the time for talking when I wasn’t supposed to talk, writing when I wasn’t supposed to write, or being where I wasn’t supposed to be. In high school, that feeling increased tenfold.

Then I found New Urban Arts—a space where anything I was doing was what I was supposed to be doing, a space where I was allowed to play and ask questions.

The things you learn in that kind of space stay with you.
I asked one of my mentors at New Urban Arts a question he couldn’t answer. “I don’t know,” he said. “Want to go look it up together?” It was the first time I saw adulthood as a state of learning, not a state of perfection. It made adulthood seem real and accessible. It made high school, and all the decisions I had to make, a lot less scary.

I overheard a mentor talking to someone about me. She was re-telling something I told her; she said I had challenged her and changed her thinking. It was the first time I heard an adult talk about me with admiration. It made me feel useful.

When you’re a young person growing up in small apartments, it is so rare to find a place that says, “you deserve freedom.” Freedom to write on walls, ask questions and challenge adults. When you find that place, you want to make sure it’s there for others like you.

That’s why I now volunteer as a mentor here. That’s why I give what I can to the annual campaign. And it’s why I’m asking you give as well.

Sincerely,
CJ Jimenez




P.S. Here are more of my thoughts on why our students need New Urban Arts.

P.P.S. Here’s some artwork I made as a student at New Urban Arts; it reflects on some of the same questions.

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Support our 2013 Annual Fund Campaign

New Urban Arts needs you. Please click the heart to the right to contribute to our 2013 Annual Campaign, or consider monthly giving options.

Dear Friend:
All young people deserve to come of age in a community that nurtures them and encourages them to dream big. When you support New Urban Arts, you build that community for hundreds of youth who wouldn’t otherwise get the chance.

The National Endowment for the Arts released a study last year on the link between the arts and achievement for at-risk youth. The results won’t surprise you: “Students who have arts-rich experiences do better across-the-board academically, and they also become more active and engaged.” By supporting New Urban Arts, you feed this dynamic. Here, high school students develop their unique voices, form positive relationships with peers and adult mentors, and graduate on a path toward post-secondary education—all through the arts. 

But the chance for creative participation is increasingly rare for youth who need it most. The NEA reports that low-income and minority youth now have half as much access to arts education as in 1982. We’re seeing the results of this firsthand; 90% of our students come from low-income households, and 85% are youth of color.

You can guess the effects of artistic deprivation on them. Sara, a recent New Urban Arts grad and current college student, wrote that before coming to New Urban Arts: “I used to be shy and not have a lot of confidence in my abilities. My days consisted of just working and walking home and just locking myself into my room . . . I wanted something more.

You can fill the void; you can give “something more.” You can give youth the support they need to achieve more than they ever thought possible. Sara writes:

I remember my first day at NUA; I was greeted by a hug, by a total stranger. I was compelled to hug back. That’s how strong the emotions and feelings are here at NUA. It is just a wave of compassion, care and love. I built relationships with people and gained friends and what I now call my family. It was a place where my artistic abilities were allowed to flourish.

This is a place in which I could become anything I wanted to be, my hopes and dreams were inspired to become a reality. From that day on I came to NUA every single day.

Sara is now a freshman at Salem College in North Carolina, on a full art scholarship. Donors made her journey possible by connecting Sara with the artist mentors she worked with at New Urban Arts. She honed her painting and illustration skills, while developing leadership abilities by organizing events for her fellow students as a member of the Studio Team Advisory Board. One of her mentors, Emily Ustach, a Salem graduate, helped her apply for her scholarship. Emily writes:

I know that it wasn’t an easy decision for Sara to go to Salem. Salem is a long way  from home . . . but I also like to think that having built a trusting relationship with me at New Urban Arts, helped her to feel comfortable taking the risk to move away to another state for college.

It’s that comfort in taking risks that makes her artwork so strong. It’s what made her an attractive candidate for a scholarship. And it’s what makes her and all New Urban Arts students special. Students take risks everyday, New Urban Arts makes taking those risks easier, it gives students daily practice in risk taking.

Sometimes we can’t believe that the Sara we know today is the same person who walked into the studio four years ago, but it’s so important to remember her as she was because there are thousands of other youth like her out there, yearning for “something more,” eager for a place to take risks and use their creativity to launch themselves into life.

And sadly, the chance that the youth we serve will find this place in school is slimmer than ever. Last year, 75% of Providence public schools didn’t meet yearly progress benchmarks for reading and math, and the district has been in No Child Left Behind intervention status for over 10 years. Considering scarce school funding, arts education will continue to suffer.

So we need your support more than ever. When you give to New Urban Arts, you make it easier for young people to grow, take risks and reap all the benefits that come with a life rich in art.

Sincerely,
Susan Smulyan and Teal Butterworth,
New Urban Arts Board of Directors




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Sat-Sun, December 15-16, 2012, 11am-4pm: Cardboard Pankakes! A Winter-Time Studio Sale

Come to Cardboard Pankakes, New Urban Art’s annual Winter Studio Sale! Purchase inexpensive gifts and goodies in the form of arts, crafts, prints, drawings, clothing, jewelry & neat handmade stuffs made by mentors, students and friends of the studio. A portion of the proceeds will benefit New Urban Arts!

In addition to all the fabulous work of participating artists, NUA will be offering limited edition print releases by studio alumni. We will have letterpress cards by Lois Harada, alumni mentor.  These cards feature excerpts from students artists statements and are available with envelopes both individually and in sets. Also available is a fabulous (and fuscia!) new screen-print by Priscilla Carrion, alumni student & mentor. Priscilla’s multicolored print is a floating world landscape featuring NUA students reflections it will be available – sliding scale- for $45-$150+
 
So come support NUA and check out the rad work of: Caitlin Cali, David Colannino, Liz Novak (With Care Jewelry), Walker Mettling (Rad Party), Katrina Silander Clark, Catherine Marrow (Eat the Mommy), Delia Kovac, Adj Marshall (Justice Recylced), Muffy Brandt, Ian Cozzens (Secret Door Projects), Anne Reinhardt, Jess Fields, Olivia Horvath, Jori Ketten, Joan Wyand, Harrison Bucy, Priscilla Carrion, Rob Pecchia, Beth Brandon, Cathy G. Johnson, Michelle Chrzanowski,  Girls Rock! Rhode Island, Noraa Kaplan, Karen Falvey (Karen’s Cozy Covers), Emmy Bright, Kedrin Alexander Frias, Maggie Keith & MORE!
 
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December 7, 2012, 5-8pm: Tuned In – Mentor Exhibition Opens – Sponsored by Bank Rhode Island

Tuned In is the opening event for our annual show of artist-mentor artwork, which will formally introduce the 2012–13 artist mentors and mentoring fellows to our wider community. Please join us, and help us send off our departing Executive Director Jason Yoon with a special farewell on his last day!

Tuned In is sponsored by a generous contribution from Bank Rhode Island. This event is free and open to the public. The exhibition will remain on view in our gallery through December 17. New Urban Arts is located at 705 Westminster Street in Providence.

RSVP to our Facebook event here.

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An announcement from our Executive Director and the Board Chair

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 

Dear friend,

I’m writing to let you know that after nearly five amazing years as the Executive Director of New Urban Arts, I will be returning to New York to join the senior staff of  the Queens Museum of Art where I will take on the position of Director of Education.

In this role I will oversee all of the museum’s education programs which include teen, after-school, school, family, teacher, access programs and more. Like New Urban Arts, the Queens Museum of Art is nationally recognized as a leader and innovator in using the arts to bring together and engage diverse communities. I am very excited to build on the work I’ve done at New Urban Arts at this cutting-edge museum.

I will start my new position on December 17, 2012 and my last day at New Urban Arts will be December 7th, the day of our annual Artist Mentor Exhibition opening. This is fitting as being an artist mentor remains the most important position I have ever had and is what sparked my long relationship with New Urban Arts.

I am very pleased that New Urban Arts is in the hands of a thoughtful, passionate and engaged board of directors led by Board Chair Susan Smulyan and a talented staff who will build on the work that we have done together. Many of you also know that the most important people stewarding New Urban Arts are our current and alumni youth and artist mentors, who I know will collectively ensure that this community thrives long into the future.

I personally invite you to join me this Friday October 5, from 5-7PM at New Urban Arts for our first exhibition opening of the 2012-13 school year.

In gratitude,

Jason Yoon
Executive Director
jason@newurbanarts.org

FROM THE BOARD CHAIR

Dear friend,

All of us at New Urban Arts wish Jason the best and thank him for his leadership and friendship. For us, it seems a logical next step for him and we’re so proud that the important work he’s done at New Urban Arts is recognized nationally – especially by the Queens Museum which provides such a wonderful model of community work.

This is a good time for us to look back at what has been accomplished in the nearly five years of Jason’s tenure as executive director. At a time when nonprofits struggle to meet growing needs with limited resources, New Urban Arts has not only held steady but thrived. Growing and persistent economic pressures have hit the young people and families we work with very hard. But we have grown our operating budget, continued to deeply engage youth and artist mentors in our core programs, raised growing amounts of funding through our Annual Campaign, and, maybe most importantly, secured our future by buying a permanent home for New Urban Arts.

We are now close to paying off the mortgage on our new and beautiful building in the neighborhood that New Urban Arts has been so instrumental in bringing to life through a one million dollar Capital Campaign. (BTW: we are in the middle of a 1:1 matching challenge grant from the Prospect Hill Foundation, so NOW is a GREAT time to make your capital campaign contribution, or even your second or third one….).

New Urban Arts, because of our work together in the last few years, is an undisputed leader and model for communities around the country. In the last five years, through national awards, opportunities to present and share our work, publications, emerging leader institutes, and innovative research and documentation projects we are slowly shifting our national dialogue on the role that young people, the arts, and artists can AND should play in bringing about the kind of society for which we all hope.

Our organization is built on the strong foundation that you have laid and that makes me confident about the future. I am excited that Tamara Kaplan, our operations manager and former program director has agreed to serve as interim executive director beginning December 7th. We are also grateful that Past Chair of the Board, Myrth York is leading a search committee for the next executive director. We are conducting a national search and so do keep an eye out for the job posting and share it widely.

We will miss Jason but the success of New Urban Arts has come about because of the leadership and talent of people at every level throughout the organization. With your help and support, we are confident that New Urban Arts will thrive through this transition.

Sincerely,

Susan Smulyan
Chair, Board of Directors

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Providence high school students! Come to our Open House weeks, Oct 1 – 11!

Our Open House runs:
Monday – Thursday, October 1 – 4 and 9 – 11
3PM – 6PM 
 
Meet new and returning artist mentors/students, take a tour of our studio and gallery, attend a student orientation, and sign-up for our FREE arts mentoring program which begins Oct 16!

Through our programs, students can practice photography, film, creative writing, fashion design, sculpture, painting, drawing, silkscreening, printmaking and many other art forms. We also offer homework assistance and academic support through our volunteer Studio Study Buddies.   

The program has a flexible schedule and can accommodate students’ busy lives after-school. Our art studio is open Monday through Friday from 3 – 7PM between October 16, 2012 to May 17, 2013. 

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Invitation to Art Inquiry Exhibition opening October 5, 5-7PM

New Urban Arts kicks off its gallery season with an art exhibition featuring work by students created this summer during our 7th annual Art Inquiry program. Each summer, New Urban Arts brings together artists and high school students for a thematic exploration of the human experience as it intersects with creative practice. 

This year’s theme was mythology. These new works explore fictional worlds, imaginary creatures, origin stories, hero archetypes, folktales and the evolutions of our own personal mythology. We’ll also be opening the first of a series of time capsules which were hidden inside the structures of our new building!

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Announcing our 2012-2013 Arts Mentoring Fellows: Rick Benjamin and Eli Nixon!

Please join us in welcoming our Arts Mentoring Fellows for the 2012-13 year: Rick Benjamin and Eli Nixon! New Urban Arts awards fellowships annually to two established artists and educators in a yearlong position to: (1) support the team of artists who mentor high school students in our award-winning free out-of-school arts programs; (2) share publicly artwork or ideas about community arts practice reflective of New Urban Arts pedagogy, and (3) work as an artist-in-residence in New Urban Arts’ studio. Executive Director Jason Yoon says,

Rick and Eli are both experienced and talented artists, educators with a long track records of integrating their work as artists and educators towards the purpose of community empowerment, which at our core, is what New Urban Arts is about. Eli and Rick have long relationships and histories with our organization and, as a pair, collectively balance fresh new perspectives that will push us while also bringing a necessary familiarity and affinity for our work. They will help New Urban Arts and the City of Providence continue to be on the cutting edge of helping artists play key roles in community and youth development.

The Arts Mentoring Fellowship program is designed to be rotating, among other reasons, in order to help us stay fresh and passionate and innovative within our mission and values. We are really excited to continue working with our most recent Arts Mentoring Fellows, Kedrin Frias and Emmy Bright, in new and interesting ways.

Read more about Rick and Eli.

 

Stewardship: A Poem from Mid Year Makings by Student Brigette Larmena

Dear artists. Welcome to the world of art. You will find the answer to every question your school teacher couldn’t answer. The truth of life will be revealed to you, as you will be the creator. You are god. You hold the power to mold and make. You have the power, for you are an artist. 

Dear artist, beware. Do not be fooled. The norms do not apply to you. Understand the rules are meant to be broken. Coloring outside of the line is too mainstream. Burn the line and draw a new one. Disregard the naysayers, they doubt because they have not come into themselves. We are the leaders of revolutions, though a hard task, the end result is more than worth it. 

Dear artists. Connect, find others. There are millions of other artists just waiting to be found. Combine and express. It is your birth right. 

Dear artists. Thank you for bringing beauty into the world. You are gods. Art is life. 

– Brigette Larmena

Texture

“This was a great hands-on workshop”

“Interesting teachers, participants, and projects”

“I liked having a student participate with us. Just the right touch!”

“Personal depthful applicable nurturing”

-Teacher feedback

New Urban Arts Artist Mentor Anne Reinhardt and senior student Noel Puello led a professional development workshop for Providence art teachers on the use of texture in design. Noel discussed his work, his use of light, color and nontraditional materials:

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Loud, outspoken, amazing and myself.

Love by Dakota, pictured above

I believe what’s unique about New Urban Arts is that it gives young people a sense of empowerment; that they are truly capable to creatively think and problem solve.

-Karen, artist mentor

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A House Is Not a Home by Legend

The kids blossom here because they aren’t censored and can express themselves in ways they might not be able to at home and definitely not at school.

-Dailen, studio assistant and alum

 

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Chandelier by Noel 

I want to be loud, outspoken, I want to be amazing, and I want to be myself.

-Noel, high school senior

What life is about

My name is James, I used be known by Ashley and I’m a 2009 New Urban Arts alumnus. I’m writing to ask you to support a place that’s made a big difference in my life.

I went through most of high school thinking I was unusual. I was shy and awkward. But as soon I as I walked into New Urban Arts I knew it was the space and the community I wanted to grow in. I joined two writing mentoring groups. The next year, I dove headfirst into photography and learned that I was actually pretty good at it.

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My piece in New Urban Arts 2009 summer program

New Urban Arts was the place I truly found myself.

Most importantly, I took away things here that school couldn’t teach me: like how to make friends with someone completely different than you, how never to give up on something even if all the doors are locked (because you can always build a new one), and how to build a fort to fit at least ten people in. I learned that sometimes, it’s okay not to know what’s going to happen, because finding out is really what life is about.

Now I’m a junior at Guilford College triple majoring in political science, gender studies, and philosophy with a minor in photography. I’ve spent my summers here at New Urban Arts as an intern, mentor and volunteer. I want to help more young people have the same opportunities I’ve had.

Growing up here in Providence, I know firsthand how hard it can be for young people. How few inspiring places there are for youth. 

You can support New Urban Arts and make a real difference.

We need your support. Every gift, big or small, keeps our doors open. I hope you’ll join me in supporting New Urban Arts’ annual campaign before the year ends.

a. James Escobedo
New Urban Arts graduate, 2009

My classroom

I’m Paul Tavarez and I was a student at New Urban Arts. I’ve made a personal donation this year and I’m asking you to help keep New Urban Arts open.

Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. Maybe like you, I was used to classrooms where students sat in rows looking at teachers for all the answers. As a Dominican boy growing up in inner-city Providence, I thought that’s the way things were.

But New Urban Arts introduced me to the radical possibility of creativity in my education. I signed up for everything, eventually settling on photography and poetry. The artist mentors here changed my self-image. They helped me see that what mattered wasn’t my natural ability, but the effort I put in and the risks I was willing to take.

Now I’m a senior at Grinnell, a college I never dreamed I could afford. I’ve come back and mentored young men in New Urban Arts’ summer program.

And I still want to be a teacher. But instead of my students looking at me for all the answers, New Urban Arts has inspired me to imagine a different classroom.

Please join me in donating to New Urban Arts’ annual campaign. We can’t do this without you. I’m a college student on scholarship aid, I don’t have a lot of money. But I give what I can because I know it matters.

And I hope you will too.

Sincerely,

Paul Tavarez

New Publication Available!

New Urban Arts has published a new resource guide for educators, artists and young people that details curriculum from a thematic based summer arts program for high school students. The annual Summer Art Inquiry at New Urban Arts invites scholars, artists and high school students to spend July and August collectively exploring a common theme from a multi-disciplinary standpoint including research, art-making, creative writing and personal inquiry. Themes change each summer and explore the human experience as it intersects with creative practice. This summer’s theme was PLACEMAKING, including explorations of home.

The publication’s format allows readers to adapt activities from our Summer Art Inquiry into any educational environment or individual artist’s creative practice.

The Program Resource Guide from the 2011 Art Inquiry is available for purchase online at cost value. The 80 page paperback book (7.44″ x 9.68″) with saddle-stitch binding and full-color interior ink costs $21.50. To buy a copy of the book, visit our Lulu store here

The resource guide can be downloaded at no cost from our website, www.newurbanarts.org

View photos from our 2011 Art Inquiry here!

Threaded Together: Artist Mentors opening in our gallery Friday, December 9 from 5pm-8pm

Each year, over 20 artists volunteer more than 4,000 hours to work with high school students as Artist Mentors at New Urban Arts. Please join us this Friday as they introduce their creative practice to our studio community through an exhibition of their artwork. 

This exhibition opens Friday, December 9th, from 5-8 pm at 705 Westminster Street. The gallery opening event is free and open to the public. This year, we are honored to have such wonderful artists dedicated to our students.

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Placemaking: Explorations in Home, summer 2011 Art Inquiry exhibition, opens Friday, October 28, 5-7PM

New Urban Arts kicks off its gallery season with an art exhibition featuring work by students created this summer during our sixth annual Art Inquiry program. Each summer, New Urban Arts brings together artists and high school students for a thematic exploration of the human experience as it intersects with creative practice.

This art exhibition will kick-off in our new gallery on October 28, from 5-7pm, at 705 Westminster Street in Providence, RI.

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Become an Artist Mentor at New Urban Arts

Each fall, New Urban Arts selects 20 Artist Mentors to participate in our community art studio for high school students and emerging artists. Artist Mentors volunteer 6 hrs per week November 2011 through May 2012 to mentor high school students in developing a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. 

Arts mentoring at New Urban Arts is a wonderful opportunity for artists and educators to learn how to effectively work with high school students in a community setting. Artist Mentors participate in a yearlong professional development program to support their growth as an artist and educator and are required to attend two weekend retreats held in Fall and Winter. 

This year, New Urban Arts is looking for artist mentors in the following disciplines: drawing, painting, fashion design, printmaking, sculpture, installation, film/animation, graphic design, web design, music, sound recording, radio, poetry, digital and darkroom photography, art therapy, dance, yoga, mixed media, bookmaking and textiles. We are not limited to these media and are open to accommodate other media in our studio. We are also looking for tutors in math, science and writing.

2011-12 Artist Mentor Applications are here

Applications are due October 11, 2011. 

For more information, visit an Open House on Thursday Oct 6 from 5-7pm at New Urban Arts, located at 705 Westminster Street in Providence.

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HO HO TO KENNEDY PLAZA WE GO!

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As part of the Art Inquiry this summer, which explored creative placemaking, we embarked on a very special journey of creating an Art Skills Share Market in Kennedy Plaza. 

On August 2nd, we packed up the car, grabbed a sign and boxes o’ magic, which contained various art making supplies- love, ink, parachute poems, luck, book making supplies, mystery, paint markers, excitement, chalk, and not knowing what was going to happen, but certainty that it was going to be wonderful.

After two weeks of delving into our study on “place making,” which included field trips of mills turned into sacred spaces and gypsy caravan case studies, it was our turn to turn the flat grasses of Kennedy Plaza into a place of discovery, creativity, and opportunity both for the young artists of the Inquiry program, as well as the children, parents, and chillin’ folks in KP. 

The spices we used in cooking up our traveling skills share caravan included a special visit from Eric Rice, a local artist and designer who recently won a nationwide fort building competition held by director Spike Jonze and Booooooom! to celebrate the opening of “Where the Wild Things Are,” the children’s book, Roxaboxen, written by Alice Mclerran and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, about a group of kids who transform an empty hill into a city, and the the documentary Gypsy Caravan, which is in the story of the nomadic offerings and experiences of Roma musicians.

Artists worked in teams to design, build, and execute various skills share stations. Tremell headed up a calligraphy station next to Legend who gracefully taught how to make parachute poems, inspired by the soldiers deployed overseas right now. Sara, Yoli, and Mandara lead people in bookmaking on a lovely cloth that they set up to look like a magic carpet! Sherly and Ashley set up an awesome chalk station with the skyline of Providence and opportunity for people to change what they wanted in the city. Naomy and Dakota strutted their skills with some sweet street art. Maddie, Aaron, and Divine took the ground to the next level with a makeshift dance floor and taught moves and grooves! A place was born. We were invited back to Kennedy Plaza and eagerly await our next nomadic skills share possibly sometime this Spring. 

Special thanks to Greater Kennedy Plaza for having us!

Moving Parade

Last week, NUA on the Move organized the New Urban Arts moving parade. We formed a human chain and in 20 minutes of passing boxes, bins, books and crates, after the dust had settled, we moved a ton of stuff into our new home.jketten-8521

Thank you Artist Mentor Jori Ketten for this and many other pictures soon to come on our flickr page. To see some video of the parade by student alumni Liz K., check out our facebook page.

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Dakota moving his summer project.

Thank you everyone that came out to help–it was a beautiful and fun afternoon. And it made a big difference. Big, big congratulations to NUA on the Move for their great work!

Summer Art Inquiry Visits Witchclub

Hello dear New Urban Arts fans, friends and family! This is Sarah Greenfield, one of the mentors for this year’s Summer Art Inquiry on the theme “placemaking.” Our program ended last Thursday with a final critique of students’ individual projects—if you want to see them (and you really do), keep your eyes peeled for the invite to our show in October! 

Many of their independent projects were inspired by a field trip we took the first week, a visit to a collective living art studio in Providence constructed entirely out of found and recycled materials called “Witch Club.” I’d never seen anything like it, and I’m pretty sure neither had any of the Inquiry students. 

As the students looked around, eyes getting wider and smiles getting bigger every second, we realized what a gift we’d been given—access to a secret and magical place. We created some gift art in advance as a thank you to WC for inviting us into their home, and one of the first things I saw as I walked in the door was one of our students handing a bouquet of painted paper flowers to a WC member. 

The WC members led us past rooms constructed from discarded wood and fabric, boxes full of art supplies, musical instruments, makeshift furniture, and projects-in-progress, to the center of their community space. There, they offered us tea and homemade fritters, and after we’d all introduced ourselves, WC explained the history and intentions of the space and answered questions. 

The conversation we had then—about the power of creating your own home; about people (particularly people socialized female in this culture) reclaiming the act of building, and teaching themselves the skills of carpentry and other traditionally male-centered forms of construction; about the benefits and drawbacks of living in ways that are considered outside the norm; about how hard it is to share space and how beautiful it can be to welcome people in; about making art every day; about not giving up on the dreams you had for your life when you were too young to “know better”—was a conversation I will never forget. 

The diversity of age, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender, and general life experience in all the members of that conversation created a rare cultural exchange. This kind of learning, where knowledge is constructed through community conversation, rather than passed from teacher to student, is at the core of New Urban Arts’ philosophy. To see it blossom in another space, with members of the NUA family as well as new friends, was a powerful experience. 

Our visit ended with an impromptu jam session and dancing. Other students were drawn to a huge “free bin” of clothes and random items, and had a great time creating new outfits. When it came time to leave, both the Art Inquiry and the Witch Club were sad to say goodbye. We invited them to come visit us at the studio (which several of them did at our final critique), and to come to our show in October. They gave us their new P.O. box address, and we promised to write. 

Our journey to Witch Club became more than just a field trip—it created new relationships, and heavily influenced some students’ final projects. Several female students were inspired to tackle carpentry and large-scale construction, and for another student, the visit to the space caused a reflection on the idea of home and welcoming that he developed into a silkscreen project. I’d like to thank Emmy Bright for suggesting the trip, my co-mentor Victoria for arranging it, Kedrin Frias and Elizabeth Keith for accompanying us, and most of all the members of Witch Club for their hospitality and ongoing support of New Urban Arts.

A Paradelle: Untitlement Project Summer 2011

Hello NUA community! This is Michi, from the Untitlement Project!!!!!! 

This summer, I participated in one of New Urban Arts’ summer programs known as the Untitlement Project. The main idea or main goal was to have high school teenage writers expand their writing using the themes of identity, gender issues, and social injustices. We were led by two awesome poets (Jamila Woods and Jorge Vargas) and we were separated by two groups; (A boys group, and a girls group). Girls met on Monday, and Wednesday. Boys met on Tuesday and Thursday. Then on Friday the two groups met together and discussed about topics that involved the two genders. When we met on our days separately, our mentors would give us prompts that were based on the themes we were doing that summer. 

My favorite prompt was the Paradelle activity. It is a poem of four six-line stanzas in which the first and second lines, as well as the third and fourth lines of the first three stanzas, must be identical. The fifth and sixth lines must form completely new lines by using only the words from the preceding lines. The final stanza must contain every word from the first three stanzas, and only those words, again only using them once, to form completely new lines. Find more information on Paradelles here. The theme of our Paradelle activity was our bodies and what we like or dislike about our bodies. I believe that every poet should at least experience this form of writing. 

I hope you enjoy this Paradelle poem I came up with because I do. ☺ 

Paradelle (My Body) 

I love when you’re alone; your eyes begin to sweat. 
I love when you’re alone; your eyes begin to sweat. 
Joy or pain, we get the same result. 
Joy or pain, we get the same result. 
We get the same sweat when joy or pain. 
Your eyes begin to sweat pain. 

Drop by drop, 1/100 of an emotion is released. 
Drop by drop, 1/100 of an emotion is released. 
My soul is in the atmosphere. 
My soul is in the atmosphere. 
1/100 of my soul is in drop by drop. 
My soul is an emotion. 

Hold your tears when looking. 
Hold your tears when looking. 
Maybe I’m not human. 
Maybe I’m not human. 
They’re not human hold your tears. 
I’m your tear I’m not human. 

I love your not human tears. 
Drop by drop; I’m your pain. 
Your sweat is my atmosphere. 
Pain is your emotion. 
1/100 of a human, I will hold your tears. 
When you tear, I begin to sweat.

What Does New Urban Arts Mean To You?

On Thursday, August 11, NUA On The Move hosted a studio packing party. Even though packing and moving an entire art studio is serious business, the event had a particularly New Urban Arts feel to it complete with good music, awesome people, sumi ink drawing, pizza, and a free store. NUA On The Move summer intern Katie O’Connell painted a prompt on the wall “What Does NUA Mean To You?” and invited participants to pin their thoughts on the wall. Here are the responses we collected:

 
NUA is the home away from home where you can get super messy with no consequences!! (Well, as long as you clean up…)

It means a lot to me. It a place where people can come and express themself through art.

Happiness

Awesome people X crazy cool environment = NUA!!

To me NUA is a place to go to and forget about everything else in the world. A refuge in which I express myself through paper, and interact with awesome people. We make NUA and without us, NUA wouldn’t be such a wonderful place.

A second home!!

New Urban Arts is like cheesecake, sweet and good.

A place where things happen.

NUA is magical. It’s the place I dreamed of when I was young. A haven for creative, sensitive, outstanding people!

NUA is the fourteenth, twenty-first and first letter of the alphabet. And a model democracy where anything is possible.

Cool and awkward and friendly people who like art, like me!

Freedom. Art. Loudness. Glitter. Unicorns.

NUA = An awesome place

Art + Lots of Love. Music!

NUA is love to me. NUA is my first second home. I’m sad we are leaving but ready to welcome the new NUA

An amazing magical place…OF DOOM >:D

It means the world, and some Reces Peanut Butter Cup

Taking risks without judgement and knowing you will be celebrated!

New Urban Arts is a cool place–It’s like sprinkles on an ice cream or the strawberry on top of the cake.

New Urban Arts is a place where people listen.

Drawing stuff is cool 😀 No, but really…a place to relax and get your creative mind flowing.

Sitting in the Questions

New Publication: Institute of Other Significant Pursuits: Sitting in the Questions 

As part of our committment to sharing knowledge about our practice as widely and freely as possible and supporting and developing the many emerging leaders in our growing community, we launched a new program last summer, the Institute of Other Significant Pursuits, a three day long conversation on what it means to be a community artist and educator beyond the walls of our studio here on Westminster Street. 

Ten of our former artist mentors, all strongly influenced by their experience as artist mentors at New Urban Arts, were invited back to “sit in the questions” of each of their current pursuits, whether as artists, teachers, students, mentors, activists, mothers and more.

 

limited edition artist publication is now available documenting this convening for others who are also in the messy pursuit of making, mentoring, nurturing creativity and “inhabiting the questions.” It includes a series of postcards and handprinted envelope/poster in addition to a paper back book with saddle stitch binding and full-color interior ink. Contact Program Director Sarah Meyer atsarah@newurbanarts.org if you are interested in purchasing this limited edition publication. 

Published through Lulu Press, Inc, the 80-page paperback book is also available as an on-demand, full-color print edition. It can be purchased at cost value for $21.50 by visiting our online store. 

The paperback book can be downloaded at no cost by visiting www.newurbanarts.org here.

Moving Week

New Urban Arts is MOVING into 705 Westminster St. and we need YOUR help

 

Thanks to your help, we have boxes packed, labeled ready to go, but now we need as much help as possible to make the short (118 ft) walk from 743 Westminster Street to 705 Westminster Street. Moving is being coordinated by Artist Mentor Julia Gualtieri and team NUA On The Move, super intern Louis Martinez and Program Coordinator Jesse Banks III. Drop by any of the times listed and someone will point you in the right direction. Any time you can spare will make a BIG difference.

 

You can drop by and help us next week any of the following days and times:

 

Monday: 3-4PMDance your way through 705 with us! We’ll walk, crawl, leap, roll and more and together, become really familiar with our new home. Come in comfy clothes. 

Tuesday: 1-6PM–MOVING-drop in anytime to help with moving. Louis, Jesse, Julia or NUA On the Move students will point you in the right direction. 

Thursday: 1-6PM–MOVING-drop in anytime to help with moving. Louis, Jesse, Julia or NUA On the Move students will point you in the right direction. 

Thursday 2-3PM–PARADE, Organized by NUA on The Move 
We’ll form a human chain from 743 to 705 and move boxes bucket brigade style. 

Friday: 1-6PM–MOVING-drop in anytime to help with moving. Louis, Jesse, Julia or NUA On the Move students will point you the right direction. 

 

***If you come–please wear close-toed shoes (no flip flops) and be prepared to follow ALL the directions of staff and the NUA On the Move students so that we do this safely!***

NUA PACKNG PARTY

My name is Chris Jorge and on August 11,2011, Nua On The Move had a packing party. The purpose of the packing party was to pack everything from our current space so we could transfer everything into the new space later on. During the party, we had pizza and a free store. I had a chance to interview Jacques Achilles and this is how it turned out: 

CJ: What did you think of the packing party? 
JA: It was fun 
CJ: What did you find out about the packing party? 
JA: Nua has a lot of stuff that is not used and unnoticed 
CJ: What was your first thought of the NUA packing party? 
JA: Help NUA pack 
CJ: What does NUA mean to you? 
JA: making art/making friends/witness Noel have tantrums

Untitlement Project: Summer 2011

Hi there! This is Maxine Wright, reporting for duty.

This summer, I participated in one of New Urban Arts’s summer programs, the Untitlement Project. The goal of the Untitlement Project was to promote discussion and exploration of pertinent issues such as gender, identity, relationships, and body image through poetry. It was a wonderful experience, and one I hope many other teenagers can share eventually. To help us write, the mentors (Jamila Woods and Jorge Vargas) would give us prompts, or suggestions and instructions out of which we would write a poem. 

One of my favorite prompts was the “god of your heart” activity. To write this poem, we were asked to describe the “god” of our heart: what this person (or entity) did, looked like, felt, and how they protected our hearts. 

This prompt really interested me because I had never looked at matters of the heart as something someone protected, and it was interesting for me to think of my heart as a person. This is the poem I came up with.

God of My Heart

Builds walls of glass shards and apple