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Before the COVID-19 pandemic NUA hit record enrollment of 847 students, 88% of whom qualified for free or reduced lunch based on income guidelines. Over 68% of those students live in census tracts where the family poverty rate is 34% — three times the national rate. 89% of our students are young people of color.
Our programs meet a vital need for quality arts programs for these young people. The National Endowment for the Arts has reported that low-income and minority youth now have half as much access to arts education as in 1982. This is quite evident locally; between 2002 and 2016, the number of art teachers in the Providence School District fell from 155 to 41. Providence went from one teacher for every 178 students to one for every 558 students.
This trend is unlikely to reverse. According to the 2019 RI Kids Count Fact Book, 0% of Providence Public Schools were commended for their performance and they have repeatedly been flagged for state intervention, culminating with the Rhode Island Department of Education taking over the district’s operations on November 1, 2019. Given austere school funding, and the current reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, remediation in core subjects will continue to take priority over the arts, driving more youth to enroll in New Urban Arts.
Accordingly, since 2012 our enrollment had nearly doubled up until the pandemic. Thanks to donors like YOU, we’ve been able to meet the growing need. Your gift to our Annual Campaign provides young people:
Our Artist Mentors are caring, well-trained, and share a wide range of experiences with younger artists. Mentors are college students, graduate students, professional artists, public school teachers, art therapists, and college faculty among others. Though our volunteer arts mentoring program has been temporarily suspended following COVID-19 guidance from the RI Department of Education, positions are generally competitive. The last year we had volunteers in the studio, we received over 40 applications for only 15 positions. Young people interview and select all of our artist mentors. Artist Mentors receive over 30 hours of professional development including 1:1 coaching and workshops on youth development, community arts practice, and education.
New Urban Arts buys art supplies for more than 200 high school students from over 10 Providence public schools. We maintain a screen print studio, a digital media lab, a music recording/production studio, and black and white photography darkroom. Students receive frequent opportunities to perform, exhibit, and publish their work. Our public programs attracted over 2,200 visitors in the year prior to the pandemic.
High quality learning & employment experiences
Our five-week summer program provides up to 30 paid student internships in which young people work closely with artists and scholars on group and independent projects and lead creative arts workshops for the public.
All New Urban Arts students are eligible to work with our “A Life After School” mentor to create a postsecondary success plan, including both college advising as well as options for students not planning to attend college. Through our partnership with College Visions, we also provide free workshops on college financial aid options.
Studio Study Buddies provide students intensive and targeted 1:1 tutoring support, homework help, and test preparation.
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If you are a state employee, you can support New Urban Arts through payroll deductions through State Employees Charitable Appeal (SECA). Our agency number is 7587. For more information about setting up your pledge or scheduling a New Urban Arts speaker for your department event, please contact Kyle Bennet at firstname.lastname@example.org and cc email@example.com.
Inquire with your HR department, especially if included in this list, about any workplace campaigns for one-time or ongoing payroll deductions. Today, more than 400 Rhode Island companies and organizations conduct workplace campaigns, including Citizens Bank, Lifespan and many others.
New Urban Arts is a tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit organization. Our federal tax ID is 05-0498654. If you have any difficulties with our Paypal portal, call the office at (401) 751-4556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.