At New Urban Arts, our long-term goal is that young people and artist mentors work together—as collaborators and peers—to develop creative practices which allow them to become more imaginative, and active, community members. 

Our programs encourage students to:
• develop positive relationships with non-parental adult mentors and peers
• acquire standards-based skills & knowledge in the arts 
• begin to develop their unique artistic voice
• graduate high school on a path towards post-secondary success

We support students’ wider, holistic development through partnerships with organizations including The Providence Public Schools, the Rhode Island College School of Social Work, and the College Planning Center of Rhode Island. All our youth programs are offered free of charge and provide after-school snacks, free bus passes, tutoring, and homework help. 

School Year Programs

Youth Mentorship in the Arts partners about 20 Artist Mentors with small groups of high school students to develop powerful mentoring relationships through our free yearlong after-school program (October–May). Together, they foster risk-taking and self-discovery through community building and creative arts projects designed collaboratively by Artist Mentors and youth, across a range of arts disciplines, from painting to drawing, graphic design to photography, fashion to filmmaking. Mentoring relationships at New Urban Arts emphasize collaboration and youth agency and, as a result, enrich the creative practices of both youth and mentors. Studio Study Buddies are also available to tutor students individually in math, science, and writing as part of the Youth Mentorship Program.

Are you in high school? Enroll!

Artist Mentor Professional Development Program trains and supports the Artist Mentors who volunteer in the Youth Mentorship in the Arts Program to provide, collectively, 4,000 hours of instruction and mentoring in the arts each school year. Artist Mentors undergo a rigorous application process, led by New Urban Arts students and staff, which includes essays, artwork samples and one-on-one interviews. An intensive professional development program, led by New Urban Arts staff, helps support the development of mentors’ practice throughout the year through monthly meetings, retreats, regular small-group gatherings, and 1:1 coaching & support from Resident Artist Mentors. Topics include youth development, community arts practice, nonprofit management, and community-building. The program is supplemented by guest presentations by artists, educators, and diverse community leaders.

Interested in becoming a Mentor?

The Studio Team Advisory Board (STAB) is a youth development program which brings together students and alumni to cultivate New Urban Arts as a youth-driven studio by: advocating for youth voice; advising the staff and board of directors; representing the organization to community leaders and supporters; assisting in the recruitment and orientation of new students; hiring staff and artists; organizing public events and exhibitions; producing publications; and facilitating community building activities and arts workshops. Youth participate in bimonthly meetings and a four-week summer intensive internship.

A Life After School (ALAS) is our post-secondary advising program for high school seniors in the Youth Mentorship in the Arts Program. The ALAS Program Coordinator organizes and leads workshops related to the college application and selection process, financial aid, workforce preparation, financial literacy, and more. They also organize our College Explorations summer internship.

Vacation Week Internships engage students during school breaks. Youth enroll in one week programs facilitated by Resident Artist Mentors which incorporate multiple media and skills, such as comic book illustration, bookmaking and creative writing.

Summer Programs

The Summer Art Internships are a suite of summer enrichment programs that are designed to be accessible to low-income high school students. Students are offered a $400 participation stipend upon successful completion of the program, which combines best practices in art education, youth development, and summer learning. Three programs are consistently offered every summer, The Summer Art Inquiry, Student Team Advisory Board, and College Explorations. Additional Summer Art Internships are offered as available.

The Summer Art Inquiry is a four-week, thematic exploration in art-making that explores the human experience as it intersects with creative practice. Students collaborate with Artist Mentors and visiting artists on a range of projects, from one-time group activities to long-term, highly-conceptual independent work. The program’s themes are explored through dialogue, art-making, research, writing, reflective activities, and field trips outside the studio. Students also design and facilitate public workshops around Inquiry themes for the community. Past themes have included Mapmaking, Shrine-Making, CorrespondenceCollections & Archives, Encounter, and Placemaking.

The Summer Art Inquiry is celebrated each September with a full gallery exhibition of students’ work. As part of their participation in the program, students receive stipends and acquire in-depth thematic knowledge and job-readiness skills.

The Untitlement Project is a four-week program that explores relationships, identity, stereotypes, gender, and body image, through creative writing and conversation. Artist mentors use the power of the spoken and written word to raise consciousness and explore inequities around language, privilege, and power.

Summer Open Studio is a free, open enrollment program for high school students and alumni students during the summer months. Students drop by during studio hours to invent creative projects only hot summer days can inspire. Learn to screen print. Publish a zine. Paint, draw, sew. It’s up to you! Hide from the sun in our art studio, work independently, or collaborate with an alumni student.

Are you in high school? Enroll!

NUA Knights

In the Fall of 2017, Central High School and New Urban Arts launched a new partnership to create an exciting and vibrant after school community at Central High School. Visit the NUA Knights website!

Public Events

Each year, New Urban Arts welcomes over 2,000 youth, families, artists, educators, youth advocates, and community members into our studio. All events are free and open to the public. Click here for up-to-date announcements on all our events.

Summer Programs Exhibit, fall
Our first public event of the year! Showcases work made by students during our Summer Programs.

Mentor and Staff Exhibit, fall
Introduces Artist Mentors & Fellows to the New Urban Arts community through the exhibition of artwork and performance.

Mid-Year Makings, winter
A student exhibition of works-in-progress. An inside look into what’s percolating in the studio.

Art Party, spring
End of the year celebration that includes an exhibition of student artwork, tributes for graduating seniors and mentors, and performances.


New Urban Arts generates a wide range of publications, both digitally and in print. We encourage diverse communities to adapt it to meet their specific needs and contexts. Check them out! By sharing resources freely, we hope to make our learning visible and extend the impact of our work beyond Westminster Street in Providence.

Our Library

In 2011-2013 a committee of volunteers worked together to turn a couple crates filled with unread books in the basement into an enchanted corner of our community art studio.

With three color-coded sections, STUDY (art history, nonfiction, pedagogy) MAKE (how to guides, DIY resources) and DISCOVER (comics, poetry, fiction), books were cataloged and categorized with painted spines to create a visual, and more sustainable, re-shelving system. Three additional designated columns were created for ZINES, MISFITS, and the NUA ARCHIVE, including old photo albums and student publications. This space has become a kind of auto-shop for our studio, a place for tune ups and tinkering as much as thinking, writing, research and reading.