Nonprofit or community organization
Last modified: October 26, 2011, 8:25 PM
Founded in 1991 as a not-for-profit cultural organization with the belief that art is essential to human development, education and culture, Urban Arts Partnership (formerly known as Working Playground) provides arts education and integration programs to underserved schools and communities throughout New York City. Our mission is to strengthen public schools by providing arts-based solutions to urban educational issues.
For over 16 years, Working Playground's community-based in-school and after-school programs have taught New York City's youth to develop the creative and analytic impulses that serve them as academic achievers, budding professionals, and healthy, empowered citizens through a range of quality arts-based projects designed to empower participating youth and their communities. The organization has honed its original methodology for K-12 arts instruction and academic integration through model programs connected to today's issues and concerns, utilizing a dynamic range of art forms, including theater, playwriting, animated video production, film, fashion, music, instrument-building, product design, dance, poetry and visual arts. From poetry slams to film festivals, from "world-changing photographs" to original recordings of compositions created on electric guitars they build themselves, Working Playground students have the opportunity to tap their creative and intellectual potential and imagine a higher standard of success for themselves.
The organization has specialized in developing citizen artists among particularly disadvantaged communities, including ELL (English Language Learners) youth, the fastest-growing group of students in NYC public schools, as well as SWD (Students With Disabilities) youth, all in keeping with the current and growing needs of our city's educational and social landscape. Independent evaluations by agencies including Human Services Evaluation and Development Associates and the Center for Arts Education have revealed programs to have a significant impact on student learning, social attitudes, connection with their Working Playground mentor, and overall improved capacity for positively engaging in their community's life.
Dedicated to innovating education and catalyzing youth learning, Working Playground's programs and community-bolstering events have garnered the attention of The New York Times, Time Magazine, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Metro, ABC News, NBC News, and various online websites.
In 16 years of dedicated service to New York City, we have reached more than 50,000 students, their teachers and their parents in over 250 New York City public schools.
This 2007-08 school year, the organization is serving 45 schools in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan and Queens, reaching more than 10,000 students.
Our most recently audited financial statements indicate that Working Playground spends an impressive 81% of its operating budget directly on programs.