New Urban Arts is a nationally recognized interdisciplinary arts studio for high school students and emerging artists in Providence, Rhode Island.
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 studio, exhibition space, and mentoring for young artists who explore the visual, performing, and literary arts through yearlong free out-of-school programs.
Over the past 20 years, New Urban Arts has served over 2,000 Providence teens and 175 artists. In our free afterschool and summer programs, youth bond with a diverse group of peers and artist mentors while exploring a variety of artistic media. Mentorship at New Urban Arts stresses collaboration and youth leadership; mentors teach skills and provide support so students can achieve goals they set themselves. Our programs help youth who are underrepresented in the arts find their voices, learn the power of collaboration, and develop a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. Currently, over 450 students from over 10 Providence high schools participate in our programs. More than 78% qualify for free or reduced lunch based on federal guidelines, and over half live in communities where the family poverty rate is three times the national rate. Despite these challenges, over 90% find New Urban Arts a safe environment where they develop confidence, build strong relationships with mentors and improve as artists.
Our record of service has attracted national attention. In November 2009, at a White House Ceremony, First Lady Michelle Obama presented New Urban Arts a Coming Up Taller award, the nation's highest honor for the field of out-of-school time arts and humanities programs, particularly those that reach underserved children and youth.