6 New York Organizations Expanding Access to Arts Education

An education in the visual or performing arts can give young people a creative outlet that helps them express themselves, expands their thinking, and improves their confidence. Sadly, many Americans, kids and adults included, miss out because of where they live or financial barriers. Thankfully, there are many great organizations based in New York working to ensure access for people not just in the city, but all over America and the world. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Organizations Based In New York Getting People Involved In Art

Name Initiatives
The Art Students League Studio classes taught by experienced artists, hundreds of workshops, the Exhibition Outreach Program that pairs student pieces with venues for public viewing, and Model to Monument, creating sculptures for outdoor areas
BRIC Studios for digital media production, contemporary art exhibitions, BRIC TV and Brooklyn Free Speech, courses in film, TV, and podcasting, and opportunities for kids in local public schools
Young Audiences Arts for Learning Emerging Leaders Institute professional development program, National Arts-in-Education Conference, Young Audiences Arts for Learning Week, and a network of affiliates developing residencies in everything from photography to creative writing
100cameras Helps children process traumatic or challenging experiences through photography, offering supplies, training, and opportunities to sell creative work
Abrons Arts Center Offers subsidized studio space, scholarships, free and low-cost performances, exhibitions, and community events, classes in visual and performing arts for students at every level of experience, specialized programs for young people like the Urban Youth Theater and Abrons Arts Camp, and learning opportunities through StudioLab
UrbanGlass Introductory instruction for youths, master classes for professional artists, two-day workshops, demonstrations, working space for creators, fellowships & scholarships, and exhibitions concentrated on the artistic use of glass

Model to Monument From the Art Students League of New York

Arts Education in America

BRIC on Building a Foundation for the Future

The Value Of The Arts In New York's Economy

According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts, arts and cultural productions accounted for 7.8% of the total gross state product in New York in 2016. The table below compares the value added to the economy by arts to the value added by other sectors.

Sector Value Added
Arts & Cultural Production $119,856,783,000
Retail $69,957,400,000
Construction $46,845,800,000
Education Services $33,821,600,000
Transportation $30,966,900,000
Utilities $21,117,900,000
Agriculture & Forestry $2,394,000,000
Mining $828,100,000

In Depth

New York City has long been known as a destination for culture, but it's also the home of a number of dedicated organizations working to help aspiring creators build their skills and get their start. From cutting-edge digital media to hands-on craftsmanship, these groups believe passionately in the importance of offering students of all ages the means to express their creative potential. Presented here, in no particular order, are six New York nonprofits helping to strengthen the role of the arts in education.

Leading off at #1 is The Art Students League of New York, where experienced artists teach studio classes in a wide variety of media and styles, most using live models. Dating back to 1875, the League bases its instruction on the 19th century French atelier system, with students working beside masters of their craft. The League supplements its courses with hundreds of workshops focusing on specific techniques or facets of the creative process. Students have the chance to learn from internationally recognized professionals, without any prior experience required.

The League helps its artists gain experience displaying and marketing their work through its Exhibition Outreach Program, pairing student pieces with venues for public viewing. Other programs include professional development workshops, the Seeds of the League all-ages outreach effort, and the Model to Monument partnership with the City of New York, in which advanced students create sculptures for outdoor areas. Grants and scholarships are available for those with financial difficulty. You can support the League's programs by joining the ranks of their donors.

Grants and scholarships are available for those with financial difficulty.

#2 on the list is BRIC, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to offering cultural programming from creators as diverse as the city it serves. BRIC House, their central hub, provides studios for digital media production as well as performance venues, exhibition areas, and work spaces for artists of all kinds. Among the organization's most renowned programs are their contemporary art exhibitions, their annual festival, and their community network and public access efforts BRIC TV and Brooklyn Free Speech.

BRIC serves the community through education, including a wide range of affordable courses in film, TV, and podcasting, in which over five thousand adult students participate annually. They also offer learning opportunities at more than thirty-five public schools across Brooklyn, integrating art and media into core curricula and after-school programs, and provide fellowships, residencies, exhibitions, and prizes for local artists. Individuals or organizations can donate to help BRIC connect their neighbors to invaluable cultural experiences.

#3 is Young Audiences Arts for Learning, or Y.A., a learning network committed to delivering and improving arts-integrated education, working through local affiliates alongside over seven thousand schools and community centers nationwide. Through its credentialing system, Y.A. identifies experienced artist-educators with exceptional ability, connecting them with classroom teachers in residencies that promote academic and creative success. The network uses these programs as case studies to refine its teaching methods for the future.

Through its credentialing system, Y.A. identifies experienced artist-educators with exceptional ability, connecting them with classroom teachers in residencies that promote academic and creative success.

Y.A. furthers its mission with initiatives like the Emerging Leaders Institute, a professional development program exploring various management techniques to build leadership skills, and the National Arts-in-Education Conference, in which professionals in the field explore specific topics at the intersection of art and academics. The organization advocates for creativity in the classroom with efforts like the Young Audiences Arts for Learning Week each spring. You can support their work on behalf of students and teachers with an online donation.

Up next at #4 is 100cameras, a nonprofit helping children process traumatic or challenging experiences through photography. Their specialized curriculum teaches students techniques of visual storytelling, empowering them to express their stories. Participants can sell their work through the organization's platform, and the proceeds go through local partners to meet critical needs in their communities. In the process, young people can overcome feelings of being overlooked or powerless, discovering their ability to impact their surroundings.

With regional programs all around the world, 100cameras has raised over fifty thousand dollars for vital supplies and helped hundreds of children to grow as artists. Alongside the Flagship Projects led by their team, the group also trains and supports employees of local community organizations to run Snapshot Projects in their neighborhoods. Other ways to help include volunteering, donating, or hosting a Storytelling Supper to raise funds while sharing art created by children who have benefited from this nonprofit's efforts.

Alongside the Flagship Projects led by their team, the group also trains and supports employees of local community organizations to run Snapshot Projects in their neighborhoods.

#5 is the Henry Street Settlement's Abrons Arts Center, working to improve access to the arts for residents of Manhattan's Lower East Side. The organization hosts free and low-cost performances, exhibitions, and community events, and provides classes in visual and performing arts for students at every level of experience. They also offer specialized programs for young people like the Urban Youth Theater or the Abrons Arts Camp, and through the StudioLab initiative they sponsor learning opportunities within public schools around the city.

Along with its educational mission, Abrons Arts Center has served as a resource for creators since its founding in 1914. Today they offer subsidized studio and performance space rentals, as well as residency opportunities tailored to specific missions such as social responsibility, support for artists raising children, and curating interdisciplinary artwork. Through the Sammy Cahn Scholarship, they also support several young people each year in their study of music. Those looking to contribute to the Center's work can find a variety of ways to donate online.

Our final entry, #6, is Urban Glass, established in 1977 to advance and promote the artistic use of glass. Their educational programs enable students to experiment with the many creative applications of this unique medium, and include introductory instruction for youths, master classes for professional artists, and everything in between. They also offer week-long intensives, two-day workshops, and demonstrations for interested groups. Scholarships like The Bead Project help make the studio's offerings affordable even for those with financial difficulty.

They also offer week-long intensives, two-day workshops, and demonstrations for interested groups.

UrbanGlass operates a Brooklyn-based open-access facility that rents working space to more than three hundred professional artists and designers, helping to foster community and incubate talent. The studio provides residencies and fellowships for local and visiting creators, as well as producing a quarterly art magazine and hosting educational talks, exhibitions showcasing innovations in glass sculpture and design, and other events. Interested parties can contribute by attending a fundraising event or making a donation online.