One troubling reality about the art world is that it is not often accessible to everyone. Sure, in New York City culture is abundant, but arts education and museum access is not as readily available as many would like. One organization that is working to change this is Free Arts NYC, a non-profit that provides under-served children and families with educational arts and mentoring programs at no cost.
Founded in 1997 by Liz Hopfan, Free Arts NYC’s programs “create a safe space and cultivate an environment of good will allowing children to feel comfortable and open to risk-taking and able to embrace our motto, ‘There are no mistakes in art!’” The organization’s mission is to provide high-quality art experiences to low income, homeless, and neglected children in order to foster self-confidence and resiliency necessary to realize their fullest potential.
Since 1997, Free Arts NYC has impacted the lives of more than 28,000 at-risk children in many of New York’s neighborhoods. The organization works to foster an appreciation of art, and uses creative measures to instill values like self-respect in the children it works with. Through a variety of programs, the organization “inspires children to re-imagine their worlds and transform their lives through the creative arts.”
One of the opportunities is a “Cultural Enrichment” program in which every child gets to attend a live performance or cultural event, sponsored by Free Arts. Another is the organization’s “Multicultural Arts Camp,” week long summer camps where groups of 100 children learn about the arts, music, and dance from a variety of different cultures. These programs, and other weekly workshops, are designed to empower the children, and engage their curiosity in the arts by providing them with access to arts form different cultures.
The work that Free Arts NYC is doing to improve the lives of under-served children through the arts is remarkable. It instills a peaceable, creative outlet for at-risk children, and provides access to the arts, something that the organization believes all people deserve.
For more information on the organization, and how to get involved, visit Free Arts NYC’s official website.