Free Arts NYC offer disadvantaged children the chance to develop the creative and interpersonal skills that could lead to fulfilling careers.

During the formative years of a child’s life, the endemic lack of opportunity brought about by income inequality, poor housing and an educational system that habitually fails them can ensure that they never go on to fulfil anything near their true potential.

Of the 1.7 million children who live in New York City today, one in three of them exist below the federal poverty line. Free arts NYC, a not-for-profit community arts scheme founded by Liz Hopfan, has been doing it’s upmost to serve them for close to two decades.

To date Free Arts NYC has provided over 30,000 children in underprivileged neighbourhoods with various inspirational arts programs. These range from Museum Days, pop-up arts festivals and, through their long terms Arts Mentorship program, the opportunity for youths between the ages of six to 13 the chance to regularly engage with visual arts projects set up in community centres. These actions can lead to internships and one-on-one-portfolio sessions with professional artists    

The official mission statement of Free Arts NYC is to “provide underserved children and families with a unique combination of educational arts and mentoring programs that help them to foster the self confidence and resiliency needed to realise their full potential.”

Poverty cannot be solved by arts alone. Only legislation brought on by a political and societal desire to eradicate it will do that. But Free Arts NYC know that by arming disadvantaged kids with creative, literary and interpersonal skills will build the character necessary to navigate their unfortunate circumstances.

Starbucks recently partnered with two community services to offer disadvantaged youths in New York the chance to develop customer service and retail skills. We wrote about it here.