City Arts
whats-happening City Arts Blog City Arts Facebook City Arts Twitter
City Arts Contact

Values, Mission & History


The following principles and values permeate all programs at CityArts:

Youth identity & developmentYouth-centered environments support social and emotional growth; acknowledge young people’s unique ways of knowing; and build their confidence, artistic habits of mind, and the technical skills to make positive change in their lives and communities.

Curiosity & problem-solvingUsing principles and sequential processes from Arts Literacy and Design Thinking models, teaching artists help young artists experiment with authentic hands-on creativity, problem-solving, and projects that use their hands, hearts, and minds.

Crossing borders & removing barriersCityArts holds a social justice lens for all programming – working to help youth  navigate the world using a variety of media (visual, written, digital, performative). At CityArts we strive to pose complex questions at the intersections of community and school; youth and adulthood; language and culture; tradition and innovation.

Reflective & contextual assessment: CityArts assesses its work through  measurable teaching and learning outcomes that incorporate wellness, growth, and development as a form of maturation and a critical life-long skill for youth, teaching artists, and staff.


The mission of Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth Inc. is to provide free professional art-based education and training to Providence youth in a fully developed community-based arts center that reflects, encourages, and promotes the rich ethnic diversity of Providence, our capital city. CityArts’ mission is to ensure all youth access to quality arts programs—unhindered by socio-economic barriers, and celebrating the arts as a means to youth empowerment, community building, and social change.


Since 1992, CityArts has provided free arts education and training to more than 5,000 Providence elementary and middle school youth, most from the ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods on Providence’s Southside.  CityArts is the recipient of numerous awards including a 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities.

The brainchild of St. Michael’s Church nun, Sister Ann Keefe, CityArts’ primary goal has always been to “change the minds and hearts” of youth through the arts. At her funeral, Governor Gina Raimondo called Sister Ann “one of our state’s strongest voices for social and economic justice” and implored “us to be better and to do better for one another.”

¡CityArts! now serves more than 500 youth annually. In addition to working with local artists and educators, ¡CityArts! youth have exceptional opportunities to take field trips to local museums, perform at community gatherings, receive homework help from students attending our partner universities, engage in neighborhood service projects, and have their work displayed in galleries throughout Providence!