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What's Happening


CityArts’ 2016-2017 Impact and Activities report

A pdf of on our 16-17 activities can be accessed by clicking here. For more information on activities that took place in our AmeriCorps Teaching Artist program, please visit CityArts’ Digication site.


CityArts welcomes new Education Director, Nika Salazar

CityArts is delighted to welcome Nika Salazar as the new educational leader at CityArts. She will manage the AmeriCorps Teaching Artist program, and support professional development programs with our teaching artist team. She comes to us after completing her Master of Arts in Elementary Education at Brown University. Nika is a Mexican, Native American, Russian-Jewish educator passionate about community building, and art as a tool for education and social justice.  Her work focuses on the integration of the Arts with Common Core curricula, and lifting up minority and marginalized identities by using performance art as a tool to inform, educate, and foster empathy, understanding, and love. Her play The Red Paint, which sought to explore cycles of institutional, racial, domestic, and personal violence in Latinx and specifically Chicano communities, won the 2016 Dorry Award for Best New Play in Rhode Island.  She received her B.A. in Psychology & Theater Arts from Brown University.

CityArts goes back to its roots with a reinvigorated focus and curriculum on social justice education and the arts.

CityArts summer teen assistants

During the summer of 2017 a group of six emerging young artists, along with veteran CityArts Teaching Artists, developed curriculum and learning structures for CityArts that explicitly articulates CityArts’ program approach and the social justice mission as it was conceived by the CityArts founder, Sister Ann Keefe who said “let’s get to the heart of what we are really about, inviting people to love each other.” Throughout the summer, this group observed classes, researched models, met with community members, interviewed students, and looked at past best practices of social justice-based classes at CityArts. This team of young teaching artists took the concepts integral in Sister Ann’s work — the importance of love at the center of the creative process – to create a curriculum structure that visibly and emphatically demonstrates our intention to present the arts to children through a lens that confronts hate and inequity  with love and patience as a way to “make freedom real.” Please contact Nika Gorini at for more information.

CityArts selected to participate in Mayor Elorza’s Youth Summer Employment Program

Thanks to Mayor Elorza’s youth employment program, CityArts hired 28 young people to help serve 250 kids at CityArts, in Providence Boys and Girls Clubs and at PASA. The program is also funded by the AmeriCorps Program/Serve RI. Jazmin Morillon who participated in CityArts as a kid is back to help give other kids a similar experience. Morillon says, “This is a really great program because it provides inner city kids and urban kids with things that they wouldn’t normally just have laying around.  It opens their mind and opens their eyes.”

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Apply Now: 2017-2018 Turnaround Teaching Artist Project

Providence CityArts seeks 4 full time and 6 half time Teaching Artists to join our  team. This program is the only AmeriCorps program in the state to assign a corps of teaching artists to enrich student learning in and through the arts. TTAP members serve as resident artists in Priority Providence Public Middle Schools, using STEAM, arts literacy and Design Thinking project based learning to increase habits of engagement in their school day learning environment; as well as in after school arts programs. For member benefits information, click here. If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please apply online:  by July 27th, 2017. If you have any questions please contact Kiley Leduc at

CityArts seeks Education Director

CityArts is currently seeking a Director of Education who will: 1) oversee all of its educational programs, services, and staff; 2) develop strategies for new efforts aimed at expanding the organization’s reach, enhancing its impact through innovative and evidence-based programs and services, and attracting financial support; and 3) serve as a member of the leadership team responsible for building long-term sustainability and organizational capacity. For more information click here.

June 22 at 5:30pm: Sister Ann Keefe Awards for Creativity & Social Justice

Providence CityArts for Youth will present its annual Sister Ann Keefe awards to two long-standing pillars of the city’s arts community – storyteller, Valerie Tutson, and muralist Munir Mohammed—at an event on June 22nd at the organization’s headquarters at 891 Broad Street. For more information and to RSVP click here.

June 15 at 5:30pm: Turnaround Teaching Artist Project Presentations

AmeriCorps Teaching Artists who collaborated with Providence Public School teachers and students during the 16-17 school year will share their process, their experiences and their reflections on spending a year helping STEAM-based classes at Roger Williams, Del Sesto, and Gilbert Stuart middle schools in Providence. This program is sponsored by Serve Rhode Island, Providence CityArts for Youth, the City of Providence, and the Providence Public Schools. Please RSVP at Eventbrite.


Register now for summer camp at CityArts

Camps run in two-week sessions from July 3-28, 2017. At CityArts we create youth-centered environments that support social and emotional growth through art-making and reflective practice. This summer, your child will build confidence, develop artistic habits of mind, and be inspired to learn and grow. Space is limited, but please contact or click here for more information.

April School Vacation Camp and Spring Session 2017

The birds are busy and so is CityArts! April’s School Vacation Camp filled right away, and 50 youth will be here for the week.  Sodexo very kindly will be providing breakfast and snacks so these super-hero, earth-loving, eco-artists are fueled up to make it a fantastic week.  There’ll be an end-of-week celebration on Friday, April 21 (email for more information if you’d like to come!).  And Monday, April 24 means the start of the Spring session: Clay, Comics, Fabric, Painting, 3-D Printing, Anime, and MORE.  Look for updates on RISD Fridays, Digital Photography with Providence College students, and the traveling class that visits galleries & museums all over the city.

Join us for our winter session Teachback on Thursday, March 30 at 5:30pm

the empress

What does it mean to be a girl in today’s world? Which superhero has the power to make the world a truly better place? How do we rebuild the world after an apocalypse? For the answer to these and other questions, please join our young artists along with their families and siblings, for an evening of friendship, art, and learning. The Teachback begins at 5:30pm at our studios at 891 Broad Street. A potluck dinner will follow the “Beats and Rhythms” performance.


Winter Session 2017 Classes are in Full Swing

evans drumming

Teaching Artist, Evans Molina Fernandez, teaches “Beats and Rhythms”


Check out recent photos from our winter session offerings in the Broad Street studios. Students are drumming, making comics, creating animations, working with clay, and building a new world after the Apocalypse (using our 3D printer). We also moved the Media Lab, so middle schoolers have more room to move and create. Check out the recent work on Facebook!

RISD Fridays begins soon and Providence College’s Community Lens class is teaming up with CityArts students again, to create photos that explore Broad Street.


CityArts partners with Brown University for  Lin-Manuel Miranda musical

 Brown University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies has selected Providence ¡CityArts! as its community partner for their production of  In the Heights taking place from March 2-12 at Brown’s Stuart Theatre. As part of this partnership, youth from ¡CityArts! will be able to attend performances for free. Students from Brown also visited young artists at ¡CityArts! Broad Street studios. In addition, performers from the production are giving a series of workshops at ¡CityArts!  school-based programs in Gilbert Stuart Middle School on Elmwood Avenue in Providence.

¡CityArts! was selected as a community partner because its location, and the population it serves, is similar to the neighborhood in Miranda’s musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical takes place in a largely Latino immigrant community in New York. “More than 57% of the population around our Broad Street studios identify as Hispanic, many of them recent immigrants,” says ¡CityArts! Executive Director Nancy Safian, “so our youth will recognize the characters, music, and setting very well.”

Identity Project 2

Selections from two ¡CityArts! programs will be on display in the Stuart Theatre lobby: The Identity Project, a collaboration in documentary storytelling between Roger Williams Middle School and ¡CityArts! educator Alessandra Zsiba, and Youth Voices Frame Providence,  a collaboration between ¡CityArts! students and local artists Holly Ewald, Mary Beth Meehan, and Rhode Island Poet Laureate Tina Cane.


CityArts Welcomes New Executive Director: Nancy Safian!


November 10, 2016

Nancy Safian, a longtime champion for arts education in Providence who has worked at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design and Trinity Repertory Company, will become the new executive director of Providence CityArts for Youth, a national award-winning non-profit youth arts organization.

“I am thrilled and honored to lead this wonderful and storied arts organization,’’ says Safian, “No child’s education is complete without exposure to the arts, and many middle school students in particular crave the arts as a way to fuel their imaginations, help articulate their emerging personal perspectives, and develop art and design skills. Few organizations do a better job of igniting those passions than CityArts.’’

Garry Bliss, Board President, said “We are delighted to have identified a talented and inspiring leader who can build on the legacy of CityArts.  CityArts has been blessed with talented and visionary leaders beginning with Sr. Ann Keefe, CityArts Founder who believed in the transformative power of the arts for young people and communities. We look forward to working with Nancy and CityArts staff to expand our creative impact on the lives of children, their families, and the community.”

Safian is married to a Boston Globe Spotlight team reporter, Jonathan Saltzman, and lives with her family in Providence, RI.