Sister Ann Keefe was born and raised in Warren, Massachusetts. She earned a B.A. degree from the College of Our Lady of the Elms in 1976 and a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University in 1982. Sister Ann taught at Bishop McVinney Catholic Elementary School, Providence, RI before working as director and counselor for Project Respond at CARE Providence. Starting in 1982, she served in Team Ministry at St. Michael’s Parish in Providence and continued there for more than three decades. In 1992 she founded Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth. In 2001, she co-founded the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.
Sister Ann sought to address the lack of opportunities available for middle school age youth who live in Providence’s most diverse neighborhoods. Backed by the Southside community, Sister Ann launched ¡CityArts!, a free summer arts camp in St. Michael’s basement in 1992. After a successful three years, ¡CityArts! acquired and transformed the Berkander Building on Broad Street into a year-round arts center.
¡CityArts! is the only after-school arts education program for elementary and middle school age youth in Providence. We offer five to seven classes during the fall, winter, and spring. Each year, ¡CityArts! engages more than 800 of Providence's young artists, ages 8 - 14. Our classes touch many art forms - from visual arts, to design, music, dance, digital media, theatre, and creative writing. ¡CityArts! is four-times recognized by the President’s Committee for Arts and Humanities as one of the nation's top 50 youth arts after-school programs.