FA 2020 in Review

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FREE ARTS NYC 2020 IN REVIEW As our country continues to face a global pandemic and a long overdue reckoning with race and equity, never has our work together been more important. The ability to adapt has always been essential to Free Arts and while this year has presented difficulties, through creativity, perseverance, and dozens of partnerships with our community, we didn’t miss a beat. While it may look a little bit different, our mission to lift up the next generation of young artists remains the same. I am proud of our COVID-19 response. We thought on our feet but with an eye toward long term success and stability. Above all, we have remained committed to our youth. When we shifted to all virtual programs for our teens, and were met with challenges like the growing digital divide in our city, we came up with solutions including supplying them with laptops. When thousands of young people in transitional housing were left with no programming we began to send art supplies and activity packets every month. Perhaps most important this year has been the ongoing movement we have seen across the country for racial equity. Our young people are the voices and advocates of the next generation. I believe strongly that Free Arts youth will change our country through their art. The work continues both internally and in our communities. Internally, Free Arts has undertaken a DEI assessment with the goal of building a more inclusive and forward thinking organization. Next year we are looking toward how we can bring our expertise to create systemic change in our communities, examining structural barriers like the digital divide and arts funding. Together, we can work towards a society where all children have the tools, access and support needed to thrive. Liz Hopfan Founder & Executive Director

TEEN ARTS PROGRAM THE TEEN ARTS PROGRAM welcomed 75+ teens - ages 13-21 to explore the arts academically and professionally. Through 1 on 1 mentorship, small group workshops, artist studio visits and real-world internship experiences. While the program operated remotely due to COVID-19,

School acceptances include: Gramercy Arts High School, Laguardia Arts, High School of Art & Design, the School of Visual Arts, the Fashion Institute of Technology CREATIVE LAB teens were given an

relationships between our teens and

introduction to the many facets of

mentors continued to thrive. The digital space allowed for even more opportunities

the creative industry. Through a

to connect outside the office and studio.

combination of in-person and virtual


twice a month to visit companies as

paired 33 teens interested in applying

well as participate in professional

to specialized arts high schools and

development workshops including

colleges with a mentor. Over the course

resume writing and interviewing.

of 9+ months, the pairs worked remotely

Teens gain exposure to top creative

to research prospective schools,

companies through in-person and

develop a visual arts portfolio, and

virtual visits meeting employees

prepare for the rigorous application,

learning about their jobs, and the

interview, and audition process.

paths they took to get there.

events, youth and mentor pairs met

Free Arts is such a warm environment, everyone is sohelpful and paired so well with their mentors. — KALENA, 18

72% of business leaders say creativity is the number one skill they are seeking when hiring.

— CHIME, 19

INTERNSHIPS for 31 teens at diverse

more equity within the creative

companies were successful with the

community. With support from Verizon,

support of powerful partnerships.

every teen was loaned a MacBookPro

Working remotely, teens designed book

and through project-based & interest-

jackets, pitch decks, PSA’s for important

driven learning, we partnered with The

topics, architectural structures for their

New York Public Library to provide a

neighborhoods, and cataloged art. The

digital literacy program consisting of

teens developed critical networking and

60 hours of workshops on Photoshop,

communication skills and learned how

InDesign, Illustrator, and more.

to navigate the virtual workplace. Companies: Andrea Steele Architecture, David Zwirner, DXA, Blueprint NYC, Bustle, Curtis Kulig, Fort Standard, Free Arts NYC, Nathan Love, Orchard Street Ventures, Penguin Random House,

STUDIO VISITS are an essential part of programming and social distancing didn’t stop our teens from collaborating virtually with artists like Cameron Welch, Dáreece Walker, Jae Hall, Carlos Quispo Mike Perry, Sharon de la Cruz


and Paul Anthony Smith. During visits,

integral part of programming this year.

teens learned the ins and outs of being

In an increasingly virtual world, it is

an artist and experimented with new

more important than ever to increase

art-making skills. A small group worked

digital literacy skills in order to create

on a communal quilt with IIDA NY


Art is essential to foster creative expression for the children of New York City, no matter the circumstance. At Free Arts Days, our youth have the opportunity to develop their creativity and explore a

Free Arts NYC has been the most responsive and effective in getting help to kids who are desperately in need of educational and cultural resources and sup p lies during the pandemic. — ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ, Director of Special Events, Department of Homeless Services

variety of art materials and techniques with the support of a caring adult. Before COVID-19, a typical Free Arts Days took place in person pairing underserved elementary aged youth 1 on 1 with volunteers for an afternoon of “minimentoring.”This summer, we began hosting one-hour Zoom Free Arts Days so that our youth can stay inspired. During these virtual events, students engage in a movement activity, art games, and create 2 art projects inspired by a theme such as My Future Self, My Favorite Things or Storytelling. Youth are encouraged to share throughout the session which helps to build confidence and connect with their virtual community of classmates.

I got to use my imagination! — EMELY, 10

In addition to Zoom Free Arts Days, throughout COVID-19, we have adjusted our strategy to provide alternatives for our elementary-aged youth to stay connected to Free Arts and their creativity. Since March, we have been sending monthly art supplies, Funbooks and parent resource emails to 1,645 children and families at 16+ New York City housing facilities and community partner sites ensuring that our youth have a sense of consistency and routine and know that they have the access to the healthy escape art making provides.


A core pillar of our Teen Arts Program is to create more equity in the arts by providing opportunities into a wide variety of creative paths for our talented young people. The experience our youth gain by showcasing their work is crucial, and to do so at an esteemed cultural institution like Sotheby’s for the 2nd year is unparalleled. Through a virtual exhibition this summer, students had the special opportunity to showcase and speak about their work for over 100 attendees. We are proud to provide this experience to lift up the next great generation of young artists, helping them build confidence, encourage creativity, and begin navigating their professional careers.

Virtual Exhibition, Sotheby’s

Niles Christian Gunning Age: 17 The Universal Language Bronx High School of Science

Angelina Sanchez Age: 17 Personality High School of Fashion Industries

Valeria Raymond Age: 13 Untitled DREAM Charter School

Einstein Ady Age: 17 Pulchritudinous High School of Fashion Industries

Kalena Burwel Age: 18 Untitled High School of Fashion Industries

Victoria Ronzon Guzman Age: 17 Sunsets and Nature High School of Fashion Industries

EVALUATIONS Free Arts NYC measures program outcomes in social and emotional learning. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the “soft skills� young people need to thrive by building resilience and increasing their protective factors.

The Free Arts Day Zoom Sessions are evaluated in the following SEL capacities by a facilitator: Cooperation & Connectedness, Meaningful Participation, Relating to Caring Adults, Confidence and Self-Esteem, Creativity



30 Zoom Free Arts Days

88% showed Confidence

16 Community Partners

100% used Creativity & Problem Solving


88% exhibited Meaningful Participation

Art Kits & Funbooks

1,645 Youth

The Teen Art Program is evaluated using Hello Insight, an online evaluation platform used by over 500 youth development organizations which measure SEL outcomes including: Academic Self-Efficacy, Self-Management, Contribution, Social Skills, Positive Identity, & Social Capital.


75 Teens 31 Artist Studio Visits 13 Company Visits 31 Virtual Summer Internships 42 Workshops 42 High School & College Applications & Acceptances SEL OUTCOMES


80% grew in Academic

50% were first time MAC users


83% reported learning new

75% grew in Self-Management

techniques in Photoshop

100% Youth Satisfaction 75% grew in Social Skills,


Positive Identity, Social Capital

90% applied Problem Solving Skills 91% grew in Creativity & Innovation

VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT Volunteerism is at the core of Free Arts NYC. Through Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, each year over 2,000 youth are matched 1-on-1 or in small groups with over 2,500 volunteers at Free Arts Days. When it became clear that in-person events were no longer possible, we quickly developed remote team building and volunteer activities for groups of up to 100. We remain steadfast in our commitment to provide a space for collaboration and connection between talented young people and passionate volunteers.

VIRTUAL ART PARTIES include card making and creating seasonal decorations to send to our youth.

ART2 offers a chance to come together as a team and be creative by making a collaborative mural. Each employee takes individual pieces which are digitally stitched together, producing a new work highlighting the group’s creativity

“THE ART OF…” workshops provide a unique opportunity to learn from Free Arts NYC’s community of experts, while bringing teams together In addition to these curated events, our corporate partners have hosted virtual company visits and resume workshops with our teens; offered pro bono assistance with video production, legal support, held supply and gift drives; and participated in virtual runs.





PARTNERSHIPS In response to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our creative community stepped up to support the continuation of our programs. More than 30 individuals, small businesses, and companies created unique initiatives to raise awareness of Free Arts NYC funding for our programs and providing supplies for our youth to continue to remain inspired and resilient throughout the year. AriZona

Josanna Torrocha


Josh Fayer

Beyond The Streets


BFG x Eric Haze

League OTO


Marc Jacobs


Mike Perry

Calvin Klein



Renna Jewels

Diana Farberov

Room57 Gallery

Eddie Martinez

The Ruth Stanton Foundation

Eileen Fisher

Six Degrees Society


Smart D2 Playrooms

Fernando Godinez

Supplies for Success


The Neon Tea Party

Gregory Jackson

The Paycheck Project


Toy Tokyo




Weil, Gotshal & Manges


Willow Arava Schwartz

A one of a kind auction celebrating creativity featuring handmade backpacks by Marc Jacobs exemplified the power of self-expression through art.

In its third year our partnership with Renna Jewels continues through, percentages of sales, art kit donations and jewelry making workshops.

6,000 sketchbooks and 1,200 pencils were donated to youth living in transitional housing because sketchbooks are the door to a creative imagination.

Over 2,600 masks donated to Free Arts families.

SWEEPSTAKES/ANNUAL ART AUCTION The Annual Art Auction sponsored by Sacai, Honoring KAWS and Julia Chiang had to be reimagined. This event is an essential component of our organization, raising a quarter of our revenue and bringing together the community of artists and donors who support our programming. As a creative arts organization we came up with a unique campaign to engage collectors, raise awareness of our programs and support our fundraising efforts. Through an international sweepstakes supporters were able to donate $100 for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win an original KAWS painting. We continued the celebration through an online auction hosted by Artsy with a curated selection of works, and unique items including KAWS x Sacai custom designed NIke sneakers. Marina Adams

Eric Haze

Ruby Neri

Donald Baechler

En Iwamura

Erik Parker

Ana Benaroya

Todd James

Anthony Pearso

Morgan Blair

Shaniqwa Jarvis

Joyce Pensato

Jonathan Chapline

Rashid Johnson

Erin M. Riley

Julia Chiang

Susumu Kamijo

Ed Ruscha

Jake Clark

Clinton King

Koichi Sato

Oliver Clegg

Curtis Kulig

Arlene Shechet

Dan Crews

Sue Kwon

Josh Sperling

Julie Curtiss

Vanha Lam

Jessica Stoller Mika

Cheryl Dunn

Austin Lee


Marcel Dzama

Eddie Martinez

Torey Thornton

Natalie Frank

Dan McCarthy

Lawrence Weiner


James Nares

Jonas Wood

Julia Curtiss

Josh Sperling

Julia Chiang


There Are No Mistakes In Art


there are no mistakes in art Freeartsnyc.org @FreeArtsNYC info@freeartsnyc.org