Q: What is Free Arts NYC?
A: Free Arts NYC is a non-profit organization that provides under-served 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 realize their fullest potential.
Q: What kinds of programs does Free Arts NYC offer?
A: Free Arts NYC fulfills its mission through four core initiatives:
Free Arts Days
Parents and Children Together Through Art (PACT)
Weekly Mentor Program
Q: How many children and families does Free Arts serve?
A: Free Arts NYC serves approximately 2,400 kids and 150 families per year.
Q: How can children and families enroll in Free Arts programs?
A: Program participants are independently recruited and selected by the social services agencies, schools and community organizations that co-sponsor Free Arts NYC initiatives. However, children must be at least 6 years of age to attend our youth or family programs.
Q: How much does it cost to sponsor or enroll in Free Arts programs?
A: Free Arts NYC does not charge registration or service fees to the children, families or community partners it serves. All art supplies, curriculums, trainings and staff are provided for free. However, Free Arts partners must designate a staff member to serve as an onsite coordinator to assist with program planning and oversight.
Q: What kind of communities and/or organizations does Free Arts NYC serve?
A: We currently sponsor programs in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens in partnership with community-based social services agencies, schools, and grassroots organizations that host Free Arts activities at their facilities. Targeted neighborhoods are typically categorized as low-income and under-resourced, with children and families subject to a variety of social and economic stressors that can undermine their well-being and quality of life. To see a list of our current partners, visit our Collaborating Agencies Page.
Q: How can a community, religious, and/or cultural organizations become a Free Arts NYC partner?
A: If you are a parent, teacher, administrator and service coordinator who would like to see Free Arts programming offered at your facility, please contact us at 212-974-9092 or email@example.com to obtain more information about our partnership requirements.
Q: How are program volunteers recruited, trained and screened?
A: Volunteer postings are regularly distributed via Free Arts NYCís mailing list. We also conduct ongoing outreach to universities, professional associations and community groups throughout New York City. Once identified, prospective volunteers attend an orientation and must a criminal background check before being placed. Weekly Mentor and PACT Program volunteers must also complete a 3-hour training and in-person interview with a member of the program staff. For more information about how to become a Free Arts volunteer, visit our Volunteer Page.
Q: When and how was Free Arts NYC created?
A: Free Arts NYC was founded 10 years ago by Executive Director Liz Hopfan and is modeled after the original Los Angeles-based Free Arts, which Liz volunteered for while living in California and working as a teacher. The Los Angeles organization was found 25 years ago by Art Therapist, Elda Unger, who initially worked with children from group homes at her home studio. She then encouraged other artists to offer similar programs, which eventually led to recruiting and training volunteers to lead groups. After Liz returned to the New York area, she founded Free Arts NYC and grew the organization from an annual operating budget of $100,000 and 1 employee to an annual operating budget of $1,400,000 and a staff of 11 full-time professionals.
Q: How are Free Arts NYC programs funded?
A: Free Arts NYC programs are primarily supported through individual donations, monies raised via special events such as our Annual Art Auction Benefit, and grants provided by foundations and private philanthropic institutions. Public funds account for approximately 1% of the annual operating budget.