Tuesday, September 02, 2008

New Urban Arts Goes To The Woods!

This year, alumni student Mary Adewusi worked with Program Director Sarah Meyer to launch the Studio Team Advisory Board, the New Urban Arts youth advisory council also known as “STAB.” The collective of students and alumni act as leaders in our studio community, organizing publications, events, and studio traditions such as ArtsGiving and the All Night Art Lock-in. They also advise the staff and the board of directors on key programmatic decisions and represent the organization to community leaders and supporters.

To celebrate and support the leadership of these students, New Urban Arts hosted an overnight leadership retreat for council members in June at Camp Aldersgate in Glocester, RI. We stayed in waterfront cabins and enjoyed hiking in the over 200 acres of woods. The bugs and the heat were shocking for us city dwellers, but being outdoors we found that we connected to ourselves, to each other and to the mission of New Urban Arts –sustaining a lifelong creative practice.

Many thanks to volunteers Jesse Banks III, Kedrin Frias, Melissa Mendes, Andrew Oesch, Seth Gruenwald, and especially Emily Ustach for their help in making this retreat possible.

Students’ highlights from the experience include:

· How much I learned about myself and fellow STAB members!

· Receiving the letters were my favorite part, because I did not know I could inspire. New Urban Arts is always here to inspire students but to be the inspiring others is an awesome feeling.

· The night hike, the campfire, and staying up with Sarah until 4am.

· Forming stronger bonds with people.

· I would say EVERYTHING, but my absolute favorite parts were the night hike and the campfire.

· I liked eating together outside, staying in the cabins overnight, gathering around the campfire, opening the letters!!! and the hikes.

· The overall atmosphere was just incredible. I loved it!


This was the first overnight retreat at New Urban Arts. We greatly appreciated the support in planning that we received from Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-violence, Youth Pride Inc, and Community Music Works. These organizations have held outdoor events for youth that inspired and informed ours. With gratitude for shared information, we are posting our agenda for the STAB Retreat for others to use for inspiration. The outline for the retreat has been updated according to how things actually happened, with a few adjustments made to the allotted time slots in the original schedule.

Also check out flickr for our photo album from the weekend!

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