Who is “The Urban Arts Graduate”?

Lorenzo Jackson and Juanise Allen in a Spring 2011 Life Stories performance.

While in 10th grade at the Facing History School, Lorenzo Jackson learned about Life Stories, the advanced theater program founded by Urban Arts Partnership and The New Group. He has excelled in the ensemble and continues to succeed academically. Lorenzo has also sought out other opportunities: He was accepted into the Stella Adler Conservatory (auditioning with a monologue written by one of his Life Stories peers) and has also performed with the Roundabout Theater’s Student Production Workshop. Lorenzo has also taken on a leadership role at Facing History. Because, he says, of the confidence and self-esteem developed in his Urban Arts career, he is often asked to represent his school at assemblies and community events. He is planning to study performance and marketing in college and, in whatever path he takes, to be for young people what Urban Arts has been to him.
“Urban Arts has given me my fueling ambition. On days when I’m not sure where my life is headed, I think of everything I’m doing now at my particular age.” – Lorenzo
In June 2011, The New York Times reported that, while New York City’s overall high school on-time graduation rate had risen from 59% to 61% in the previous year, a dismal 78.6% of graduating seniors were deemed unprepared for collegebased on their scores on standardized math and English exams. And despite the slight improvement in the first number, we still have a considerable challenge ahead of us: 39% of New York City high school students are not graduating on time.

We spend a considerable amount of time in our office discussing “The Urban Arts Graduate” – who is that student? What has she achieved? What are his goals, his approach to education?

Urban Arts Partnership’s Peapod Adobe Youth Voices Academy will answer this question, in 100 different ways. The Academy’s mission is to promote the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students by delivering cutting edge arts programs designed to develop student voice, strengthen academic performance and position graduates as agents of change in their communities.

“Urban Arts bonds everybody together. There’s a sense of creativity being around people in different art forms. It’s a family at Urban Arts.” – Lorenzo

Students will enroll in The Academy in ninth grade, spending out-of-school hours pursuing an art form (visual artspoetry & spoken wordactingplaywritingmusic productionfilmmaking, or dance); participating in Fresh Prep courses and academic support groups; leading and instructing younger students; developing a portfolio; and more. By 12th grade, each student will be an “Urban Arts Graduate” – not only graduating high school prepared for college or the workforce, but also self-assured, independent, focused, and ready to make an impact on her world.This holiday season, you have the opportunity to support these students in this journey to graduation. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to The Academy before December 31st.

To give securely online, please click here. Checks should be made out to Urban Arts Partnership and sent to our new address:

Attn: Sage Young
Urban Arts Partnership
21 Howard Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY  10013

I sincerely thank you, and wish you and your family a joyful holiday season.

Philip Signature
Philip Courtney
Executive Director