2020 in review →

According to a 2019 report by the NYC Comptroller, persons of color represent 68% of NYC’s total population, but account for only 34% of the creative workforce. The disparity of jobs and opportunities is evident in the creative field, making it an inequitable space.

The Teen Arts Program supports teens and young adults, ages 13–21 who are interested in exploring the arts academically or professionally. Through three interdependent tracks and paired 1:1 with a mentor, young people have the opportunities to build their visual arts portfolio, visit creative companies and artist studios, participate in skill building workshops and obtain paid internships. Our programming works towards building a more equitable space in the creative sector.


Over the course of 8 months, 7th and 11th graders work 1-on-1 with their mentors to research prospective schools, develop a visual arts portfolio, visit artist studios, attend skill building workshops and prepare for the rigorous application, interview, and audition process. 100% of TAP participants are accepted to a school of their choice.

Recent acceptances include:

  • Brooklyn College
  • Buffalo State
  • Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Gramercy Arts High School
  • High School of Art & Design
  • Laguardia High School of Music & Performing Arts
  • Lower Manhattan Arts Academy
  • Parsons
  • School of Visual Arts
  • The High School Of Fashion Industries


Creative Lab offers 9th – 12th graders an introduction to New York City’s vibrant creative sector. Youth and mentor pairs meet monthly, visit creative companies, artists’ studios, museums and participate in professional development workshops. These real-world experiences help teens build communication skills and social capital.

Supporting companies include:

  • Tiffany & Co
  • Bustle
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • 1stDibs
  • Maharam/Herman Miller
  • Catbird
  • Penguin Random House
  • Warby Parker


Internships encourage professional growth; present youth with new skills and opportunities; teach technical knowledge; and help develop essential soft skills like time management, organization, adaptability, problem-solving and teamwork. Internships also help expand networks and social capital, and provide invaluable real-world experience, which is important for building their resumes as they pursue their careers.

Internships hosts include:

  • Aperture Foundation
  • Derek Fordjour Studios
  • Kaleidoscope Consulting
  • Conrad Hotel
  • ABDB Designs
  • Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
  • Canvas NYC
  • Creative Time

2022 Workshop Topics Include:

  • Still Life & Figure Drawing
  • Application Overview & School Choices
  • Portfolio Presentation
  • Audition Preparation
  • How to Photograph Artwork
  • Artist Statements & College Essays
  • Saving & Investing
  • Networking & Resume Writing
  • How to Market Your Work
  • Building Your Online Presence
  • Applying for Scholarships & Grants
  • Exploring Careers in the Arts
  • Logo Design & Illustrator
  • Financial Literacy
  • Pricing Your Work

“Free Arts means a lot to me, it’s become a part of my life. I love art and I want to pursue a career in art, and Free Arts helped me express myself and learn who I am through what I love.”

– Ricardo, Portfolio Development Program