Follow upturn arts as they benefit New Orleans’ adolescent mental health

By: Ellie Stein, Nicholas Brown, Sean Glenn, and Adam Marek

The child mental health crisis is continuing to rise throughout America today. Many children struggle with the hardships of growing up in such a technological and ever-changing society, resulting in tolls on their communication skills and interpersonal relationships. The arts, in any form, can assist the youth in breaking out of their shells with others and discovering more about themselves. Adolescents today, more than ever, need the creativity and liveliness that is the arts community to provide a safe and inclusive environment upon which they can thrive.

Founded by Dana Reed, Upturn Arts is a not-for-profit arts organization that provides programming for students in the New Orleans community to explore and build confidence within the arts, with the vision to provide “Arts for All.” Upturn Arts allows students in New Orleans to grow through their many different instructions in performing arts. Such a program as Upturn Arts can be extremely beneficial to its student’s mental health. According to Gomez and colleagues, “Study participants reported arts activities as an important resource for managing negatively perceived emotions, such as stress, anxiety, depression, and sadness.”

Interview with Dana Reed, founder and director of Upturn Arts:

Students at Upturn Arts receiving arts programming are also exposed to stress management techniques and coping mechanisms. Without realizing it, students are creating outlets for such to relieve the stresses that today’s society brings, and through Upturn Arts, students are given a higher chance at healthier mental stability. 

Upturn Arts Students

 Upturn Arts’s mission statement reads, “Upturn Arts believes collaboration breeds artistic creativity and confidence in our young artists. Our programs give every child the freedom to express themselves in a safe, encouraging, and positive environment regardless of artistic talent or ability.” Upturn Arts makes it a part of its mission to include all of its students in the many benefits the arts can provide. Upturn Arts utilize after-school time, which many students may spend alone or without guardians, to further develop their upcoming members of the community into full, well-rounded individuals. The dedication with which Upturn Arts has taken in creating and facilitating its programming and intensive work with the students is remarkable. The organization works every day to help impact so many children’s lives and, throughout the process, build students’ mental and physical health. 


Society as a whole, and the community of New Orleans in particular, needs more programs like Upturn Arts working to create a better future for its city through the students it teaches. The impact that arts and after-school programming can have on the development of the students in its program’s lives is incomparable, and more efforts to support this organization and further its mission are needed. Upturn Arts is worthy of every parent and family’s attention in this city and deserves more recognition, volunteers, funding, and resources to spread its mission to all students.


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Upturn Arts:



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