Upturn Arts: Fostering community through art in NOLA

By: Cassidy Brock, Delilah Lerner, and Liam Glenn

Youth participants in Upturn Art’s programming.

Art intervention has been shown to benefit children in various ways, making it an essential tool in promoting their well-being. Children can express their feelings safely and creatively through art, which ultimately helps them to process and manage their emotions. It is especially useful for children with difficulties expressing themselves verbally, such as those with communication or developmental disorders. Art also encourages children’s creativity and imagination, encouraging them to think outside the box and develop original ideas. This can help them develop problem-solving skills and a sense of wonder about their surroundings. In addition, artwork can give children a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work, boosting their self-esteem and confidence. Art can help children develop coping mechanisms and positive ways of dealing with stress and adversity by allowing control over their environment. Overall, art intervention is an essential tool for promoting children’s well-being and assisting them in developing important skills and abilities that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Upturn Arts Logo (Image from: upturnarts.org)

Upturn Arts, an organization based in New Orleans, does a remarkable job utilizing this information. It is a group dedicated to exposing New Orleans youth to the arts while teaching them confidence and creativity. The organization has various programs to accommodate different ages and forms of art. Upturn Arts has evolved in many ways since being established by Dana Reed in 2010. Her hope has always been to provide “arts for all.” However, the organization has begun to focus on the big picture. In the future, they would like to expand their programming and work with more schools to grow their outreach. They would also like to develop multiple locations and create even more scholarships. Though the organization has faced many external challenges (the COVID-19 pandemic) and organizational challenges (hiring more staff, funding, etc.), its overall goal is to create a bigger and more exposed footprint within New Orleans.

Program Director, Dr. Samuel Rosenstein

Dr. Samuel Rosenstein is the program director at Upturn Arts. He began working with Upturn during the COVID-19 pandemic in April of 2021. Though Dr. Sam was initially interested in Landscape Architecture, he craved being on the service and evaluation end of the job. He was ultimately drawn to the full-circle nature of his position at Upturn. Originally from Atlanta, he attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BFA in Studio Art & Education in 2010, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management in 2012. In 2018, he went on to obtain his Doctorate in Art Education from Florida State University.

This experience has led Dr. Sam to develop a more profound love and passion for art. He has stated that he thinks everyone could utilize art in their daily life. To him, art is a powerful tool that can help change an individual’s view of the world, encouraging them to have a balanced perspective, foster deeper connections, and become more empathetic. Through his position at Upturn, he can use art as an instrument to unpack other things by promoting art integration and art education. In his mind, art may not solve everything, but it can foster a safe space and urge people to open their hearts.

Upturn Arts programming project by a youth community member.

In his free time, Dr. Sam is passionate about pointillism, a form of art that utilizes groups of small dots to create one overall image. Though it can be tedious, it teaches patience and promotes the idea that small steps can work together to form one big picture. This message is fitting for Dr. Sam and Upturn Arts because, though they may seem to be a small organization, they work tirelessly every day to take different actions that contribute to the big picture of utilizing art as a vehicle to educate and promote the well-being of the people of New Orleans.

Click here to view the full interview with Dr. Samuel Rosenstein.

For more information, please visit upturnarts.org



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Upturn Arts’ initiative in NOLA is truly inspiring! Their commitment to fostering community through art not only enriches lives but also cultivates creativity and unity among diverse groups. If you’re intrigued by their work and want to explore how art can empower communities further, consider checking out resources like https://writepaper.com/do-my-powerpoint-presentation for insightful presentations on similar impactful initiatives. It’s amazing how art can bring people together and create positive change!

Kim Morgan