Women in the non-profit sector shaping New Orleans: Upturn Arts for all

By: Ben Schwartz, Ilayda Demirtas, and Jon Reed

Upturn Arts is a nonprofit organization based in New Orleans, Louisiana, providing arts education and enrichment programs to young children in underserved communities. Founded in 2010 by Dana Reed, Upturn Arts aims to empower and inspire children through the arts, allowing them to express themselves creatively and develop life skills. With core values of community, creativity, fun, respect, diversity, equity, and inclusion, Upturn Arts provides a positive, supportive environment for “upturns” to occur daily.

Through an extensive variety of programs and workshops, Upturn Arts offers instruction in dance, theater, music, visual arts, and more. All programs are taught by professional artists and educators fully committed to helping young children grow and thrive. Upturn Arts also provides opportunities for children to participate in performances to showcase their talents to the New Orleans community.

One of the unique aspects of Upturn Arts is its focus on New Orleans culture and history. Many of their programs incorporate elements of local culture, such as music and dance traditions, as well as the city’s rich history of art and architecture. By grounding their programs in the regional context, Upturn Arts helps preserve and celebrate the city’s cultural heritage while providing children with a deeper understanding of their community.

Upturn Arts’ impact on the community has also been significant. Providing access to an arts education helps promote creativity and self-expression among young children and has been linked to measurable increases in confidence, self-esteem, social skills and academic performance.

In addition, Upturn Arts has helped foster a sense of community among the young children in New Orleans. By bringing together children from different backgrounds and neighborhoods, they have created a space where kids can learn from each other and form meaningful connections.

Upturn Arts has also been instrumental in promoting the arts in New Orleans. New Orleans, one of the oldest cities in America (approx. 300 years old), has a rich history and identity of art. By providing quality instruction and performances, they have helped keep the arts alive and thriving in this city.

Overall, Upturn Arts is a precious resource for young people in New Orleans. Through their programs and workshops, they are promoting creativity, community, and self-expression. More importantly, they’re inspiring the next generation of artists and leaders.

Interview with the Program Director of Upturn Arts – Samuel Rosenstein, Ed.D.

Samuel Rosenstein is the current program director of Upturn Arts. Sam is a Doctor of Education in Art Education, with an additional focus on arts administration, via Florida State University. Sam also has a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit administration and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education, both via the University of Georgia.

Sign Up!

Upturn Arts has over 1,126 young artists and was awarded 121,646 dollars of financial aid in 2022.

As part of Upturn Arts’ vision to provide “Arts for All,” Upturn Arts offers financial aid through their creARTive grants program to allow ALL young artists to explore and investigate the world around them through art. CreARTive grants are available year-round and determined by annual income.

For more information, click here.

This piece was edited by Delia O’Brien as part of Professor Kelley Crawford’s Digital Civic Engagement course at Tulane University. 


You must login to post a comment. Need a ViaNolaVie account? Click here to signup.