Providence CityArts Celebrates 25 Years! Produced in PVD

Since 1992, CityArts has provided free arts education and training to more than 5,000 Providence elementary and middle school youth, most from the ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods on Providence’s Southside.  CityArts is the recipient of numerous awards including a 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities.

The brainchild of St. Michael’s Church nun, Sister Ann Keefe, CityArts’ primary goal has always been to “change the minds and hearts” of youth through the arts. At her funeral, Governor Gina Raimondo called Sister Ann “one of our state’s strongest voices for social and economic justice” and implored “us to be better and to do better for one another.”

¡CityArts! now serves more than 500 youth annually. In addition to working with local artists and educators, ¡CityArts! youth have exceptional opportunities to take field trips to local museums, perform at community gatherings, receive homework help from students attending our partner universities, engage in neighborhood service projects, and have their work displayed in galleries throughout Providence.


Seventh Annual Sister Ann Keefe Awards  |  June 22, 2017 |  5:30pm – 7:30pm | 891 Broad Street

Established in 2011, the awards honor Sister Ann Keefe, a nun and community activist who lived in Providence’s Elmwood neighborhood for more than 30 years, and whom Governor Gina Raimondo called “one of our state’s strongest voices for social and economic justice.” In 1992, Sr. Ann created CityArts, one of the city’s first nonprofits dedicated to giving children from low income families the chance to participate in an array of artistic and creative opportunities aimed at building confidence and agency through the arts.

This year’s awardees are a “powerful embodiment of Sr. Ann’s life and legacy,” says Nancy Safian, CityArts executive director. “Like Sr. Ann, both of these extraordinarily gifted artists see the arts as a social and spiritual practice that connects heart, mind, and community.

Award winner, Valerie Tutson, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers housed at the Southside Cultural Center, and director of FUNDA FEST recalls Sister Ann:

“I was lucky to be starting my work in our community at the time when Sister Ann was busy building things! I was inspired by her understanding of the importance of the arts in community with the creation of CityArts, and then by her vision to address issues of violence by creating an institute for the study and practice of non-violence. Thinking of her reminds me how important real community relationships are in making a truly vibrant beloved community.”

Tutson will be joined by muralist and arts educator, Munir Mohammed, who co-founded The International Gallery for Heritage and Culture. and whose murals can be seen around Providence’s Southside.

Seventh Annual Sister Ann Keefe Awards  |  June 22, 2017 |  5:30pm – 7:30pm | 891 Broad Street | RSVP