ProjectArt was founded in Harlem in the summer of 2011 with just ten children from the neighborhood in a community center. Its founder, Adarsh Alphons, was expelled from school in India at the age of seven for drawing in class. By the time he was fifteen, he was painting portraits for Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the Pope, all because one art teacher recognized his passion for art and encouraged him.
In that vein, ProjectArt aims to provide the opportunity for youth in divested communities to express themselves creatively, overcome social barriers, and foster the development of pro-socialization and critical-thinking skills so they can grow as empowered young adults.
ProjectArt has developed an innovative, high-impact, and scalable model: free after-school art classes for youth in public libraries, taught by emerging visual artists.
As part of the art and social practice residency, these visual artists teach and mentor our students, creating an environment ripe for students’ success inside and outside the classroom. ProjectArt also offers our resident artists free space in the library’s community room in which to work on their personal practice.
Today, the organization serves nearly 2,000 students in 44 libraries throughout Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.