Mission & History

Upturn Arts is a fun and creative program that teaches children in the New Orleans community to explore and build confidence in themselves as artists. Our mission is to provide “Arts for All”.


Upturn Art’s History

Upturn Arts manifested from Hope Stone NOLA (formerly Kids Play NOLA), established in 2010 as a satellite project of the Houston-based Hope Stone, Inc. After several years of programming, the organization formally separated from the Houston parent, applying for and receiving 501c3 nonprofit status in June 2014. In 2015, Executive Director, Dana Reed, completed a 12-week business accelerator program with Propeller New Orleans. During this time the Board of Directors decided to rename and rebrand the organization to create a new identity. In 2016, Hope Stone NOLA officially changed to Upturn Arts*.

Upturn Arts began as a two-week dance and music camp in 2010 with 23 young artists. Today, Upturn Arts provides after school and day-long summer and holiday programming at our main site, NOLA Spaces, opening our doors to all children in the New Orleans community in addition to custom-tailored programs for partner schools and community centers without arts education programs. In 2016, Upturn Arts reached almost 600 young artists in dance, visual art, theatre, and music through 8 schools and community partners, 5 on-site after school programs, and 14 weeks of holiday and summer camp.

We distinguish ourselves from other arts education programs by offering both on- and off-site programming, using a sliding scale fee model, welcoming all students without auditions, and focusing on individuality and creative expression within our students. In 2016, 50% of our young artists attended Upturn Arts programming on a scholarship or financial aid.

Skilled master teachers and artists train students in dance, music, theater, improvisation, creative writing, drumming, and yoga, providing young participants with an arts education that builds self-esteem, confidence and the skills that children need to be the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers. The students also gain a greater knowledge of New Orleans’ rich arts culture and heritage while expanding their own individual creativity and self-expression.

*Upturn Arts Employment Identification Number is 46-2925350. At this time, the IRS will recognize both Hope Stone NOLA and Upturn Arts for tax purposes as the organization completes this transition.