Current Programming

Since 2010, our “Arts for All” after-school and summer programs have provided arts enrichment opportunities to children who otherwise would not have access to extra-curricular programming.

From the beginning and still true today, Upturn Arts’ programming – both off-site and on-site – acknowledges the importance of New Orleans’ rich cultural and artistic heritage, with instruction focused on local traditions including New Orleans music, Mardi Gras Indians, Carnival masking and more. Special guest instructors augment the instruction of our regular staff. Most importantly, we do not hold auditions for admittance to our programs or camps, and believe in fostering individuality and creative expression.

NOLA Spaces Year-Round Programming: NOLA Spaces serves as Upturn Arts’ “homebase” for our core classes, camps and administration office. This professional, state-of-the-art studio was constructed to accommodate the needs of artists of all levels and styles. Four studios are equipped with professional-grade dance floors, barres and mirrors. NOLA Spaces performance and rehearsal studio is located on the border of Uptown and Central City, one block from the streetcar line and multiple bus lines, making it easily accessible to all metro-New Orleans students.

Year-round programming consists of after-school weekly and Saturday classes in dance, theatre, visual arts and music for children up to age 18 years, with a showcase performance each December and May, concluding the fall and spring programs. Classes are offered on a sliding scale model with financial aid available through grant funds as determined by household income. Many of our families require financial aid to enroll.

Camp Programs at NOLA Spaces

Holiday Camps are offered during most academic breaks: Winter, Martin Luther King, Mardi Gras, Labor Day, Fall, Spring & Parent-Teacher Conference Days. These camps are particularly important to the working parents of our campers who otherwise are unable to provide constructive activities for their children when schools are not in session. The same is true during the summer; most, if not all, of our campers have working parents who take advantage of our flexible before and after-care hours.

Summer Arts Camp: Summer Arts Camps have been held at Nola Spaces since 2013, featuring classes in dance, theater, music and visual arts. In response to the overwhelming demand for and success of our camp offerings, 2017 Summer Camp will be expanded to 10-weeks. Demonstrating campers’ and parents’ solid support and buy-in, 50% of our 2016 summer campers were “repeat” campers from previous years.

2016 Camp featured 9-weeks of full-day programming (children aged 3-14 years) that focused on 5 themes: International, NOLA, Recycle, Earth and Explore. 2016 Camp included 4 field trips (City Park, New Orleans Museum of Art, Ogden Museum, and Aquarium of the Americas / Insectarium) and 4 final student performances.

Thirty special guest artists in 2016 (including Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr. and Dr. Michael White) augmented the instruction of our regular staff. These guest artists provided special 60-minute workshops and taught our students how they employ the arts in their craft.

Off-Site School / Community Programming

Upturn provides after-school arts programming at New Orleans schools and community centers that lack creative arts programs. Several of these off-site programs are tuition based and fully funded by participants; these revenue streams help underwrite our sliding scale tuition model.

Lycée Francais: Upturn Arts provides music and yoga classes 2 days per week for 22 students. 60% of the students at this school are low income.

New Orleans Women and Children’s Shelter: Upturn Arts began partnering with the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter this summer, recognizing the dire need of these children for a creative outlet. We had 10 children participate in our 2016 summer camp, which gave them the ability to learn in a safe, creative class environment and mainstream with children of more stable backgrounds. Our staff and the Women’s Shelter team members saw the clear, positive impact this nurturance made on these children’s lives. We provided dance & music classes at the shelter Fall 2016, 2 days each week. Funding currently is being sought to continue this project.

Good Shepherd Nativity School: We provide after-school theater classes 4 days / week to students in Pre-K – 7th grade at no cost to the students.  93% of the students who attend this school are living in poverty.

Cathedral Montessori School: We provide after-school dance and arts classes to ages 3-to-5-years in tandem with this school. We also offer weeklong, half-day “mini” art camps during all school breaks at our NOLA Spaces studios, with instruction in art, music, dance and theater.

Jewish Community Center: We provide 2 after-school dance classes (Creative Movement & Ballet) each 1 day / week each school semester. Introduction to Dance also is taught to boys & girls ages 3 to 5 years as an after-school program. In the summer, a 4-week immersion program is offered to teens, with Upturn teaching artists focusing weekly on specialized skills, including, photography, emoji and hashtag art, musical theater and others.

KIPP Central City Primary: We have renewed our association with Kipp – one of our original school partners – and again are providing after-school dance program for students ages 5-to-11-years. Upturn has a long history with KIPP, having initially provided their dance instruction from 2010 – 2014 through the support of NBA star Chris Paul’s CP3 After-School Zone. The majority of KIPP Central City students live below the poverty line.

Academy of the Sacred Heart: Upturn Arts provides on-site, all-day arts programming on Parent-Teacher Conference holidays for students in grades K – 4.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School: In 2017 Upturn initiated two 6-week arts programs in 2016 for pre-K – 3rd grade students.