We Are New York Values

Arts for Social Justice


Mission: Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE) engages young people around human rights, using art as the mobilizing vehicle to inspire them to organize for change and to amplify their voices. First, we use art to educate youth around the issues that impact their communities. Then we provide them with the space to express their own experiences around human rights through the arts. Finally, through our interactive, multimedia visual arts programs, we equip them with the organizing tools to fight for human rights in their communities and in connection with global human rights movements. These tools enable students to work more effectively in the collective task of steering society towards greater justice. Across all of ARTE’s programs, youth develop the language, confidence, ability, and drive to address the human rights abuses that directly affect them. Along with ARTE’s workshops in school classrooms, ARTE also operates in jails and in community-based organizations throughout New York City.

Website: https://www.artejustice.org/connect
Volunteer sign-up form: http://bit.ly/2lGXWw9
Phone: 347-493-5081
Email: marissa@artejustice.org

What volunteers do:

  • support funding and development initiatives (e.g. organize community events, research grant and fundraising opportunities.)

  • help design promotional materials (including website)

  • help curate Women’s March Art Digital Archive


  • valuable skills include strategic planning, fundraising, computer skills (Office programs, Google sites, social media platforms, Photoshop and other design programs, and website development)

 Borough: Brooklyn office; programs in Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan

Mission: Art Connects New York uses art to empower individuals and enrich communities. We commission artwork and develop site-adaptive programs in collaboration with constituents at local social service agencies to promote social equity and foster collective wellbeing. Projects may include educational programming, design interventions, the placement of permanent artwork, or other exercises in creative expression. Our comprehensive and responsive programs bring the assets of art and creative engagement directly into the lives of the people we serve.

Website: https://www.artconnectsnewyork.org
Email: Rebecca Pristoop rebeccap@artconnectsnewyork.org
Phone: 212-463-7200

What volunteers do:

  • help at openings and special events (welcome guests, supervise refreshments)

  • assist in art-making workshops with children and teens

  • photography/videography to document programs

  • write blog posts/help with social media

  • assist with office administration

  • research potential funders

Mission: ARTs East New York Inc. is committed to promoting multi-disciplinary arts as a means to address socioeconomic issues facing East New York, Brooklyn. Our innovative efforts foster entrepreneurs and industries that support the local economy, reduce crime and recidivism, heighten awareness around healthy living, and instill community pride. Our cultural initiatives improve livability and encourage economic development outcomes that empower current members of the community and set a path for sustainable neighborhood growth. AENY’s mission is rooted in the idea that enlightening a community through culture sets a sustainable pattern of development. With each program and project produced, AENY is building the infrastructure necessary to support economic opportunity, cultural unity, and educational access.

Website: http://artseastny.org/opportunities/#volunteer
Volunteer application: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfeqfnZvA2UGHMtVc1dVp6moDV6s8jq6nsOkRe_zLtCgiGQWA/viewform#start=embed
Email: info@artseastny.org
Phone: 718-676-6006

What volunteers do:

  • office assistant

  • art gallery docent

  • event staff

Borough: Brooklyn

Mission: In 1979, Avenues for Justice first reached into some crowded Manhattan criminal courtrooms and found kids who might turn their lives around if they only had a second chance. What AFJ did next was unheard of. We presented the courts with an option: instead of sentencing youth to jail, judges could send them to AFJ for counseling, training, education and employment assistance.  That simple tactic -- keep kids out of prison -- has saved the lives of hundreds of young people every year for more than three decades. At a time when the U.S. incarceration rate is the highest of any nation in the world and a cycle of arrests and imprisonment has become the norm within many low-income communities, AFJ has bucked the trend to become one of history's most successful and cost-effective crime prevention programs. 

Website: http://avenuesforjustice.org/about/volunteer
Email: info@avenuesforjustice.org
Phone: Elizabeth Frederick 212-349-6381

What volunteers do:

  • artists, educators, and assistants help with weekly art projects.

  • tutors help students with school work, and prepare them to take Regents tests in history, English, math, and science

Borough: Manhattan

Mission: Project Renewal’s mission is to end the cycle of homelessness by empowering men, women and children to renew their lives with health, homes and jobs. Men and women struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental illness and other chronic health issues need comprehensive services to achieve their goals for independent living. Our range of innovative programs are designed to meet the holistic needs of the most vulnerable homeless men and women. The Bowery Arts Project’s bi-weekly art classes serve a community of men (clients) seeking help with their drug and alcohol addiction. The clients are short-term residents of the non-medical detox floor at Project Renewal's 3rd Street facility.

Website: http://www.projectrenewal.org/contact-us
Email: n/a
Phone: 212-620-0340

What volunteers do:

  • participate in Project Renewal morning meeting with residents

  • teach classes (optional)

  • make art alongside residents

  • listen to and share time with residents


  • classes Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

  • amount of participation flexible

  • no art-therapy training required

Borough: Manhattan

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute


Mission: CCCADI integrates the arts, education, activism and conscious cultural tourism to foster social transformation. We document and present the creative genius of African Diaspora cultures; prepare the next generation of cultural leaders; and unite Diaspora communities. Each of CCCADI’s programs asserts the centrality and relevance of African, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino culture to strengthen our communities, build access, and support leadership from within economically vulnerable and underserved communities. CCCADI carries out its mission through public art exhibitions, performances, educational programs, workshops, conferences and international exchanges. CCCADI is regarded as a pioneer in the field and an authentic source on the historic living traditions of afro-descendent communities in the US and globally. Our programs and pedagogy are informed by Afro-Atlantic aesthetics and philosophies. CCCADI consciously cultivates multi-generational audiences acknowledging the unique gifts of community elders, adults and youth. Our initiatives and our audiences reflect the dynamic kaleidoscope of global Black culture. We actively work to create a world in which afro-descendent people: have access to culturally relevant arts education, training, and employment opportunities; are guaranteed equal rights and opportunities to make a sustainable living for themselves and their families; live in communities that are safe, healthy, beautiful and vibrant;  leverage their cultural traditions as a source of wisdom, power, pride, healing and thriving; understand and engage with the global diversity of Black cultural expressions; and use our creativity to empower our people as artists, thinkers and leaders within our homes, schools, and communities - and in our major cultural institutions that present our contributions to humanity.

Website: http://www.cccadi.org/get-involved/ (scroll down for volunteer form)
Phone: 212-307-7420
Email: info@cccadi.org

What volunteers do:

  • public programming

  • education

  • development

  • general office support


  • four-month commitment

  • training sessions required

  • must be 18 to volunteer

  • volunteer application opens up seasonally

Borough: Manhattan

Mission: The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement. CUP projects demystify the urban policy and planning issues that impact our communities, so that more individuals can better participate in shaping them. We believe that increasing understanding of how these systems work is the first step to better and more diverse community participation. CUP projects are collaborations of art and design professionals, community-based advocates and policymakers, and our staff. Together we take on complex issues—from the juvenile justice system to zoning law to food access—and break them down into simple, accessible, visual explanations. The tools we create are used by organizers and educators all over New York City and beyond to help their constituents better advocate for their own community needs.

Website: http://welcometocup.org/GetInvolved
Phone: 718-596-7721
Email: info@welcometocup.org 

What volunteers do:

  • help set up and manage a CUP event like a screening, final presentation, or party

  • lead high school students in a field research exercise or street interviews

  • be a design critic at a review of a high-school student project

  • transcribe interviews from a CUP student project about policy, planning, or infrastructure

  • translate text for one of our projects, like Making Policy Public

  • help CUP staff and board members organize a benefit party

  • help assemble or fabricate parts of a CUP project


  • valuable skills include copyediting, fact-checking, translation, design critique (not the mean kind, the friendly, constructive kind), woodworking, photography, programming - HTML, PHP, JavaScript, mapping, event planning, sales (talking to strangers about buying CUP products or donating to CUP) fundraising (excluding grant writing)

Mission: Community-Word Project is an arts-in-education organization that inspires children in underserved communities to read, interpret and respond to their world and to become active citizens through collaborative arts residencies and teacher training programs.

Website: http://communitywordproject.org/get-involved/
Email: http://communitywordproject.org/contact-us/?message_propouse=5
Phone: 212-962-3820

What volunteers do:

  • work one-on-one with CWP students to prepare their original poems for publication in an anthology which each student receives and shares with friends and family (anthology days)

  • join young artists in painting a collaborative canvas mural based on a class community-poem (community paint days)

  • support student performers as they take the stage and share their writing and artwork with their classmates and teachers (end-of-year celebration)

  • organize cultivation or fundraising events

  • guest blog on arts education topics in your area of expertise

Mission: Culture Push nurtures artists and other creative people who are approaching common problems through hands-on civic participation and imaginative problem-solving. Culture Push supports a lively exchange of ideas between many different communities: artists and non-artists, professional practitioners and laypeople, and across generations, neighborhoods, and cultures. The programs of Culture Push focus on collaboration and group learning through active, participatory experiences. The current focal program is the Fellowship for Utopian Practice, which supports creative practitioners of many types, especially people who may be outside of the mainstream, as they develop ideas that combine artistic practice, civic engagement, and social justice.

Website: https://www.culturepush.org
Volunteer sign-up form: https://bit.ly/2HulXm9
Email: admin@culturepush.org or cp@culturepush.org
Phone: 917-306-6363

What volunteers do:

  • support special events (set-up and break-down, welcome crew)

  • support fundraising efforts by researching and requesting in-kind donations and grant and fundraising opportunities

  • general errands and technical support

  • communications and support for Fellows

  • website design and functionality

  • marketing and outreach, including documentation of events for the organization and the Fellows

  • install and maintain of gallery shows


  • Culture Push can accommodate a range of skills and time commitments

  • ideal volunteers are responsible, prompt, and respectful; and want to support marginalized voices, and the expansion of artistic practice into new realms.

Borough: floating “office” in Brooklyn and Manhattan; events take place throughout the five boroughs

Mission: Premised on the belief that the arts are an effective vehicle for social transformation, Dance Theatre Etcetera unites artists and community members as co-creators in dynamic cultural activities. DTE offers both school-based and community-based arts education programs that provide rigorous instruction in performing arts and digital media, emphasizing collaboration, critical thinking and engagement. Employing an arsenal of techniques from Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to documentary filmmaking, youth are encouraged to challenge themselves and their peers to become active participants in their schools, their communities and in determining the direction of their own lives as they develop their skills as socially engaged artists.

Website: https://dtetc.org/individuals/
Email: Maria Soriano maria@dtetc.org (for teaching artists)
Phone: 718-643-6790

What volunteers do:

  • help at annual Red Hook Fest

  • visit entrepreneurship/media classes to share your employment success story

  • serve on benefit committee for annual fundraiser

  • speak to In Transition students about your personal journey from high school to adulthood


  • teaching artists can send resume, cover letter for in-school and community-based programs

Mission: If a girl can change her own life, she can change the lives of girls everywhere. We envision a world in which every girl is valued and encouraged to be a leader and change maker. Girl Be Heard develops, amplifies, and celebrates the voices of young women through socially conscious theatre-making. 

Website: http://girlbeheard.org/join-the-movement-2/mentor-a-girl/
Phone: 718-222-4475
Email: volunteer@girlbeheard.org 

What volunteers do:

  • mentor a girl aged 12-21 who is participating in the theatre program (minimum of monthly in-person meetings with mentee plus interim communication)

Mission: Groundswell brings together artists, youth, and community organizations through our Scaffold Up! model to use art as a tool for social change, for a more just and equitable world. Our projects beautify neighborhoods, engage youth in societal and personal transformation, and give expression to ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in the public dialogue. Our vision of youth development is to engage underserved, marginalized, and economically disadvantaged youth in public art-making to gain the inspiration, tools, and agency to take ownership of their futures. Our vision of community change is to encourage dialogue and activism, in participation with organizations that share our values and aspirations. Our vision of public art is to link personal expression to community activism, resulting in high quality work that conveys compelling messages about the concerns of our participants and partners.

Website: https://www.groundswell.nyc/volunteer
Email: info@groundswell.nyc
Phone: 718-254 9782

What volunteers do:

  • help paint murals

  • staff events

  • assist in the office

Mission: The mission of Interference Archive is to explore the relationship between cultural production and social movements. This work manifests in an open stacks archival collection, publications, a study center, and public programs including exhibitions, workshops, talks, and screenings, all of which encourage critical and creative engagement with the rich history of social movements. The archive contains many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials. Through our programming, we use this cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation.  We consider the use of our collection to be a way of preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions.

Website: http://interferencearchive.org/what-powers-interference-archive-volunteers/
Phone: n/a
Email:  info@interferencearchive.org

What volunteers do:

  • staff events

  • curate exhibits

  • create podcasts

  • assist with cataloguing/archiving

Borough: Brooklyn

Mission: For 25 years, Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) has pursued racial and economic justice in New York City by advancing systemic changes that result in concrete improvements in people’s everyday lives. We are inspired by Jewish tradition to fight for a sustainable world with an equitable distribution of economic and cultural resources and political power. The movement to dismantle racism and economic exploitation will be led by those most directly targeted by oppression. We believe that Jews have a vital role to play in this movement. The future we hope for depends on Jews forging deep and lasting ties with our partners in struggle.

Website: http://jfrej.org/get-involved-2/
Phone: 212-647-8966 x11
Email: leo@jfrej.org 

What volunteers do:

  • after orientation, members work on police accountability; workforce rights for home healthcare workers; fighting Islamophobia; movement building through arts and storytelling; and outreach

  • special caucuses for Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and poor and working-class Jews

  • long-term campaigns and targeted actions

Mission: We are a rapid response creative production team, made up of comedy writers, comedians and activists, on call 24/7 to make videos, artistic memes and create national actions that respond instantly to the breaking news surrounding reproductive rights issues. We will within minutes, or hours, blast the perpetrators dispensing damaging information about abortion, crisis pregnancy centers, birth control as well as taking down those who shame and stigmatize women for wanting, having and demanding safe and healthy sex lives on their own terms. At Lady Parts Justice League, we vigilantly drop information about what’s at stake for reproductive access into pop culture spaces, AND we bring all the fun of pop culture back to reproductive health spaces to boost morale and provide aid and comfort. A crucial part of our mission is to support and raise awareness about independent abortion providers – clinics that bear the brunt of anti-abortion legislation and harassment.

Website: http://ladypartsjusticeleague.com/clinic-outreach/
Phone: n/a
Email: info@ladypartsjusticeleague.com

What volunteers do:

  • several times a year, the League performs comedy shows in a USO format to bring love to women’s health clinics and their communities; volunteers spend those days supporting a local abortion provider as clinic escorts, bringing treats and cards, offering support wherever needed

  • organize evening events

  • host parties

  • help fundraise

  • perform shows in community places to raise awareness about reproductive health while building relationships between clinics, advocates, and communities

Mission: We amplify the creativity that already exists within communities by using arts and culture to build community networks, solve problems, and enhance our sense of ownership in the places where we live, work, and grow. The Laundromat Project believes art, culture, and engaged imaginations can change the way people see their world, open them up to new ideas, and connect them with their neighbors. When artists have the opportunity to build and contribute their unique skills and perspectives to the needs of their neighborhoods, they can be invaluable assets in furthering community wellbeing. When the skills and strategies for igniting creativity are made broadly available to everyday people and purposefully applied as tools for visioning a new and better world, these can be powerful forces for positive, transformative change. We know we have been successful when, over time, our neighbors—artists and everyday people, newcomers and old-timers, individually and collectively—become more involved in the civic and cultural affairs of their communities, feel more deeply connected to the places and people where they live and work, and bring a sense of creativity to community concerns. Our arts education work takes place through hands-on, community-centered art workshops and public programs at local laundromats and other community spaces. We aim to make art education more readily available to all our community members—regardless of income, age, or background. We believe it is a basic human right to use our imaginations in the service of a better life.

Website: http://laundromatproject.org/get-involved/volunteer/
Volunteer form: http://www.tfaforms.com/321480
Email: info@laundromatproject.org or Melissa Liu at melissa@laundromatproject.org or Emily Mock at emily@laundromatproject.org

What volunteers do:

  • help at special events (e.g., neighborhood festivals, field days, sidewalk drop-in art workshops)

  • aid teaching artists at outdoor art workshops

  • assist artists with public art projects

  • assist with annual benefit (set-up, management, clean up, break down)

  • assist with public-art potluck

  • create LP merchandise

  • assist staff in The LP office


  • volunteer orientation provided

Borough: All (core programs are in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Harlem, and Hunts Point/Longwood)

Mission: Mass Transit Street Theater & Video (MTSTV) is a Bronx-based theater known nationally for a dynamic mix of storytelling, song, dance, and film that entertains and provokes thought about the issues that touch our lives. The company’s original plays explore the contemporary issues of urban life, the value of diversity, and visions of what could be if we learn to work together. Following the show, actors and the audience join in a lively discussion of the play and the questions it raises. Since 2007, Mass Transit has been offering original plays, films and workshops primarily to young people in schools and community centers. Through film festivals, screenings, mediation trainings and plays we are promoting emotional, economic and environmental literacy in schools and neighborhoods throughout the city.

Website: http://www.mtstv.org/GetInvolved.html
Email: mtstv@earthlink.net
Phone: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • administration

  • Fundraising

  • Marketing/PR

  • Distribution/outreach

Borough: Bronx

Mission: Founded in 2000 by actors and educators, Opening Act seeks to level the playing field for our students by specifically partnering with NYC schools that have lower than average graduation rates (as few as 33% of students graduating in four years) and an evident lack of theater programming. Opening Act gives high school students opportunities to develop leadership, community, and commitment through its innovative, high quality, free after-school theater program. We strive to remain a consistent and positive force in our students’ lives, regardless of fluctuating school budgets and priorities.

Website: http://openingact.org/volunteer/
Email: info@openingact.org for general volunteering or Marcus Denard Johnson, associate director of programs & student development at marcus@openingact.org for guest artists
Phone: 646-418-7088

What volunteers do:

  • professional actors, dancers, directors, techies, and designers work with Opening Act’s students as guest artists

  • work at student shows

  • assist with fundraising

  • mailing, data entry, general office support


  • guest artists should email a resume and brief statement of interestto Marcus Denard Johnson

Mission: PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world.  Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. The Prison Writing Program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free handbook for prisoners, and provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates.

Website: https://pen.org/mentoring-program
Phone: 212-334-1660
Email: penmentor@gmail.com

What volunteers do:

  • mentor prison writers through correspondence, minimum of three exchanges between mentor and writer

Mission: Mass Transit Street Theater & Video is a Bronx-based theater known nationally for a dynamic mix of storytelling, song, dance, and film that entertains and provokes thought about contemporary issues of urban life, the value of diversity, and visions of what could be if we learn to work together. Following the show, actors and the audience join in a lively discussion of the play and the questions it raises. Since 2007, Mass Transit has been offering original plays, films and workshops primarily to young people in schools and community centers. Through film festivals, screenings, mediation/conflict-resolution training, and plays we are promoting emotional, economic and environmental literacy in schools and neighborhoods throughout the city. MTSTV offers workshops for students and staff in schools and community centers in empowerment poetry, character and plot development as it relates to one’s own values and life path, and conflict resolution. Starting out from our home base in the Bronx, we have performed in neighborhoods from East Harlem to Las Vegas on stages from Lincoln Hospital to Lincoln Center, for spectators ranging from youthful offenders in detention centers to union delegates in convention centers.  And along the way, we have demonstrated that good theater and video with a social/political edge is very much alive and in demand by contemporary audiences.

Website: http://www.mtstv.org/GetInvolved.html
Email: solidgroundnyc@gmail.com
Phone: 718-882-2454

What volunteers do:

  • assist with the production of plays, videos, film festivals and workshops for youth

  • assist with administration

  • assist with fundraising

  • assist with PR/marketing

  • assist with outreach/distribution

Borough: Bronx

Mission: RPGA Studio is a social practice nonprofit that uses art + design + education + technology to address community issues. Our areas of focus are: youth, commercial corridors, transportation safety, garbage, and revitalizing outdoor spaces.  "Women Who Build: Artist Who Own' is about empowering women and girls by giving us the tools they need to grow, the networks they need to succeed, and the confidence they need to persevere. It’s about women working together to learn to build with their own hands in an industry dominated by males. The skills women learn help them go back to their homes and communities, feel empowered, and have stronger women networks to draw strength from. RPGA also works with students to paint murals, and on virtual-reality projects that help communities change behaviors around litter and transportation.

Website: http://www.regoparkgreenalliance.org/
Phone: 718-433-4659
Email: Yvonne Shortt (founder) yvonne@regoparkgreenalliance.org

What volunteers do:

  • help with Tiny House build (no prior experience necessary, just an interest in learning how to use tools)

  • fundraising and marketing

  • volunteers with construction skills, architects, industrial designers very helpful

  • one-time activities in neighborhood revitalization (2-3 hour commitment) include: help students paint murals, design and plant local gardens, staff a virtual-reality stand

Borough: Queens

Mission: RTA's mission is to use the transformative power of the arts to develop social and cognitive skills that prisoners need for successful reintegration into the community. RTA serves 200 prisoners at any one time, teaching in at least one facility every day of the week, year-round. More than 30 arts facilitators travel to remote prisons in 3 New York State counties to teach a wide variety of artistic media. In RTA's latest development, we have begun to follow participants as they are released to the community to nurture the creative experience they found so meaningful inside. Our first project is to develop a play about the many challenges of reentry. 

Website: http://www.rta-arts.org/volunteer
Phone: 914-232-7566
Email: info@rta-arts.org 

What volunteers do:

  • help with props, costumes, sets (outside of prison)

  • work in prison (requires advanced arts training and extensive background checks)

Mission: Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC) partners with social service organizations and city agencies, forming theatre troupes with community members who face pressing social, economic, health, and human rights issues. These troupes devise plays based on their real-life struggles, and perform them before diverse audiences. After each performance, actors and audiences engage in theatrical brainstorming – called Forum Theatre – with the aim of catalyzing creative change on the individual, community and political levels. Legislative Theatre – a particular type of Forum Theatre – brings citizens, legislators and policymakers together into creative dialogue about the policies and laws that affect communities facing oppression. We use theatre, in other words, to spark concrete civic change.

Website: http://www.tonyc.nyc/volunteerform
Phone: 646-504-4582
Email: Holly Sansom holly@tonyc.nyc

What volunteers do:

  • front of house, usher, food sales at TONYC shows

  • setup and breakdown shows

  • photography

  • neighborhood outreach, tabling at advocacy fairs, flyering

  • work at spring legislative theater festival

  • collect audience policy ideas

  • develop policy suggestions