Riverzedge Arts; doing good for RI’s youth

26 Mar

Today I’d like to share with you a wonderful organization that provides amazing resources, training, education and support for Rhode Island’s youth. We are proud to support this organization that will be at the Garden City Art Festival in Cranston, RI on June 8th and 9th.

Riverzedge Arts Project

Riverzedge in Woonsocket, RI

Riverzedge in Woonsocket, RI

RiverzEdge Arts Project is an innovative youth development program in Woonsocket, R.I. that gives educationally and economically disenfranchised youth (ages 12 to 24) in northern Rhode Island an opportunity for paid employment in the arts and a voice in their community. To their clients, Riverzedge studios work together to deliver all the marketing services of a design firm and to their young designers and artists, Riverzedge delivers a paycheck and so much more.
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In fact, Riverzedge Arts is a social enterprise–a business in service of a social mission–that provides talented underserved teens hands-on work experience in graphic design, digital photography, screen-printing and visual arts.

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All profits from their business go directly into the Arts & Business programs they offer. Teen participants receive daily education and practice creating work for clients, and receive a bi-weekly stipend, providing many a leg up and out of poverty. To get paid for their work, participants must keep their grades up, be on the path to high school graduation, and apply to college.

Riverzedge participants at a resume seminar.

Riverzedge participants at a resume seminar.

How did Riverzedge get started?

Riverzedge was founded by youth development professionals and community leaders concerned about the patterns of violence among disaffected youth. With help from Boston’s Artists for Humanity, Riverzedge was established in 2002 in Woonsocket, RI—a city plagued by high teen pregnancy, adjudication and drop out rates, and a persistent cycle of poverty.* Within Arts & Business alone, we’ve grown from serving 5 youth in 2002, to over 150 in 2012.

*Woonsocket has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in RI; the 2nd highest rate of births to teens; 54% of high school students are eligible for free and reduced lunch; only 44% took the SAT in 2007; and 67% of Woonsocket residents are considered low-income.

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Festival Fete is thrilled to support the mission of Riverzedge by donating a booth space at the Garden City Arts Festival. What can our guests at the Festival look forward to seeing?

The youth in our ScreenWorks studio have developed a wonderful line of hand-printed apparel and accessories that have shown in Craftland for the past three years. They will be debuting a crop of new summer designs at Festival Fete’s Garden City Art Festival in June! Be on the look out for screenprinted dresses, crop tops, tanks, onesies, bags, journals, drink cozies, and fine art prints!

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What makes your product unique?

Because they are created within a larger studio setting and are informed by other artistic mediums, our screen-printed designs are always fresh, playful, and unique. Still, it’s not just our products that draw people towards Riverzedge, but also the knowledge that all profits made through sales go directly back into our youth programming!

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Can you tell us about any upcoming shows you are participating in? How can our readers learn more about Riverzedge?

Our VisualArts studio currently has a show called The Big Works, on view at the Pawtucket Visitor’s Center Gallery now through April 5th. The teen artists in that studio have created large-scale works on canvas, each referencing a prominent contemporary artist as a lens and mining their own experiences and surroundings in the process. Big ideas you shouldn’t miss!

You can connect with Riverzedge on their Facebook page, website and at the Garden City Art Festival!

Garden City Art Festival 2013

Garden City Art Festival 2013

Festival Fete thanks our sponsor:

Natural Awakenings

 

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