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Urb Arts

Urban Artist Alliance for Child Development (UrbArts) values the transformation that comes about through exposure to and participation in the arts. Founded in August of 2001 by MK Stallings, our mission is to create platforms and platform creatives for youth and community development. Our purpose is to center marginalized artists so that their agency can effect change in the lives of children, and, together, we can revitalize neglected communities.  

Our method for the work we do can be summarized as cultivate, exhibit, excellence, disseminate, and empower. This methodology is based on years of observation of what works in our experience with youth development. The path we choose to educate our young people or improve our communities begins with affirmed artists who are centered by circumstance.

The beginnings of that work is found in our Urban Arts Studios, which focuses curation, repetition, creation, refinement, and experimentation with art.  Studio experience often leads to exhibition. Excellence or success in exhibition prepares artists for the critical work of youth and community development. What follows excellence is dissemination of news, cultural capital and reputation. Lastly, we believe spreading these affirming truths facilitates empowerment whether in classrooms or communities. 

The story

I started UrbArts in 1999 as Urban Artist Alliance or UAA as an umbrella organization for a bunch of events I planned with different themes. One of them was weekly open mic on Sundays called Urban Hang Suite, the only event I ended up doing. Anyway, a year after starting Legacy Books and Cafe with John Nicks & Kevin Bryant and running an open mic poetry night, I was approached by Mr. Grady who worked at the Juvenile Detention Center. He asked if I could work with youth detainees and help them write poetry.  I was down. I never taught before but I was down. I learned a lot then about teaching from the critiques of teens and need for youth centered approaches. By August of 2001, I incorporated UAA and added Child Development to it. We’ve been about serving youth ever since.    

-MK Stallings, founder

Urban Arts Studios

UrbArts offers studios for work in the arts that are multi-generational and broad. Many of the studios are low-cost or free. All provide artists with space to prepare for the next step of their creative journey. 





Urb Arts

Teach UrbArts  provides aspiring teaching artists training for work in urban arts instruction. Applications will be made available twice a year for program enrollment. 

As an independent 501 (c)3 nonprofit, UrbArts relies on charitable donations to support our mission. Becoming a member is one way to support us. Other ways of supporting include collecting art through our gallery, booking our artists for performances, or celebrating special moments by reserving our space.  Part of this tradition is self-reliance and building community. With your support, we can institutionalize our method for empowering the dispossessed and center the marginalized. 

“...who's truth shall we express, that of the oppressed or of the oppressors?”

Larry Neal