Tote bag designed and printed by ArtWorks' students for Roberto Cavalli. The bag was displayed at the Cavalli store on Madison Avenue, New York.

What is ArtWorks?

ArtWorks is a unique summer program that brings together groups of middle and high school students and introduces them to the demands and rewards of the real world and the city’s creative industries.  Its goals are to: 

  • Provide a platform for youth development and self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts; 
  • Provide students with arts, social, work-based and academic skills; and 
  • Teach students about the artworld and careers in the arts.

How do we open the creative professions to the economically disadvantaged youth of our city? How do we ensure that communities maintain their vitality and voice as "cultural corridors" develop around them? How do we guarantee that the full range of our city's great diversity is represented in the cultural professions? These are the central issues that led Casita Maria to develop the innovative ArtWorks Internship Program. 

How Does it Work?

ArtWorks’ internship model works “in-house” with youth instead of the traditional internship of sending youth “out” to businesses and organizations. Working in groups of ten students with a teaching artist, the students work on real-world commissioned projects. During their time in the program, the students gain direct experience of the commissioning process, develop a range of art-based skills, become strong leaders and team players, come to understand careers and gain work-based skills, and develop a sense of their civic and community responsibilities. They are also introduced to a wide range of individuals and organizations who will help them understand their emerging roles and responsibilities as community members, family members and workers.

For the summer 2013 component of the program, at least 80 ArtWorks Interns will work Monday to Thursday between 9:00am and 2:00pm from July 8th to August 1st as employees in small groups of ten, guided by teaching artists. Each group will work on a real world project with a final product for a commissioning company or organization. The first week of the program is spent meeting with the commissioning company and learning the necessary artistic skills necessary to complete the final product. The next three weeks are spent creating the final product and they interact frequently through e-mail and visits with the commissioning company to get feedback and critiques as their project develops.

Different than most jobs available to teens, young people are directly involved in negotiations and meetings with clients; they are also involved in all aspects of planning and product development. Throughout the program the Interns meet as a larger group to explore a curriculum of team building activities, work-based skills workshops (resume writing, interviewing, professional writing, etc.) and career exploration activities. At the end of their ArtWorks Internship each group presents their final product to each other and to the company they are working with.  And, most important, the summer interns are paid a $250 stipend—pay that may be reduced if they display an unprofessional approach through absence, persistent lateness, etc. This approach allows us to ensure that the program gives each of the students the educational support they need, while also introducing them to the demands and rewards of work and civic life.

The program is offered at the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education in the South Bronx and at our satellite space at PS/IS 50 in East Harlem.


ArtWorks Partners:

  • Roberto Cavalli
  • Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center
  • New York University
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • 52 People for Progress
  • LBI Advertising
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Bronx Museum
  • Cornwall Capital
  • Violy & Co.
  • Friends of Evette Zayas
  • Dancing in the Streets

Services that ArtWorks has provided:

  • Décor for special events
  • Video
  • Art Mural
  • Logo Design
  • T-shirt and tote bag design
  • Photography
  • Created dances and performances
  • Public relations and social media
  • Holiday cards design

For information about student applications and how to hire the services of ArtWorks, contact Education Dept. (718) 589-2230

Mural created by the ArtWorks students to honor the legends of 52 Park. The mural is located at 52 Park on Kelly Street, between Leggett Avenue and Avenue Saint John, Bronx, NY.