Youth Arts Lab

NHIA Youth Arts LabROOTS

The New Hampshire Institute of Art’s Youth Arts Lab is an evolution of the Student Enrichment Program in the Arts (SEPIA), a partnership of the New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA), the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester, and Bring IT! with funding from Granite United Way and Lincoln Financial Foundation. SEPIA’s goal was to expand access to after-school arts programming for under-served populations (specifically immigrant, refugee, and low-income families) by placing NHIA’s undergraduate and graduate art education students into Manchester School District classrooms.


At NHIA we believe that today’s schools require a shift to project-based, collaborative, student-centered models. Moreover, we know that sparking young people’s creativity and facilitating experiential learning in the arts has a positive impact in other subject areas, helping teens become better learners and providing them with a broad range of skills. Past studies bear this out, demonstrating that high arts involvement among students from disadvantaged neighborhoods can lead to as much as a 20% increase in college matriculation rates and corresponding increases in employment.
NHIA’s Youth Arts Lab will provide New Hampshire teens with new creative opportunities in three ways:
• NHIA will offer a diverse array of affordable one- and two-week-long Youth Arts summer day camps for New Hampshire teens, with generous scholarship support for those students whose families are unable to pay;
• NHIA will also offer robust Youth Arts after-school programs designed for teens and their families in the communities we serve, regardless of ability to pay;
• Finally, NHIA will place undergraduate and graduate art education students as Youth Arts teaching assistants in local elementary, junior high, and senior high schools, at no cost to the school district.


NHIA’s Youth Arts summer program will consist of one- and two-week all-day camps offering discipline-specific (for example: painting, photography, animation, ceramics, printmaking, etc.), project-based (community murals, culinary arts, etc.), and exploratory (3D printing, robotics, game development, etc.) learning. Tuition will be affordably priced, with generous scholarships available to ensure that the camps remain accessible to all students regardless of ability to pay. Camps will emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration, experimentation, and pushing the boundaries of creative exploration.


NHIA’s Youth Arts after-school program will launch at our new Youth Arts Lab as a two-day per week program in 2017 with plans to expand to five-days per week by the following year. In a unique collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester and Granite YMCA, teens who participate in programs at either organization will also have the option of exploring the Youth Arts Lab one or two days per week. The Lab’s four fully-equipped teaching studios will allow us to run multiple, concurrent workshops that explore 2D, 3D, and 4D art-making in traditional and digital media.


NHIA’s Youth Arts Lab takes advantage of the increased number of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in our new dual-degree Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)/Master of Arts in Teaching Visual Arts (MAT) program to expand our in-school teaching assistant placement throughout the Manchester School District. NHIA will place art education students with mentors in schools of all types and at all grade levels, so lessons learned in our summer and after-school programs can also be applied in a traditional public school setting.


Everyone needs a home, and NHIA’s Youth Arts Lab is no different. In 2012, the New Hampshire Institute of Art acquired the former St. Anne’s Church at the corner of Union and Merrimack streets in Manchester to serve as the home of our new Youth Arts Lab. In 2015 NHIA secured $376,000 from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) that along with additional donations ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 yielded from appeals to the local corporate and philanthropic community have allowed us to proceed with renovating the 16,500 square-foot facility into our new Youth Arts Lab. We have already upgraded the plumbing, electrical, fire-safety, and heating and

If you have any questions contact our Youth Arts Team at, 603-836-2561.

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