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Stuart Haruyama
Feb 24, 2016

Exploring Community-Building Through Art

Feb 24, 2016 by Stuart Haruyama

Jessica is a member of the Leadership & Community Engagement [LACE] Fellowship, which is a 300 hour leadership program combining community service, critical reflection, and leadership training. The Fellowship is an opportunity for RISD students to learn more about the local Providence area and experience how their art & design training can be utilized for the betterment of their communities. Fellows also receive a $1,200 education stipend at the conclusion of the program.


Hi! My name is Jessica Young and I am a sophomore in Illustration.  I grew up in Freehold, New Jersey and have never left the country, rarely even leaving the East Coast.  Because I have not had this opportunity yet in my life, I wish to travel to new places either during my time at the Rhode Island School of Design or after I graduate or both.  I enjoy meeting new people and learning about different cultures.  So far, I have done this by reading, studying a Concentration in Media and Culture, engaging with my peers, and engaging with the greater Providence community.

Apart from being a LACE Fellow, I also serve as a Community Liaison, bridging the gap between RISD and Providence CityArts for Youth.  Located at 891 Broad Street, Providence CityArts for Youth provides free after school art classes, encourages the diversity among Providence, and believes art can help build a community and lead to social change.

I was first introduced to CityArts as an incoming RISD freshmen through the Pre-Orientation Service Experience [POSE] program.  CityArts, AmeriCorps volunteers, and POSE members worked at one of CityArts’ partner schools to create an inspirational mural in one of their hallways.  I was re-introduced to CityArts this year as a sophomore, again through the POSE program, but this time as a POSE Team Leader.  This year POSE and AmeriCorps members had the opportunity to work at CityArts’ main location.  We painted murals on their windows to further encourage an art-based education, create a colorful atmosphere, and make the CityArts building more visible to the public.

Volunteering at CityArts this past summer as a POSE Team Leader was one of the main events that inspired me to apply to become a Community Liaison for this organization and commit to 300 hours of community service for the LACE Fellowship.  CityArts’ mission and atmosphere truly inspire me to continue to build my community through art.

During my time at RISD, I hope to use RISD’s resources, programs, and events to my advantage: not just in the studios.  Being involved is important to not only better yourself, but to build community and encourage others. My goal is to inspire my peers, family members, and friends just as the people I have met and engaged with through RISD and CityArts have inspired me.


To learn how you can get involved with CityArts, the LACE Fellowship, or other community engagement programs, please contact the Community Service Office.