Our Programs

Artistic Noise works with youth while they’re incarcerated and when they return home to their community. We provide continuity for these young people and help them build essential leadership skills through our three distinct programs.


Studio Art Workshops on Rikers Island. In these weekly workshops, our Teaching Artists provide incarcerated youth with a safe and structured environment to share their stories. The focus of these workshops rotate seasonally, from issues of social justice to inspirational themes of goals and ambitions. Participants may be first-time art makers or accomplished youth artists and everyone’s enrollment in the workshop is voluntary. The priority of this program is to support incarcerated youth by providing them with the means to document and process their complex feelings, while developing their abilities for creative expression and interpretation.

This program is held with the NYC Department of Correction. We operate in multiple housing facilities on the island and will continue to serve incarcerated youth for as long as the need exists.

Art Therapy. These weekly workshops are offered to groups of young people who are on probation and led by our Teaching Artists and Art Therapy Staff. The objective of this program is for youth to cultivate an authentic and grounded identity while working towards a deeper level of self-awareness. We help them achieve this by setting boundaries and providing emphatic support. Utilizing a clinical rationale, we collaboratively consider goals, strengths and challenges to guide how individual and group sessions are conducted. Through the process of making art, we create opportunities wherein the youth can reflect upon their experiences to develop coping and communication skills to self-regulate one's emotions.

Through the NYC Department of Probation, we operate these workshops at facilities throughout the five boroughs. Once a young person has completed 1 year of Art Therapy workshops, they may be invited into the Art, Entrepreneurship and Curatorial Program.

Art, Entrepreneurship and Curatorial Program (A&E). Taking place in our Harlem Studio, this twice weekly workshop is an intensive program for participants to develop their business skills and creative abilities. Youth are given a stipend and full access to our facilities, including opportunities with our partner institutions; School of Visual Arts, MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Columbia University. Led by our Teaching Artists and Art Therapy Staff, the workshops are geared toward independent growth and maturity within a group environment. Participants learn artistic techniques in different media, study contemporary artists working with issues of social justice, and produce an independent body of work throughout the year. Youth in this program gain access to business training in marketing, branding, and communication, and are given an annual microgrant to develop and implement an idea or product that they can sell.

In addition to their regular programming, A&E youth are responsible for curating Artistic Noise’s annual June art exhibition. They evaluate all of the artwork created in our programs from that year and choose the strongest work to showcase. Our A&E youth collectively decide on a theme for the exhibition and co-write the curatorial statement, which is published in the exhibition catalog. On the opening night, A&E youth are the organization’s representatives; presenting the exhibition to visitors and facilitating with sales of the artwork.

Through the Art, Entrepreneurship and Curatorial Program, we are able to serve our youth for the long term. The average duration a participant is enrolled in the program is 3 years, however we evaluate every young person’s need on an individual basis. Youth are enrolled in the A&E program through a referral process only.