NURTUREart, our name is our mission.
NURTUREart works to ensure equitable access to professional and learning opportunities in contemporary art by building a vibrant, engaged, and inclusive community of artists, curators, and youth.
We create spaces for artistic and local communities to invest in social sustainability through reciprocity, civic engagement, and other forms of giving back at the intersection of art, curatorial practice, and arts education. The unique synergy among our programs generates a collaborative environment for artistic experimentation, cultivates a supportive artistic network, and enriches the local and larger cultural communities.
Our programs yield:
• New opportunities for artists and curators to develop, exhibit, and present work.
• Equitable access to robust arts education for youth in the greater community.
• Intimate and welcoming settings that facilitate social and professional connections.
• Ensuring equitable access to opportunities and participation in the artistic community.
• Building support for artists, curators, and youth.
• Creating social frameworks that are inclusive and welcoming.
In 1997, George J. Robinson founded NURTUREart to realize his vision of an organization dedicated to supporting emerging artists.
George began with a slide registry in a filing cabinet in his Washington Heights apartment and by mounting guerilla exhibitions in donated spaces throughout New York City. As the registry grew, so did our footprint with exhibitions mounted in spaces including the United Nations, vacant Lower Eastside Storefronts, Columbia University, and commercial building lobbies. In 2002, we launched our Emerging Curators Program and, the following year, opened our first gallery space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. NURTUREart began its exhibition series by connecting emerging curators and emerging artists through our slide registry. Simultaneously, we launched our education program, initiated by board member Eliot Lable, which provided teaching and learning opportunities among artists and neighborhood school students.
After George’s retirement in 2006, long-standing board member Karen Marston took the helm as NURTUREart’s President of the Board. Our capacity increased as we moved successively to larger and more suitable homes—first to Grand Street in East Williamsburg from 2006–2011 and then to 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick, where we are located today.
Benjamin Evans—who joined the staff as Gallery Director in 2007—ushered in exciting and continuous growth. After his move to Paris in 2011, the staff grew in capacity to four people to provide support for our growth. Marco Antonini, the Executive Director & Curator from 2011–2016, elevated NURTUREart’s profile and deepened the quality of our programs, including the expansion of our programs to include live performances, publications, and video art festivals. Will Penrose, the Executive Director and Chief Curator from 2016–2019 continued deepening the quality of our programs, expanded our program partnerships and institutional funders, and launched our artist residency program for new collaborations.
With an energetic staff, board, and many dedicated volunteers, NURTUREart’s programs have flourished throughout our history. We continue to transform the lives of emerging artists, emerging curators, and local public school students. We nourish creativity and strengthen dynamic communities by offering resources, support, and platforms through our programs to participants and audiences. As we go forward, we are committed to continuing to make strides to sustain and integrate our programs, deepen our work, and expand our impact.