Refuge Lowell provides a safe, equitable space for local students to explore their talents and develop as artists through nurturing, mentorship, and rigorous arts instruction.
Refuge Lowell is an art school that provides a safe, equitable space for local students to explore their talents and develop as artists through nurturing, mentorship, and rigorous arts instruction regardless of background. Refuge began in 2014 as a literal “refuge” for youth artists seeking a safe space, guidance, and direction and continues to this day promoting art education within a community as a civil right. The heart of our mission is to bridge the inequity gaps in the public school system by identifying talented students who may not have access to enrichment in the arts. We do this by providing scholarships so that all of our students have the opportunity to develop as professional artists, creative problem-solvers, and compassionate critical thinkers within their community.
Through small class sizes, constructive feedback, individualized instruction, paid teaching and internship opportunities, community public art collaborations, and intensive mentorship from practicing and teaching artists, we believe what we are doing at Refuge sets us apart from other art education settings in our region. We run 15 classes per year, we guide high school students through the college portfolio development process, four of every five students who attends Refuge are need-based artists, and in 2022 alone we have provided over 120 scholarships for young artists from within our community, bringing our scholarship total to over 750 since 2014. Lowell is a gateway city and our students represent a vast array of backgrounds and identities, 65% coming from BIPOC, Latinx, and Asian communities. Equity is at the core of what we do and it is through this lens that we challenge our students to create the future of their own communities.