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Nikki Giraffo


Nikki Giraffo is the co-founder and Director of Refuge and has been a part of the Lowell community for the past 10 years. As a full-time art educator in the Lowell school district, Nikki has taught art in six different schools throughout the city.  In addition to this, her career as an art educator has afforded her the opportunity to teach art in a variety of academic settings, ranging from residential programs to Advanced Placement Art in a private school setting.


Through this blending of real-life experience and diverse perspectives, Refuge was created.


Within the Lowell ecosystem of art education, Nikki has identified an abundance of talented art students and created an effective program that addresses the need for equitable access to rigorous art instruction in the community. Refuge Art School is the culmination of Nikki’s unique experiences within the education system and her dedication to her students, to her team, and her community. 


Originally from New Jersey, Nikki received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from Alfred University and her Masters in the Arts of Teaching through Tufts University. As an artist, Nikki finds the most joy through exploring familial narratives and experimental approaches to creating. An offbeat and passionate individual, Nikki is committed to uplifting young artists and fostering social change through the arts. Her teaching style is tailored to the individual through differentiated instruction, which encourages young artists to find confidence in their own artistic voice and a path that's right for them.

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