Enduring Partner

Newcomer Youth Summer Academy

Each summer, Arts Ignite’s partnership with the Newcomer Youth Summer Academy invites over 100 students—recently resettled in the United States, and speaking more than 20 languages—to explore the arts.

Three students stand on a stage in fun costumes
Close up of a NYSA student leaning to one side and smiling

About the program

Igniting the arts with the International Rescue Committee

Since 2010, a team of 12-16 Arts Ignite Teaching Artists have led the creative arts classes at the International Rescue Committee’s Newcomer Youth Summer Academy. The Academy supports the personal growth, cultural adjustment, and education of 100-120 young people, ages 4-22, who have recently resettled in New York City.

Supporting students with a wide range of immigration experiences

Our classes combine an arts-integrated curriculum with English language learning and key school readiness assets. This helps the Academy’s students, who are affected in various ways by their immigration status, successfully transition into the U.S. school system. Over the course of six weeks, students are introduced to visual arts, music, storytelling, filmmaking, and dance. 

In how many languages can you say “fun”?!

Arts Ignite Teaching Artists lead the creative classes at NYSA, but we don’t stop there! We also host annual special events, talent show, concert, graduation performances, and field trip collaborations. We’re committed to creating joy-filled community experiences for youth as they adjust to the new chapter of their lives.

Student sits in front of yellow lockers

Arts Ignite at Newcomer Youth Summer Academy (formerly RYSA)

Partner Stories

Connecting classrooms and communities

“I loved watching students make connections between the summer’s theme, their work in class, their field trips, and their dance explorations. That was the most rewarding aspect of the summer.” – Arts Ignite Dance Teaching Artist

“I am a H.E.R.O!”

NYSA’s 2021 theme was “H.E.R.O.,” represented by four values: Health, Empathy, Respect, and Originality. The theme was integrated in all levels of the program: students and staff welcomed one another in a morning H.E.R.O. Huddle; sang the summer H.E.R.O. theme song created by the Arts Ignite team; and celebrated each other at weekly community events. 

Bringing it all together

At the end of the summer, students and staff gathered for a final graduation celebration in Central Park. They played games, had their faces painted by their favorite Teaching Artists, and sang and danced to their song of the summer:

I am a hero!

And everybody knows.

I let my powers show everyday.

I am a hero!

And everybody knows.

I let my powers show in every way.


I am a hero!

And everybody knows.

I let my powers show in every way.

Protect my HEALTH and love myself.

Show EMPATHY with care and love.

RESPECT myself and all my friends.

ORIGINALITY that never ends!

young people being interviewed in costume
Three students dance in a hallway

Newcomer Youth Summer Academy Students dance at Graduation


This program is supported, in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Partial funding is also provided by the New York State Council on the Arts.

NYC Cultural Affairs & New York State of Opportunity, Council on the Arts Logo

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Two young people leap across the room with their arms up

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