#TogsGiveBack: Why We’re Coming Together For Urban Arts Partnership

#TogsGiveBack: Why We’re Coming Together For Urban Arts Partnership

We thought it was high time we came together as a community to give back to the community. And so #TogsGiveBack was born. The concept: We give you some awesome discounts, and your donation goes to arts education. It’s a win-win all around.

All proceeds from #TogsGiveBack will go directly to Urban Arts Partnership, an amazing non-profit based in New York City, working hard to advance arts education in inner city schools.

Here, Kaya Chwals, Urban Arts Partnership’s Corporate Engagement Manager, tell us a little bit more about the organization, its dedication to photography, and how #TogsGiveBack will greatly support the cause. Take a look: 

Urban Arts Partnership (UAP) uses the arts to address educational inequity and provide the opportunity for young people to gain the skills and understanding they need to move on to college and career. Our programs ignite curiosity, develop character, and create pathways to success and excellence for students in Kindergarten to 12th Grade.

Among our programs is an arts integration at the High School for Legal Studies in Brooklyn, where teaching artists like Kamau Ware are integrating photography with English Language Arts. Kamau has been tasked with using photography to deepen students’ understanding and relationship with creative writing. Students have been learning photography elements like composition, framing, perspective and tone and using those same principles to develop their skills as writers.


Photo by UAP Photography Student: Yulissa

By using photography to change the way students look at academics, Kamau is widening students’ perspectives and challenging them to engage creatively in their academic career. The class is able to make connections between art, academics, social skills, and career options.

Through his work at Legal Studies, Kamau is able to change the dynamic in which students learn. He is able to work with a classroom teacher who can use the skills shared in the classroom after Kamau’s residency, bringing a fresh teaching tool to hundreds more students. And for students who have not been engaged in learning through traditional means, this integration offers a new access point to learning.

Mauricio-self double

Photo by UAP Photography Student: Mauricio

The life-changing moments that Urban Arts Partnership makes possible are born from our belief that creativity is the key to engaging and inspiring our young people.

On a national level, UAP has received numerous grants that signal investment in the organization as a creative solution to pressing educational issues. Most recently UAP was an awarded an Invest in Innovation (i3) federal grant, one of 21 grantees nationally and the only arts organization awarded.

UAP’s i3 award will fund Story Studio, promoting literacy through the power of storytelling for English Language Learners. Through standards based, arts embedded curricula, Story Studio uses visual art and storytelling to increase student achievement in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Our digital media platform allows Story Studio to be shared as a professional development tool on a national scale.


Photo by UAP Photography Student: Yulissa

As a highly competitive grant, the i3 requires a 15% match by the organizations awarded in order to be funded. UAP has taken on the Invest in Innovation goals and created the Invest in Innovation Campaign with a goal to raise $500,000 by the end of June. Our partnership with PhotoShelter will go towards these funds, bringing our programs to a national dissemination model.

Want to get involved with #TogsGiveBack and support Urban Arts Partnership? Donate and get great bundles packed with perks and freebies from photo companies you love.


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