Arts Ed Newark has brought Trauma-Informed Care and Healing-Centered Practices to the City’s Arts Educators and Community Leaders since January 2020. While ensuring delivery of high-quality rigorous arts learning in safe student centered spaces, our professional development with youth practitioners focuses on important elements of trauma-informed learning environments such as: creating spaces where students feel culturally, emotionally, and physically safe; building trust; giving students choice and control over participation; creating shared power and relationships through collaboration; empowering youth by building on their strengths; and building cultural humility and responsiveness. Our Professional Development models quality training, positive and effective learning communities, and systemic and organizational collaboration to better serve our students and the broader Newark community. 


This work is the culmination of four+ years of partnering, learning, and planning with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), NJ Office of Resilience, Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and Foundation for Educational Administration (NJPSA/FEA), Save the Music Foundation, and the Newark Board of Education -- This is one of the only models for this type of work that is federally supported (via the NEA). 


Through our 3-part series, participants gain insight into: What is the impact of the arts on this work for various audiences and constituents? Are high-quality arts experiences a powerful tool for trauma-impacted youth? Does the learning team model support the development of trauma informed arts spaces? Through training, have Educators/Teaching Artists developed an understanding of what trauma is and how it impacts a young person? How have they implemented trauma informed practices? How can they build resilience and prevent retraumatization?


Additionally, we further collaborate to build a cohort of participants who have already gone through our initial training to develop a Professional Learning Community and engage in 5 sessions to allow deepening of their practice, provide space for reflection, deeper and expanded trauma understanding, further interaction with facilitators and their expertise, and guided implementation support. This school year, we will endeavor upon a site-based pilot project to build out a trauma-informed healing-centered school model. Arts Ed Newark presents a special opportunity to introduce collaborative, healing-centered/trauma-informed arts education work to the school, strengthen the arts programming, and develop partnerships among students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.



The burden of trauma in Newark youth is very high, largely unaddressed, and bears deep consequences. We seek to provide adults working in youth-led spaces the proven and adaptable tools of arts education to create more trauma-informed and healing centered spaces.


Attention for this work grows and we have expanded the network to: APLI, NJPAC, Miami Garden, Passaic and Paterson school districts, revealing the critical need for programs like ours. 


At the end of SY21, we have trained 300+ educators and community members. Feedback is strong:


  • “I've learned the importance of the healing process as a community. I will definitely use my music classes as a place where students can start the process.” - Miyuki Takahashi-Rivera, Music Teacher, JFK School 


  • “This training helped me have a better understanding about how trauma affects us all, and it gave me some tools to start addressing trauma in my arts classroom. I started applying the idea of a "safety plan" with my students. We are living in difficult times, and having them/us come up with a safety plan has been very helpful to me and my students.” -  Claudia Escalante, Music Teacher, Ann Street School


  • 100% of survey respondents felt that as a result of the workshop series they gained more tools and/or strategies to work with trauma impacted youth.


  • 93% of survey respondents felt that they have a better understanding of how trauma impacts: 

    • the brain.

    • the body.

    • the community.



Through programs, advocacy, promotion, education, and coordination, Newark Arts powers the arts to transform the lives of those who live in, work in, and visit Newark. Arts Ed Newark (AEN), which operates under the fiscal umbrella of Newark Arts,  is a strategic alliance of over 100 arts education stakeholders who collaborate to ensure all children in grades PreK-12 in the city of Newark have equitable access to high quality, sequential arts education opportunities, both in and out of school. 


As educators, we want our students to be happy, healthy, and prepared to reach their highest potential. These aspirations are most often possible when children are in safe environments (physical, social, and psychological), especially given the added impact of COVID-19. For two years, AEN has developed creative approaches to respond to our youth’s ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and understands that arts education can offer both safe spaces/outlets and unique teaching methods.


The Newark Trust for Education Safe and Supporting Learning Environment Summit 2021 (SSLE) was focused on healing centered practices in schools to help students and families build resilience. This video was a part of a session on the Arts Ed Newark Trauma Informed Care initiative, promoting arts education and healing centered practices and can be seen below.

Arts Ed Newark presents a special opportunity to introduce collaborative, healing-centered/trauma-informed arts education work to your school, strengthen your arts programming, and develop partnerships among students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.  Please note: Recipient schools will receive various levels of support over a period of two - three years pending grant funding. For more information, and to submit an RFP, see the link below.

Capacity Building Committee Meeting

December 2, 2022 | 9:30-11am

via Zoom

Partner Meeting

December 6, 2022 | 4-6pm

register here!

Trauma-Informed Care

Committee Meeting

December 8, 2022 | 10-11:30am

via Zoom

Engagement Committee Meeting

December 15, 2022 | 12-1:30pm

via Zoom