Among the diverse group of artists in our studios, you will find a strong community of women unlike any other: our Bead Project Alumnae. Founded in 1997 to support low-income women of New York City, the Bead Project provides skills and resources that enable self-sufficiency through the creative process. Dedicated members of the UrbanGlass community, each participant of the Bead Project has a unique journey that brought her to flameworking. Together, these Alumnae are women on similar journeys: learning to trust their instincts, develop self-esteem, and take control of their own destiny.
Each year, UrbanGlass serves 18 to 20 women through this unique program, teaching the basics of beadmaking and jewelry design, coupled with entrepreneurial skills to start her own business. This 10-week program is offered free to participants. Your gift today will directly enable future participants, offsetting the costs of materials, tools, studio access and instruction that each student receives in her course of study.
For 20 years, we have seen amazing transformations, as students leave UrbanGlass not only with technical skills, but emboldened to continue their creative and personal growth beyond our studios. In the words of a recent Bead Project alumna: “Art changes everything. I feel like a new person.” Please read below for more from recent graduates about their experience in the Bead Project.
"As a 9/11 survivor, I had been struggling with depression and feeling isolated. I learned through a friend about the Bead Project, where I met wonderful people forging relationships that will last into the future. I enjoyed being in an environment where older women of color felt comfortable calling themselves artists, and in a space where I could feel comfortable calling myself an artist. I have reconnected to the arts community and now once again enjoy visiting museums. I am looking forward to scheduling time in the studio to continue my work."
- Freddi Brown-Carter, 2017 Bead Project Graduate
"The Bead Project has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life. By giving me the opportunity to explore this whole new medium of glass, I have found a completely new language in which to express myself artistically and push my creative boundaries. Exposure to this new art form has helped find within me this whole new skill set that I never knew I possessed. I suddenly see myself in
this whole new light; not just as an artist but as a business owner with entrepreneurial goals and aspirations. My synapses are now exploding with excitement from all the possibilities."
- Lilly Burgos, 2017 Bead Project Graduate
"I unexpectedly found myself unemployed. I was stressed, and turned back to the arts to relieve my stress. Then I found the Bead Project. From the very first class I was hooked. [Flameworking] is both exciting and relaxing. It’s a solo art, but has a vibrant, sharing, inspiring community. The Bead Project found me at a darker time in my life, providing light, inspiration, and the tools to continue my craft. I am a part of a great community of supportive and inspiring women. I am so happy to have been a part of The Bead Project and look forward to many years of involvement in alumni events and growing my craft at UrbanGlass. Thank you for this great opportunity."
- Patricia Chaffee, 2017 Bead Project Graduate
"The Bead Project was a huge boost to my self-esteem and creativity. I couldn’t believe such a generous program existed, and that I was a part of it. I ended up connecting with a medium I knew nothing about and it opened up a whole new world for me. I’ve met many new people during the Bead Project, whom now I call friends. I have gained a whole new community. Each time I go into the studio I know I will see a friend or meet someone new. It’s wonderful how friendly, welcoming, and supportive everyone is. It’s incredible to have access to such an amazing facility and great people."
-Zosia Wierzbicka, 2016 Bead Project Graduate
If you have any questions regarding your gift, please contact Director of Development, Rachel Feinberg at 718.625.6385 x204 or by email at, firstname.lastname@example.org.