RPGA Studio is a Social Practice non-profit, founded by Yvonne Shortt, that uses art + design + technology + education + activism to address community issues. Communities we focus on include Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jamaica, and Ozone Park. The methodology is question-based, and the approach is personal—much of the work starts in a little house in the community where Ms. Shortt raised her children. Many of the projects happen because of someone in the community bringing a problem to the studio and asking for help. Diversity in nationality, income, race, sex, and ability are vital to the success of the organization. 

Do you have a story about a FLOWER?

Watch the video and email it to us: GO29dist@gmail.com!

The screening event of Lend A Hand To Bust Stereotypes took place on March 31st. This was the culminating event of our inter-generational public art project in which we worked with seniors and students at the Forest Hills Jewish Center.


KICK-OFF ON April 1ST 2021

Uplifter campaign encourages community spirits and actions to make positive changes. Spot Uplifters to win a gift card and support local restaurants!

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for updates and posts featuring volunteers, local businesses, restaurants, organizations that uplift others in our community, and behind-the-scenes of our team's art making.



RPGA Studio has been working with public schools, afterschool programs and community members on public art initiatives. We created this instruction video for them to learn the tips to take good photos of their artwork. We have posted it online for anyone to watch and learn. Feel free to share with others who might be interested!

Empowering Ourselves While Building Our Community & Networks

Creating a framework where 250 women learn and share

Building skills while advocating for changes in how women are portrayed in the construction industry

Building a design studio to practice what we learn

Age of the participants who learn new skills with us ranges from 17 to 65+

Teaching women all over NYC and then having them teach more women

Creating opportunities, access, and equity in our communities through activism

Using Art To Beautify and Activism to increase Quality of Life, Safety, & Health 

Public Performances for reimagined possibilities for local public community spaces

Teaching skills to empower local community members and revitalize public spaces

Learn installation techniques to keep public art costs down

Teaching youth how to take charge and empower others.

Using crocheting to address homelessness in our comunity

Working in the community is contagious and often brings in more people- U.S. Army 

Bringing Youth and Seniors Together for Action and Dialogue

Senior learning to use a miter saw

Senior learning to crochet from high school student

student learning to paint from an elder

Beautifying school fences to connect seniors and elementary school kids

Adults land children working together to revitalize spaces

Bringing members of the community together of all ages for transportation safety

Creating with Community & Getting People To Take Action using Public Art as a Tool

Revitalized space used by thousands daily and taught design and painting skills to 30 youth

Collaboration with DIVAS to teach and have others take action

Collaboration with the DOE to advocate to reopen a park. Raised $100,000 and reopened a park.

Collaboration with houses of worship, 

businesses &

NYC agencies to revitalize a downtown hub.  Raised $160,000 over 11 years

Mural that raised over 130,000 for increased services 

The mural collaboration helped bring in a CASA grant for the following year for the partner organization for continued revitalization.

Boots on the ground to address safety, homelessness, and empowerment

Collaborative build of a kiosk

Kiosk on the street  for transportation safety advocacy

Signing transportation safety petition

Creating salads so good the kids thought it was candy

Community conversations

Popup reading library kiosk

Rethinking How Art Can Be Used to Get People Outside and Healthier 

Co Creating Sculptures increases knowledge and fitness

Running 5K's helps others grow their body and learn to make healthy choices

Giving out canvas bags designed by community artists in parks

Creating salads so good the kids thought it was candy

VR designed artwork to promote less litter in our community

Our Popup Library in park brought people out for reading, walking in the fresh air, enjoying healthy snack

Empowering Youth, Schools, and After School providers through  art, design, and technology

Through in-school and after-school programming, students learn tools across disciplines, practice what they learn, teach what they learned, and use it to improve their community. See 3 examples of our impact on students and communities below.


1.Innovative design & Implementation: students designed and tested Hanky Family Kit plus advocated for structural fixes in their bathrooms.  Awareness helped Raised $230,000 by activating parents for participatory voting.  The kit for students promoted hand sanitization, personal responsibility, and innovative bathroom practices for 800 kids


2. Innovative Problem solving: To decrease bullying and religious tension in one school, students designed, funded, and are currently implementing the Acts of Kindness Video Game Club. They created a framework whereby each week students who are kind are nominated for the video game club.  Students can be nominated by other students, lunchroom monitors, and administration.  The nicer you are the higher the chance you have of being selected for the club for 1 week.  Students designed and held a video game fundraise,r raised 1000 for the hardware and got administration by in. This year the club will be run by the principal/


3. Teaching what we learn: Created a curriculum in 3d design and fabrication and trained over 30 after school providers including Woodside on the Move and Divas For Social Justice.  RPGA also created a design tournament that impacted over 10,000 families throughout Queens over 7 years



Women Who Build -
Artists Who Own

Tool Lending Library

 Thank you Eileen Fisher, Inc, small businesses, and over 400 people for helping funding this project.

Selected Partners: NYC Department of Education, Woodside on the Move. Manhattan Lab School, Queens Library, International Arts and Ideas Festival, National Trust for Historic Preservation, People for the Pavilion, DIVAS for Social Justice, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
Thank You To Our Funders: DYCD, Council Member Koslowitz, ConEd, , Citizens Committee for NYC, Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Small Business Services, Eileen Fisher, Burning Man Grant, Queens Council on the Arts
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