Young New Yorkers provides arts diversion programs to young people. Since 2012, over 700 young people have been sentenced to make art with us instead of jail or other adult sanctions.

100% of the funds generated by the Art Not Jail Silent Art Auction go to our Arts Diversion Programs that allow young people to avoid jail, swiftly exit the adult criminal legal system without a record, and advocate for criminal legal reform. 

Tickets are only $50 online or $60 at the door.

For Immediate Release
April 25, Lower East Side –Hosted by the arts alternative-to-incarceration program’s own graduates, Young New Yorkers’ annual Silent Art Auction -ART NOT JAIL - will honor three committed advocates of criminal justice reform: actor and singer Brandon Victor Dixon of the Broadway hits Hamilton and Jesus Christ Superstar; former prosecutor and TED talk luminary Adam John Foss; Actor Susan Kelechi Watson of NBC’s This Is Us. 

Susan Kelechi Watson: 
“I am a fierce advocate for the transformative power of art on young people's lives. The Young New Yorkers are incredible - these court-involved teens are using art not only to learn and grow, but also to advocate for better case outcomes for themselves and their peers. They are transforming their own lives and the criminal justice system.”

Brandon Victor Dixon: 
“Young New Yorkers empowers young people to recognize their potential as leaders and advocates for criminal justice reform. In having their voices heard participants learn that they are more than their infractions and can be agents of change in their community. And that is an invaluable transformation that benefits the foundations of our community at large.”

Adam John Foss:
“Young New Yorkers is the power and brilliance of collaborative justice. As a former prosecutor, I learned the power of this position to change lives instead of ruin them. YNY is building a crucial bridge between the courts and the communities that they serve. As a result, the streets of New York are safer.”  

Rachel G. Barnard, YNY Founder and Executive Director and 2018 NYC PAIR recipient:
“Transformative justice is created when we put the creative voices of our young New Yorkers at the center. This year we are thrilled to be partnering with fierce advocates Susan Kelechi Watson, Brandon Victor Dixon, and Adam John Foss in order to do this.” 

Ed Ruscha, Pedro Reyes, Aliza Nisenbaum, Shepard Fairey, Faust, Nari Ward, Ann Lewis, Layqa Nuna Yawar  are among over 50 artists donating artwork this year. Past honorees include Shepard Fairey and actor Michael K. Williams who said “Young New Yorkers uses art to create empowered spaces of justice.” 

Each year hundreds of guests active in the arts and criminal justice convene to celebrate and support Young New Yorkers, the first arts alternative-to-incarceration program for youth in New York City.  Support of the evening ensures that Young New Yorkers will continue to facilitate change-making arts diversion programs for participants as young as 16 years old. 

Young New Yorkers: Since 2012, over 700 youth have been sentenced to YNY’s Restorative Arts Diversion Programs, instead of jail or other adult sanctions. Young people’s adult criminal cases are subsequently dismissed and sealed. Programs conclude in a youth-led interactive art exhibition —a platform for young people to advocate for themselves and for criminal legal reform. YNY’s exhibitions bring young people together with the court actors who sentenced them in a context that humanizes the culture of the courtrooms. This leads to better discretionary sentencing practices and case outcomes for teenagers in the adult courts. In 2018, Young New Yorkers will expand from Brooklyn to Manhattan to double their impact.