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History and Mission

The Jamaica Plain Multicultural Afterschool Arts Program (KidsArts) began in 1986 as a program at the Jamaica Plain Firehouse Arts Center. In 1994, as a result of a severe financial crisis, the Firehouse Arts Center decided to close the program. Within three weeks a group of 30 parents mobilized to keep the after school program open as a parent-managed cooperative. The program moved into the Unitarian Universalist Church where it currently operates. Kids Arts was incorporated in 1995 as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization to continue a community based after school arts program.

 The old fire house at 659 Center Street when it housed Brueggers Bagels and the Arts Center. Now home of JP Licks.

Many generations of children, staff and directors have helped build a long-standing KidsArts community.  Scores of children have made monster masks, danced Capoeira, created music videos, crafted shadow puppets, discussed social justice, cooked empanadas and more – delving deeply into creative thinking that is increasingly marginalized in school.  Staff and children have developed countless personal relationships that recognize the unique creative powers of each child.  Over the years, hundreds of families have enjoyed the riches of a program that was ignited by the artists and activists of the old firehouse.


The Jamaica Plain Multicultural Afterschool Arts Program (KidsArts) is a non-profit afterschool program committed to offering school age children a supportive and cooperative environment that celebrates cultural diversity through the arts. KidsArts advocates mutual respect, team work, and sensitivity to each child's needs and development.