2017 Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute (ALLI) application is LIVE!

    The Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute (ALLI) is a one-week intensive summer program where 20 youth are trained in artistry, social justice and organizing. Youth leaders develop as cultural workers in three arts pathways: spoken word poetry, music and mural making. This cohort of youth hones their arts and organizing skills, while deepening […]

 

 

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The Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute (ALLI) is a one-week intensive summer program where 20 youth are trained in artistry, social justice and organizing. Youth leaders develop as cultural workers in three arts pathways: spoken word poetry, music and mural making. This cohort of youth hones their arts and organizing skills, while deepening their understandings of race and social justice issues. They collaborate, build community and create art that challenges oppression and envisions a more just world.

ALLI 2017 will happen from July 3rd to July 7th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Interested in being apart of the magic?

For more information, view & download the 2017 Summer ALLI Application

Or apply online at tinyurl.com/SummerALLI2017.

Due May 29th – apply now!

 

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“Leave your pretensions at home, practice making a fist.”

On March 17th, we had our annual benefit at Arts Corps, La Festa del Arte. It was my first gala as the new Executive Director and I was blown away by the talent of the young people, the devotion of the staff, and the passion of all those that attended. The title of this piece […]

On March 17th, we had our annual benefit at Arts Corps, La Festa del Arte. It was my first gala as the new Executive Director and I was blown away by the talent of the young people, the devotion of the staff, and the passion of all those that attended. The title of this piece is a quote from Azura Tyabji’s poem about living in a world of complacency where solidarity is merely symbolic, but that that is not enough. As I watched Festa, I came to understand the importance of her poem.

Hollis Wong-Wear, an alum of Arts Corps’ Youth Speaks Seattle program, energetically opened the event as our host, captivating an audience of over 400 people. The first group that performed were 6-9 year-old dancers in motley attire. Petra, the teaching artist that led that group, told me that days before the young performers were too scared to get onstage in front of a large audience. Petra asked them what would make them feel comfortable.

“A rainbow tutu.”

“My dad’s baseball cap.”

“A cool shirt!”

Petra spent the next few days collecting, creating, and purchasing those items. When we saw those very young students dance in multi-colored outfits, feeling confident and proud, and comfortable in their own skin, I see that power of the arts. 

After watching the teen break dancers, I was told the story of a young man who was suicidal and depressed until he found an outlet in Jerome’s breakdance class. That young man was dancing with a smile on his face, excited to present his hard work to a large audience. An audience that featured his proud mother clapping along to the music.

I see how the arts helped another young man write a song about love and loss and sing, vulnerably, to a crowd of brand new fans.

I see a young woman standing on stage telling an audience of strangers about how the arts saved her life.

I think about how Hollis, the evening’s host, has launched a professional, full-time career in the arts, after working with our Youth Speaks Seattle program.

The same Youth Speaks program I was lucky enough to view this past Friday, at Town Hall. Once again, I was blown away by the lyricism of the young poets and the enthusiasm of the crowd. People from all parts of Seattle filled the seats to celebrate the power of youth voice. We heard poems that touched our hearts and poems that made us jump out of our seats. We heard poems about struggle and poems about victory. We heard poems that told us of a world of inequity and a world where oppression is no more. We heard poems about us, about people, about humanity.

It was beautiful.

At a time when funding for the arts are on track to being obliterated, it is important to see and hear young people expressing themselves through poetry. It is important to sit with other audience members, snapping our fingers, and clapping our hands at a public display of art. It is important for us to come together to show our support for art and artists in our community.

It was important for us to #witnessthelitness2017

While sitting at Grand Slam, another line from Azura’s poem at Festa hits me: “Think of how you pulled the nine-inch knife out six inches, stared at the wound, and called the bleeding progress.”

After she said it, I heard a collective sigh acknowledging how the point hit home. As always, we must look to the youth because they aren’t afraid to stand up for their beliefs. She helped remind me that we need to step forward and dedicate ourselves to equity for ALL.  Yet, the fight has just begun. We need to make a change. We need to keep coming together, not just to resist a dismantling of the arts, but to show policymakers how much we need the arts. To show that the arts change lives. To show that the arts can change the world.

 We need to punch through the barriers of inequity because

 

“We are all the fist.”

 

Practice making a fist

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Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam, hosted by Nikkita Oliver

Arts Corps presents Youth Speaks Seattle 2017 Grand Slam Doors at 6:00pm Show at 7:00pm @ Town Hall Seattle (First Hill) 1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 Hosted by Nikkita “KO” Oliver Featuring Otieno Terry Music by Reverend Dollars 10 finalists grace the Grand Slam stage for 1 transformative night of poetry. Witness stories of […]

Arts Corps presents

Youth Speaks Seattle 2017 Grand Slam

Doors at 6:00pm
Show at 7:00pm
@ Town Hall Seattle (First Hill)
1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Hosted by Nikkita “KO” Oliver
Featuring Otieno Terry
Music by Reverend Dollars

10 finalists grace the Grand Slam stage for 1 transformative night of poetry. Witness stories of love, loss, resistance and survival, told through the raw medium of spoken word. The truth will change you.

The top 5 poets will be named the 2017 Youth Speaks Seattle Slam Team and will rep Seattle at the 2017 International Brave New Voices Festival in San Francisco, this July.

Competing poets: 

Zora Seboulisa
Ana Walker
Ivy Jong
Marcus Lindenburg
Carlynn Newhouse
Deqa Mumin
Mercury Sunderland
Azura Tyabji
Emma Conklin
Devon Summers

TICKETS HERE: tinyurl.com/grandslam2017
$10 youth / $20 adults / $25-40 sponsor ticket
// Homie discount for groups of 5+ youth = $7 per ticket

**No one is turned away for lack of funds. Email slam@artscorps.org for details about free & sliding scale tickets**

The Grand Slam is Youth Speaks Seattle’s biggest annual fundraiser. In order to continue providing incredible youth-led programs such as our writing circles, open mics, poetry slams and paid internships, we need you to support us!

Accessibility:
This event is ADA wheelchair accessible.
To request ASL interpretation, please email us by April 3rd. (We are confirming interps now but want to confirm they will be utilized by folks!)
This is not a scent free event/space but to request a scent free zone, email slam@artscorps.org by March 24th (acknowledging that Town Hall is not a scent free space overall)
Nearby bus routes (many of these stop in downtown, near Town Hall): 2, 3, 4, 12, 64, 7, 120, 125

For more info, please contact slam@artscorps.org

 

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We Gonna Make Art Anyway

“What the arts teach is innovation and the ability to combine things that are otherwise disparate. And that’s the stuff of genius.” John Frohnmayer, Former Chair of the NEA On November 9th, the Wednesday morning after the election, I walked in to observe one of my mentees teach his 6th grade drama class. I went […]

“What the arts teach is innovation and the ability to combine things that are otherwise disparate. And that’s the stuff of genius.” John Frohnmayer, Former Chair of the NEA

On November 9th, the Wednesday morning after the election, I walked in to observe one of my mentees teach his 6th grade drama class. I went to shake his hand but he hugged me and started crying. He was at a loss for what to teach. He asked me to help. So I led a process drama through the lens of patriotism. Students explored concepts, did the mannequin challenge in pairs and then developed scenes. The scenes needed to have one moment of conflict. By going through this process, the students were able to express their emotions about election night and then find a solution as a group to help navigate their frustrations. Students left the room more open and ready to talk. They also left the room with ideas of how they can make a difference in their school, community, and city. They began writing plays, designing posters, and sharing speeches about human rights. 

This happened because the arts awakened a sense of belonging and a sense of power in the minds of young people. We need art now, more than ever. Our young people are directly impacted by the current political climate and many are experiencing fear and frustration. They need avenues for self-exploration and a sense of ownership and power over their own education. As the new Executive Director of Arts Corps, I pledge to continue to work diligently with young people in their schools, school districts, and communities. I pledge to continue to unlock the creative power of youth and embrace arts education as a medium for social change. Our Creative Schools Initiative increases growth mindset and academic performance for students in the Highline School district. Our Hip Hop Artist Residency provides pathways to music production and vocal production for teens throughout Seattle. Our Youth Speaks Seattle program empowers young people to find their voice, take action and stand up for their beliefs.

Arts Corps knows the arts will bring us the next generation of leaders. Leaders that will help shape a future that is more equitable and just for all students. Arts Corps knows the power of the arts. We believe it. We see it. We need it. 

No matter what, we gonna Make Art Anyway. 

 

James Miles is the Executive Director of Arts Corps. A Master Teaching Artist who has worked in arts education for 20 years, he has facilitated workshops and designed curriculum for the New Victory Theater, Roundabout Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, Theatre for a New Audience, Center of Arts Education, Lincoln Center Education, and (Out)Laws & Justice. He is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Teaching Artists and the Teaching Artist Journal. He has worked as an actor, an accountant, comedian, and a model. He can be frequently found on Twitter, as @fresh_professor, writing about arts education, educational policy, and academic inequity.

 

 

 

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We’re seeking a badass leader

Arts Corps is seeking a badass leader with a lived commitment to social justice and creative youth development. Arts Corps’ next Executive Director will bring passion, authenticity and a radical vision to our work of unlocking the creative power of youth through arts education and community collaboration. Since 2000, Arts Corps addresses a critical opportunity […]

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2016 Hip Hop Artist Residency

Arts Corps is seeking a badass leader with a lived commitment to social justice and creative youth development. Arts Corps’ next Executive Director will bring passion, authenticity and a radical vision to our work of unlocking the creative power of youth through arts education and community collaboration.

Since 2000, Arts Corps addresses a critical opportunity gap in a region where race is the greatest determining factor in access to arts education. As we deepen our work, we seek a leader that brings grounded urgency to providing creative space for youth voice while working to transform oppressive systems and shift culture. This is an exciting time for the organization, ripe for a new leader to have a hand in extending our strengths as we aim to grow our sustainable funding base, push ahead with creative strategies, and create new opportunities for young people and people of color to lead within this organization.

Priority Application Deadline: October 15, 2016
Please read the full job description for more information.

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2016 Hip Hop Artist Residency
Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute mural
Arts Liberation and Leadership Institute mural

 

Photos by Amy L. Piñon

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Announcement from our executive director and board president

Dear Arts Corps community,   It is with a full heart and grounded optimism that I announce that I will be passing the baton to a new executive director in early 2017. At Arts Corps, we embrace and value personal and organizational change, just as we seek to inspire transformative change in the lives of […]

Dear Arts Corps community,

 

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It is with a full heart and grounded optimism that I announce that I will be passing the baton to a new executive director in early 2017. At Arts Corps, we embrace and value personal and organizational change, just as we seek to inspire transformative change in the lives of low-income youth of color and in educational and youth-serving systems. After eight years as the director of this organization, and over ten as a member of this beautiful community, I am so excited for what will come next for Arts Corps, as well as for myself as I seek my next opportunity to create change.
While this has been a very hard decision, I know that the timing for this transition is right. Arts Corps is healthy, our strategic direction is clear, and our model proven. I have full confidence in our board of directors to hold our values and guide the organization through this transition, just as I trust our incredible youth, teaching artists, staff and community of supporters to carry forward the tremendous breakthroughs we have achieved while embracing new possibilities ahead.
Serving as a leader and member of the Arts Corps community has been the greatest professional experience of my life. I believe passionately in the mission and intention of this organization. In fact, I am not actually going far, just switching roles to that of devout donor and champion of this great work.

This of course means that we are hiring! Check out the job posting here.

 

With deep gratitude,

 

Elizabeth

 

 

A message from Board President, Sara Lawson:

 

Dear everybody:

 

This is an exciting time for Arts Corps.Sara3

We are so grateful to Elizabeth for her leadership, insight, and unwavering commitment. She is a thoughtful strategist, an effective bridge builder, and a courageous advocate for the creative power of young people. She and an amazing team of staff, teaching artists, and collaborators have guided Arts Corps through a decade of innovation, expansion, and growing national recognition. Their efforts are firmly rooted in a deep commitment to equity and social justice, and they have fostered a strong culture of learning across the organization.
Elizabeth’s considered approach to this transition has given us the gift of a generous timeline. We have prepared behind the scenes, interviewing dozens of staff, teaching artists, board members, and passionate stakeholders from across our community. We’ve had the opportunity for deep thinking and expansive conversations about where Arts Corps has come from, where we are, and where we’re going. We’ve convened a Search Committee of staff, board, youth leaders, and teaching artists to guide us.
Over the coming months, we look forward to more thought-provoking conversations with people who share our passion for this work and have a vision for how they’d contribute to Arts Corps’ next chapter. And we have full confidence that our process involving diverse voices and perspectives will lead us to the next, just right executive director for Arts Corps.

Please take a look at the job posting, and please help us spread the word.

 

Thank you!

 

Warm regards,

 

Sara

Sara Lawson

Board President, Search Committee Chair

 

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