Meet Arts Corps’ Newest Staff Members!

Arts Corps just got bigger! We recently hired two amazing and talented people to join our team. We’re excited to introduce:

Angela_TulipsAngela Brown, Creative Schools Evaluation & Documentation Coordinator

Angela Brown has been working in development, multimedia and data management systems for 15 years. She has facilitated communications on behalf of federal agencies and served as essential personnel during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. She is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum and has worked with nonprofits and small businesses in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. She earned her graduate degree in Media and Cinema Studies from DePaul University and, after a brief time in television research, was inspired to join Arts Corps to support youth in cultivating their voices through the creative arts. She is passionate about media literacy, photography, and filmmaking and is the caretaker of an adorable cocker spaniel.


“I’m so excited to join the Arts Corps team and work on the Creative Schools Initiative. As a youth I found it challenging to develop the discipline to focus my creative efforts. I dreamed of becoming an artist but could never quite find the agency, medium or voice to express my feelings, thoughts and imagination. I appreciate that having teaching artists in the classroom supports youth in developing creative habits of mind. I am enthusiastic about joining an organization that works hard to showcase just how integrated art is and can be in your life. I look forward to documenting and evaluating this important work and hopeful that the role revitalizes my own creative habits.”



ChristaChrista Mazzone Palmberg, Grant Writer


Growing up, Christa studied voice and theatre with hopes of someday becoming a professional performer.  Volunteer experiences during her college years in Chicago, however, led her away from music and toward a career in community organizing. Christa worked for several years as the National Field Organizer for Sojourners, a progressive Christian social justice organization. Following her time in DC, Christa completed a Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC. After moving to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Christa worked as an organizer with Sound Alliance, a coalition of religious, labor and community organizations working for the common good. Christa is delighted to come full circle at Arts Corps, a place that integrates art and social justice with impressive amounts of creativity and joy.


Join us in welcoming Angela and Christa to the Arts Corps family!

City building at Mount View Elementary

I moved to Seattle eight years ago intending to dive fully into the city’s culture. I’ve wandered the halls of 619 Western Ave during art walks and cheered on slam poets late into the night. I’ve learned to effortlessly distribute waste/recycles/compost into each appropriate bin. I make my own kombucha and am pretentious about coffee with the best of them. Weather does not deter my outdoor activities and of course I don’t use an umbrella.

I came to Seattle for much more than sipping lattes though.

I came to contribute to and see this city reach its full potential for greatness. At some point along the way, I decided that I wanted to do more than be an artist in my own right; I felt compelled to seek out opportunities for all youth in the city to engage in the arts. Arts had shaped my youth and my life in Seattle, and I wanted to see these opportunities made available to the generations behind me. Thus working with Arts Corps to teach ceramics at Mount View Elementary (within the greater Seattle area) has been such an honor and so fulfilling.

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Today our class wrapped up the City Building project that we spent much of Winter quarter working on. Students had collaborated and used various ceramic techniques to construct businesses, a zoo, a hospital, homes, parks, a soccer field, a transportation systems (and yes, our city had two coffeeshops). They saw the culmination of their hard work as they combined individual pieces into one collective city, choosing where to place each piece of the city and drawing roads connecting each piece to the others. As they stepped back, they saw how their individual contributions added to something so much larger.


I was really excited about this project because it not only allowed the students to use all the ceramic techniques we had thus far learned, but the project also required the students to dream into and then create a city as they would build it. My hope was that the project would empower the students to think of themselves as significant contributors to their community!… That they are culture shapers!… That anything is possible!


Today was also my last day as a resident of Seattle. Tomorrow I move to San Francisco to join the Exploratorium’s Extended Learning team, where I’ll continue to create opportunities for people of all ages to engage in curiosity, creativity, and possibility. I’ll surely immerse myself into that city just like I’ve done here, but as I leave, I’m hopeful that something lasting has been planted here in Seattle. More than a few skills in ceramics, my hope is that I’m leaving these students with a greater sense of their potential, both as artists and as contributors to their world.


With all that Seattle has to offer (and yes, today was sunny and 70), I cannot think of a better way to have spent my last afternoon in this city than investing into these budding artists, moreover, young culture shapers.

21st Century Arts Learning & Arts Assessment Project

In this project, under the collaborative leadership of Arts Corps staff Elizabeth Whitford and Tina LaPadula, district arts manager Gail Sehlhorst, music coach Pam Ivezic and consultant Dennie Palmer Wolf, arts writing teams that include SPS arts specialists and Arts Corps teaching artists are creating and refining baseline and cornerstone arts assessments for Seattle Public Schools arts instruction. The goal of these new assessments is to inform teaching and students learning and track student growth in arts and 21st Century Skills including creativity,  communication, critical thinking, growth mindset and collaboration.


Seattle Public Schools / Arts Corps – 21st Century Arts Learning & Assessment Project, February 27-28


2015 Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam // ft. Mary Lambert, Hosted by Hollis Wong-Wear


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Arts Corps presents
Youth Speaks Seattle GRAND SLAM 2015

Friday, April 10th
Doors at 6:30pm / Show at 7:00pm
@ Town Hall Seattle (First Hill)
1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Hosted by Hollis Wong-Wear, of the Flavr Blue
Featuring: Mary Lambert

Sacrificial Poet: Hamda Yusuf
Voice of God: Donte Johnson

10$ youth / 20$ adults
// Homie discount for groups of 5+ youth = 7$ per ticket

12 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 2015 Youth Speaks Seattle Slam Team and will rep Seattle at the 2014 International Brave New Voices Festival in Atlanta, this July.

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!

This event is ADA wheelchair accessible.
This is not a scent free event.
To request ASL interpretation, email by March 25th.
Nearby bus routes (many of these stop in downtown, near Town Hall): 2, 3, 4, 12, 64, 7, 120, 125

For more info:
contact shelby handler at

Free Writes and the Work of Magic

If I had to estimate, I’d say that I’ve yelled “Youth Speaks Seattle” in over a hundred middle and high school classrooms all over the greater Seattle area. In my year and a half of YSS outreach, I couldn’t approximate how many lunchroom spiels I’ve attempted or how many times I’ve performed my poems in LA classes or how many posters I’ve stapled to hallway bulletin boards. Throughout my journeys, I’m  honored to get to facilitate workshops with many rooms of brilliant young folks. To open up a creative and supportive writing space, I usually ground the room in a shared definition of a “free write”. I ask the room to shout out their ideas: write what you feel like!, whatever is in your brain!, write freely!

Building off the concepts already in the room, I usually add some key guidelines, like: Don’t judge yourself as you write. Let whatever is in your brain hit the page and don’t worry about it sounding good or poetic or cool or whatever! No pressure. This is just a place to experiment, play, get some ideas out in the air. I always share Youth Speaks Seattle’s only free write “rule” which is: keep your pen/pencil/writing utensil moving for the enPaperstripstire free write time. Even if you’re just writing, “I hate this” over and over, you never know where your pen might take you. I believe that free writes give us the potential to surprise ourselves with ourselves.

With a collective definition of free write to draw from, we then move into constructing some constraints, prompts or guidelines to get a free write sparked. Write whatever you feel like! is exciting but also the scariest freedom possible. A blank page with no starting point is intimidating to even the most prolific poet. While it’s important to push ourselves to write without self-judgment, a container can be helpful for stream of consciousness to take shape in. That in mind, I design curriculum with many variations on constraints. My challenges to students often include starting lines or required images or words.

As I develop curriculum, I always return to the idea that writing is the work of magic. To cultivate that magic, a workshop must serve as a powerful ritual. Ritual involves trusting the unknown and making space for it in our writing practice. In the classroom, this manifests as having each group of students generate unique constraints for our workshop. For example, I’ve asked students to write a specific shade or color in the corner of their paper. Once the room is filled with lime greens, ripe watermelon reds, indigos and eggshells, I ask each student to rip the color out and pass it to their neighbor. I encourage everyone to believe that this is the color that they are meant to write with today. The randomness of receiving a color is a form of magic, all part of our shared ritual. And once students share, it feels that magic led them to create the exact free write they were meant to, bursting with color and inspiration.

Similarly, I’ve asked students to write 5 words on slips of paper that describe their identity, before we throw them all into the center of the room and draw back out 5 words, randomized in a flurry of paper. These identity words go on to spark complex and courageous free writes. In another workshop, I challenge students to write a letter to a person or thing in their life. To determine who or what we need to write to most in this particular moment, we often do a ritual spinning of our notebook and random pointing on a brainstormed list of important items or people.

Through these acts of divination, I’ve witnessed youth read authentic, fiery and heartbreaking poems. I’m continually in awe of how free writes give way to such raw vulnerability. They make a place for all of us to trust the magic inside of us and dive head first into the unknown. Constraints, like ritual, give us a shape to land in. Once we go there, the piece may even seem to write itself. When I witness the power of young poets speaking truth, it’s a collective discovery of what they needed to say all along.


- Shelby

Teen Artist Program Co-Coordinator


Help Fund Massive Break Challenge!

Massive Break Challenge

Invest in Massive Break Challenge, Seattle’s largest regional break dance battle for middle & high school youth!  This dynamic event is a partnership between Arts Corps, Northwest Folklife and Extraordinary Futures, a nonprofit affiliate of the Massive Monkees break dancing crew.

Donor Benefits:

Every dollar donated is matched – doubling your impact!

Gifts of $10 or more: We’ll give you a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter!

Gifts of $25 or more: We’ll give you a shout-out online AND in person—the MBC host will specifically recognize your gift to kick off the event!

Gifts of $50 or more: All of the above PLUS you’ll receive a signed photo/postcard with a note from Jeromeskee, of Massive Monkees!

Gifts of $100 or more: All of the above PLUS we’ll invite you back-stage during the MBC event, where you’ll meet the youth performers and professional break dancers. (Limit 30–first come, first served)

Gifts of $150 or more: All of the above PLUS you’ll be invited to watch the event from the stage! (Limit 10–first come, first served)

Gifts of $250 or more: All of the above PLUS you’re invited to hang with the DJ during the event! [Limit 4--first come, first served]

Donate Here!

Massive Break Challenge supports over 70 youth from nearly 20 schools around Washington state to compete in mini-battles, leading up to the ultimate championship at the Bagley Wright Theater during the Folklife Festival on Saturday, May 23rd, from 3-5pm.  Hundreds of people show up every year to witness the B-Boy and B-Girl break dancing students participate in this high-energy competition as they build community and challenge each other’s skills in front of a live audience. Both the mini-battles and the main event are free of charge for performers and audience members.

Mini battles start in February 2014, and once a month break crews from Seattle Public Schools match skills at The Beacon Studio in Seattle’s International District.

By supporting the Massive Break Challenge you will help us cover the venues cost, feature performances, supplies and transportation for youths from across the city to be able to attend & compete in the event! Special thanks to Northwest Folklife for offering free performance space for Massive Break Challenge during the Folklife Festival!


La Festa del Arte


La Festa del Arte has been called the most inspiring event in the region, and you can be part of it! Join us as we address a critical opportunity gap in a region where race is the greatest determining factor in access to arts education. Help shape a new day for arts learning and be part of our work to develop students’ capacities for imagination, courage and persistence. Festa Parking & Directions.

When: Friday, March 20, 2015
, 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Where: Showbox SoDo
Tickets: $125 (click to purchase tickets) – SOLD OUT
Patron – $1,500
Free parking for you & your guests
VIP table for 8
Recognition in program
Fan – $1,000
Recognition in program
Table for 8


6:00-7:00pm: CULTIVATE

Cocktails and Bakra Bata, featuring Women’s Steel Pan Project

7:00-8:30pm: INNOVATE

Dinner and performances by Arts Corps students and teaching artists

8:30-9:00pm: ACTIVATE

Raise your paddle for youth, justice and creativity

9:00pm-11:00am: CELEBRATE

Dancing with DJ Daps1

*Reserve your tickets here!

*Contact with any questions you may have.


Thanks to our generous event sponsors!

Sponsor Logos

Postcard Art!

If you received our 2014 Annual Report in your mailbox, you know that we included a blank, self-addressed postcard, inviting our donors to take a risk and mail us their own works of art. We’re happy to say that several of you accepted our challenge! Thanks for sharing—and cultivating—your creative spirit! Here’s a sampling of what we received:

If you haven’t sent us your postcard art yet, please do! We’ll post a second round of what we receive.


Hiring for Part-Time Grant Writer!

Arts Corps is now hiring a a part-time Grant Writer! Contribute to Arts Corps’ growth as an organization by cultivating strong relationships with institutional funders.

Grant Writer Position Description

Position is open until filled, but priority will be given to applications received by January 27th, 2015

Please forward all inquiries with a resume and cover letter to or mail a hard copy to Arts Corps, 4408 Delridge Way, SW, Suite 110, Seattle, WA 98106. Please reference the Grant Writer position in the subject line.