We’re hiring a Creative Schools Teaching Artist!

Students perform historical fiction stories about migration at Gregory Heights Elementary as part of Highline CSI. Photo by Tove Tupper

In the fall of 2015, the Creative Schools Initiative entered into a three-year project in the Highline School District funded by the U.S. Department of Education.The Creative Schools Teaching Artist will collaborate with 5th and 6th grade teachers in Highline Public Schools to deliver project-based arts integrated units.

Arts Corps is hiring a visual teaching artist (the project has two visual artists and two theater artists) who will teach units that integrate visual art with language arts in order to enhance student learning, classroom engagement and feelings of belonging. Each teaching artist will split their time between two elementary schools, where they will contribute to an arts rich environment by co-teaching in the classroom, supporting students’ online portfolios and guiding exhibits/performances with students. Creative Schools Teaching Artists will also be responsible for the support of professional development for classroom teachers, program evaluation and some administration as it pertains to their school sites.

Creative Schools TA Job Description 2016

Highline Public Schools is one of the highest poverty, most diverse and lowest performing school districts in its region. This district serves nearly 19,000 Washington students Kindergarten through Grade 12 in South King County, an area characterized by the availability of inexpensive housing and the presence of diverse populations of low-income families, including many different immigrant and refugee populations. Because of these factors, Arts Corps is especially seeking applicants who have some connection to the communities of South King County, and who are bilingual in English and Spanish. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.


To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Nate Herth at: csi@artscorps.org

Priority Deadline for applications is 6/8/16


Learn more about the work of Highline Creative Schools Initiative this past school year: Drawing Out the Artist



Arts Corps’ Response to the National Association for Music Education

Many in the arts and arts education have been following this story: Why We Must Have Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in the Arts: A Response to the National Association for Music Education,  and engaging in serious conversations locally and nationally about the critical issues it raises.  In response, a massive letter writing campaign unfolded across the country seeking accountability from NAfME.  Arts Corps shares the letter our white staff affinity group penned to the Board of Directors.  We hope it serves as a challenge to the new leadership, in spite of Mr. Butera’s departure.

Read our letter below:

Dear Board of Directors of NAfME,

We have been closely following the online conversation regarding the comments made by Michael Butera at the April 28th convening around diversity hosted by the National Endowment of the Arts, as shared by Keryl McCord of AlternateRoots, and we wish to add ours to the growing chorus of voices calling for true commitment and action towards racial equity by the National Association for Music Education. We are a group of white staff from Arts Corps, who meet intentionally as part of our organizational practice of racial caucusing.

While we do not know Michael Butera or Keryl McCord personally, Ms. McCord’s account immediately rang true for us. Even if Mr. Butera’s words were heard in a way that did not match his intentions, it is clear that he became deeply defensive, shut down a critical conversation and left the room. This defensiveness feels familiar, and it alone speaks volumes. As white people, we have been socialized to respond in anger and defensiveness when people of color ask us to grapple with our complicity in racist systems. These responses are harmful and keep the status quo in place. To not challenge ourselves to overcome our defensive responses in the work against racism is a disservice to our collective work towards access to arts for all.

Over the past several years, Arts Corps has helped lead conversations around organizational transformations toward racial justice for arts education leaders at the National Guild for Community Education annual conference. We have seen this kind of defensiveness show up in big and little ways. We have heard racist statements, many subtle, some almost as blatant as those attributed to Mr. Butera, from our colleagues across the sector.

Also telling is the response of NAfME and Mr. Butera himself to the incident. A mission statement and written values are meaningless without actions that make them real, and the responses have been absent any such evidence. Mr. Butera is right that systemic inequity does make NAfME’s desire for diversity harder to achieve. But that is exactly why working to do so must take precedence.

The truth is that many in the arts express similar hopes that all people should have access to high quality arts and music education, while still believing in and spreading the dominant racist narrative, which upholds white dominance and blames people of color for their lack of “skill.” If we actually believe that all people should have access our first step must be a self assessment of our personal beliefs and biases, and only then can we begin addressing the deep structural barriers to arts education that exist for youth of color (and educators of color).

Reckoning with structural barriers will not happen easily. It requires the leadership and perspectives of people of color. It requires new ways of operating and organizing our work. It requires reshaping the cultures of our institutions with a critical lens toward dismantling the effects of outdated ideologies that perpetuate white privilege. But if we do not do this, we are in fact perpetuating the systemic oppression that will ultimately prevent us from meeting our missions, missions aimed at ensuring arts education access for all.

This is not easy work. And it poses added challenges for those of us who are white. As leaders and as white people, we have been socialized to believe we should be competent, knowledgeable experts. How can we lead around something that we have been taught not to see, or to change systems that we have benefitted from? Are we willing to transform the ways we operate and the culture of our organizations in order to welcome and actually share power with leaders of color in our work?

This honest work is where the rubber meets the road, where our value, quality and sustainability actually lives or perishes. Fortunately there are many arts education organizations actively seeking answers to these questions. Our own organization, Arts Corps, is still on this journey. As an organization focused on bridging the gap in access to arts education, we had few board members or staff of color for many years. But as we have worked to truly live our mission and values in all aspects of our work, the leadership of youth and people of color has grown in our organization, and people of color now make up the majority of our staff, board and teaching artist faculty.

This was not accomplished through a recruitment effort, nor because there was suddenly an influx of people of color into arts education leadership in our region. This happened through collective education around racism and other oppression, and by a deliberate, and sometimes painful, look at the ways our organizational culture, processes, compensation, fundraising, board and staff recruitment align with our values. This work has involved making space for staff of color to meet, support each other, and give collective feedback to the organization and help drive our racial justice work. It has also involved making space for white staff to meet, support each other in our own growth and commitments to racial justice, and to listen and receive feedback. And this is still an ongoing change process for our organization. This work involves constant discipline as our organization seeks to undo the impacts of systemic racism while continuing to work in deeply inequitable and racist systems.

We realize that Arts Corps is a very different organization, and that NAfME may be less nimble and capable of quick change. But we know that change is possible. We know it is necessary. Deeply unjust inequities persist in the arts and arts education. To rectify this we will need NAfME, and other field leaders to truly live their values of equity and inclusion, and to work with pointed courage.


NAfME Letter 5-12-16



We’re hiring a Development Director!

Join our team!


The development director will work closely with the executive director and board to build on our current base of support and implement a strategic development plan that generates a diverse base of support from individuals, corporations, foundations and public agencies. They will play a key organizational leadership role to mobilize effective development and communications teams that include the executive director, grants manager, communications lead, board members, program staff and volunteers.

For more information, see the Job Description and to apply, send resume and cover letter to dd@artscorps.org and write “Development Director Application” in the subject line.


Arts Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer. This position has a social justice component that will allow for critical thinking around how external systems impact our work through the lens of racism and intersections with other oppressions. As an equal opportunity employer, we highly encourage people of color to apply.

Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam is next Friday!






























Arts Corps presents 

Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam 

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Doors at 6pm / Show at 7pm

Town Hall Seattle (1119 8th Ave)

Featuring Sassy Black Cat (of THEESatisfaction), hosted by Hollis Wong-Wear (of the Flavr Blue)


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 2016 Youth Speaks Seattle Slam Team and will rep Seattle at the 2016 International Brave New Voices Festival in Washington, D.C, this July.

We are excited to invite all of you to one of the most supremely magical nights of the year! Would you help us spread the word by re-posting, forwarding and inviting your community to the event? Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/606224629540295/

If your org is interested in bringing a group of 5+ youth to the event, check out the homie discount on our ticketing page! If cost is still a barrier, email slam@artscorps.org and we will work it out.

Call for Teaching Artists: Hip Hop Artist Residency!

Arts Corps, EMP Museum and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are hosting year 2 of the Hip Hop Artist Residency.  We are seeking Hip Hop Teaching Artists who are exceptional creative role models with strong youth development skills and a commitment to social justice.

Click photo to see more from last year’s showcase

The Hip-Hop Artist Residency aims to bridge the gap in access to arts opportunities for at-risk teens, empowering confidence, professional development in the music industry, and leadership identity by building participants’ skills in artistic expression and collaboration.  From July 25- August 12, 2016, this intensive residency will serve up to 40 emerging artists through two tracks: the Vocal Track, which will  foster self-expression through lyricism, rhyme structure, and delivery and the Production Track, which will emphasize media literacy, beat-making, and song construction. Participants will feature their work at a culminating event at the end of the residency.  Following the residency, youth will participate in four monthly 3-hour cyphers (from Septemenber through December 2016) as a way to advance their collaborative learning.


Click here for the full job description


Please e-mail info and materials below to: omana.imani@artscorps.org (and please designate HHAR TEACHING ARTIST APPLICATION in the subject line) by Friday, April 1st.

  • Teaching resume.
  • Personal teaching artist mission statement.
  • Class description sample.
  • A sample curriculum or lesson plan (2 pages maximum)
  • Three references.


Deadline for submission is April 1, 2016


Arts Corps is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  Teaching artists of color are strongly encouraged to apply


empmuseumlogoArtsCorps_logo_white_LRG copy





We’re hiring for the Creative Schools Initiative!

The Highline Creative Schools Initiative is a three-year research project in the Highline School District funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This project explores the impact of arts integration on student academic mindsets by placing teaching artists who integrate theatre or visual arts into 5th and 6th grade language arts classes.

Highline Public Schools is one of the highest poverty, most diverse and lowest performing school districts in its region. This district serves nearly 19,000 students, many of whom are students of color and/or from low-income families, including many different immigrant and refugee populations. Because of these factors, Arts Corps is especially seeking applicants who have experience in and a passion for working for racial and social justice. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply for these positions.


Arts Corps is looking to fill the role of Creative Schools Program Manager – Creative Schools Program Manager Job Description

To Apply: Send resume and cover letter to dd@artscorps.org and write “Creative Schools Program Manager” in the subject line. Position open until filled; applications received by February 15th will receive priority for review.


We’re also hiring a Creative Schools Evaluation Assistant – Creative Schools Evaluation Assistant Job Description

To apply: Send a resume and cover letter to Angela Brown at: angela.brown@artscorps.org

Priority Deadline for applications is 2/22/16



Save the Date: La Festa del Arte 2016!

Mark your calendar for March 18th, 2016 for La Festa del Arte–Arts Corps’ biggest party of the year! This gala event will feature dinner and drinks, an amazing raffle and a huge stage production starring youth and adult artists from Arts Corps’ programs.

What: La Festa del Arte
When: March 18th, 6pm
Where: Showbox SoDo (1700 1st Ave S, Seattle)

You may recall that last year’s event sold out, with more than 400 people in attendance, and was our largest and most successful Festa in history. We’re working on making this year’s gala even bigger and better-it’s going to be a blast.

Formal invitations will be sent out in the coming weeks but you can purchase tickets and tables today via our website. Individual tickets cost $150 until March 1st, after which they go up to $175–a portion of which is tax-deductible.

Want to bring your whole crew? Be a Festa table captain! Table captains are asked to sponsor or recruit a table of up to 10 people. Full-table sponsorships are available for $1,500-1,750, or you can ask your guests to purchase their own tickets. Click here for more info.


Patron – $1,750
Free parking for you & your guests
VIP table for 10
Recognition in program

Fan – $1,500
Recognition in program
Table for 10

Festa banner

Many thanks to our sponsors for making this event possible, including:



2014-15 Annual Report


As the year comes to a close, we hope you’ll take a moment to check out our 2014-15 Annual Report: “Risk Takers, Makers and Culture Shakers,” which you may have received in the mail recently. In it, you’ll read 5 stories of the impact the arts have had on the lives of Hollis Wong-Wear, TJ Paaga, Lashaunycee O’Cain, Nemith Phum and Tien Vo. You’ll read about break dancers, teachers, poets and musicians–what motivates and inspires them, and why the arts are such a big part of their lives.

Photos by Stefanie Felix Photography

We hope you will be inspired by their stories, and consider the role the arts have played in your own life. You’ll also see links to our 2014-15 financial and program evaluation reports, an updated list of our teaching artists, and recognition of our donors from the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Thanks for being a part of the Arts Corps community! It is your support that makes our work possible.


With deep gratitude,


All of us at Arts Corps


PS: Help Arts Corps cultivate more powerful, creative experiences in 2016 by making a donation today. Your gift at any level makes a big difference.

A Time of Rebirth

My name is Christina Nguyen and I am the new Teen Leadership Program and Youth Speaks Seattle Coordinator. I am very humbled to be carrying on the legacy of the past mentors of Youth Speaks and upholding the generation from before and after.

Christina BNV AtlantaNow, you may be wondering who I am. I have been part of Youth Speaks Seattle for almost four years now. I have seen the program grow from a little seed – when we used to meet guerilla-style at local cafes planning slams to now establishing opportunities for a leadership and social justice institute. We’ve grown from a team of 4 interns to a squad of 15 youth from around the greater Seattle area (also known as Spokes!)

Let’s take a step back and focus our lens back to the beginning, of my journey of how I am related to Youth Speaks Seattle. The beginning of my enlightening journey started in my sophomore honors Language Arts class when two mentors from YSS, Henry Luke and Chelsea Staples, came in to do outreach for a local slam whilst curating a writing workshop. Now, I was one extremely shy youth back in the day but when it came to sharing, an emotional wave took over my mind to stand up and actually share a couple lines from my poem. I felt safe, for the first time in my life in that atmosphere. I felt heard and understood. By the end of the day, I had found my birth of flame that kindled inside of me – a burning desire to actually slam. I went home that day and spilled my toxic thoughts on paper- creating the newest and next three poems that allowed me to win the Harambee slam and get me through to perform at YSS Grand Slam in the later months.

After that experience, I was hooked. Some might say I might have been addicted – not to abusive substances but instead I craved the feeling to use words as healing, learning to question facts and opinions, and most importantly fell hard for one of the most accepting communities I had ever found in my life. I started searching more events to feed the hunger for sharing my words. That was when I found the weekly writing circles. From then on, I showed up weekly. My favorite memories were learning new techniques to approach poetry, cooking ramen/spaghetti in the little kitchen, and seeing the YSS family weekly after a hard week of school.

My love of the Youth Speaks Seattle community grew and bloomed to where I stand to this very day.

Where I stand right now, I am the bridge that connects the future youth coming into the program and the ones who left a legacy. I feel as if I’m the Avatar or Guardian by carrying on legacies I’ve witnessed and add more to the life and journey of YSS ahead until my term is up. Right now, I am thrilled to pave new ways to help deepen the meaning of Youth Speaks among new communities and in addition, I also can’t help but feel tinges of nervousness. But who hasn’t? We are all human.

We are always in the establishment of creating ourselves, enduring shape shifting contradictions, and transformation. In a need to always be thriving to be better and feeling like “never enough.” When really, instead, we should reflect and grow.

Essentially, who we are, why are we doing what we do. We should question our being. We go through life trying to understand how to better ourselves daily, and fear what the future holds. My mindset this year is to not fret and to have no fears. Just take one day at a time. Everyday is always an opportunity to shake it up.

I am highly looking forward to learning new knowledge and spreading knowledge among the people I will meet on this new quest I have ahead. Whilst sharing ways of positive risk-taking and providing tools to accept vulnerability and healing.

One of the philosophies I believe and want to uphold this year regarding art is a quote that goes “an artist is a child who survived.”  Since this will be the first year in revamping the program (incorporating music, movement, and spoken word), I want to assist people in “feeding” that young artist or help waken them in this time of rebirth. In addition, I want to bring to conversation that creating art causes humanity to become a more majestic place. To show that it is acceptable to have emotions and validating our feelings from the memories, moments, and experiences we endure daily. We are in dire need of becoming socially awake and holding spaces for communities to survive through these rough times. We need to do so by providing healing mechanisms and essentially share the many stories that we carry with us for these years to come.


Christina Nguyen, AmeriCorps Artist-in-Service: Teen Leadership Program and Youth Speaks Seattle Coordinator


Apply for the 2015-16 Teen Leadership Program!


Arts Corps x Youth Speaks Seattle x Totem Star 

Teen Leadership Program

Calling all Youth Poets&Dancers&Musicians&Artists! We’re looking for fierce young artists (aged 13-19) who want to create change through community organizing, performance events and artistry! This is a 9-month commitment to being a leader and organizer for the Arts Corps Teen Leadership Program. Internship is from October 14th – June 28th. Leaders will meet every Tuesday from 4-6pm.


  • $tipend: Leaders will receive a $40.00 monthly stipend!
  • Build a tight knit, loving community with 20 other youth artists and activists
  • Professional development and skills (promotion, event planning, public speaking & facilitation)
  • Artistry development in spoken word and music production
  • Learn about forms of oppression and how to fight against them using art and community
  • Good food and 60+ community service hours!

Applications Due: Wednesday, Sept. 30th

All internship details can be found on the Teen Leadership Application.

Apply online: tinyurl.com/artscorpsteen2016

Copies also available at Arts Corps office in the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge SW, Suite 110 98106)