Why Arts Corps?

Arts Corps is a nationally recognized youth arts education organization that works to address the race and income-based opportunity gap in access to arts education. Through participation in our arts integration, out-of-school arts and teen leadership programs, youth experience the transformative power of creativity and gain a deepened belief in their own capacity to learn, take risks, persist and achieve.

Arts Corps reaches over 2,500 K-12 students in South Seattle and South King County each year. Approximately 72% of our students come from low-income families and 84% are youth of color. Arts Corps is a force for justice in a region where race is greatest predictor of whether a young person has access to an arts education.

Arts Corps programs are proven to foster creative and critical thinking skills as well as sense of belonging, connection and mindsets for learning. Evaluation also suggests that Arts Corps students are more engaged in school and test better in reading and math, an important contribution to closing the achievement gap.

Arts Corps’ programs have been recognized locally and nationally for their quality. In 2012, Arts Corps was awarded the nation’s highest honor in community-based arts education by the White House, The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The City of Seattle also honored Arts Corps with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for commitment to the ideals of Dr. King, as well as the inaugural award for Excellence in Arts Education.

Through arts education and community collaboration, Arts Corps unlocks the creative power of youth so that all young people have the courage to imagine and freedom to create a just and vibrant future.

Our Values

Three core values shape and define our work at all levels of the organization, from the classroom to the boardroom.

Justice: In every aspect of our work, we are deeply committed to the cause of fairness, respect, and equality for individuals and communities. We recognize historic and systemic injustices and actively seek to dismantle them through our programs, in our organizational practices, and in our advocacy.

Collaboration: Working together is at the center of how we approach our work. Our best work and greatest insights are realized through the collective wisdom of diverse points of view coming together around shared goals. Collaboration requires communication, flexibility, humility and accountability. Collaboration is reflected at all levels of the organization, from the relationship of students and their teaching artist to the relationship of Arts Corps with our program partners and peers, as well as among our teaching artists and staff.

Inspiration: In every action we seek to inspire—to stimulate the mind, the creative imagination, and emotions. We do this through our authenticity, our passion, and our commitment to reaching beyond our known capacities. It is our teaching artists’ capacity to inspire that motivates our students to take risks and grow, and it is our students’ passion, authenticity, and risk-taking that inspires us all to move forward.

To read more on our history, click on the following links:

“Arts Corps finds willing recruits in needy schools: Non-profit lets in the light of the arts” Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Creativity to their Art’s Content”
 The Seattle Times

“Arts Corps: A Phenomenal Success Story”
 Real Change

For more information on Arts Corps founder Lisa Fitzhugh and her work with her new company Creative Ground, click on the following links:

“A Tribute to the Vision of Lisa Fitzhugh.” a Brian Quist production

“Lisa Fitzhugh: The Art of Survival” 
Seattle Magazine