Developing agency in young people through the arts

We support young people in discovering the joy and power of making art—to share their voices, tell their stories, and transform their lives.

Student smiles while taking a dance class

Our Purpose

We’re a community of artists and educators, committed to a better life for all

We believe that the arts are a powerful force for sparking imagination, cultivating a sense of self, and breaking cycles of poverty. Arts education can create a ripple effect of hope and positive change within ourselves, our communities, and society.

We inspire children and youth as they build critical life skills

When young people discover their capacity for creativity, they develop new tools for cultivating their sense of self. 

We create programs in deep partnership with schools and community organizations

We craft our workshops, residencies, community events, and summer programs in close collaboration with our partners, ensuring that each young person’s needs are met. 

We foster a community of exceptional teaching artists

Our experienced teaching artists help young people discover their fullest potential and most creative selves.

Students cheering eachother on

Why the arts?

The arts cultivate the imagination, community, and courage that young people need to thrive

Access to the arts gives youth the vital skills they need to succeed in school, at home, and in the wider world. 

Teaching Artist Spotlight

Morgan McGhee

Morgan McGhee


A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Morgan McGhee is a New York City based professional dancer/singer/actress. She has performed in numerous regional theatre, Broadway, and Off- Broadway productions, as well as TV and film. Morgan received her training in Dance Theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) of New York, where she studied multiple genres of dance, in addition to acting and vocal performance. Morgan believes it is important for everyone to be exposed to the power of the arts, for art can be medicine for the soul. She has dedicated her time to teaching at youth summer camps, intensives, and workshops at various schools and dance studios across the US and internationally. 

A child’s creativity is our most precious resource.

Catherine Melendez

Catherine Melendez


Catherine Melendez is an artist and art educator based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a B.A. in Visual and Public Art from California State University Monterey Bay, and an M.A. in Art Education from the City College of New York. Catherine has worked as a Teaching Artist with Arts Ignite since the summer of 2016. During the school year, she teaches art at an elementary school in Brooklyn. Catherine is a practicing artist whose most recent work involves a scope of mixed media approaches; encompassing painting, embroidery, collage and paper craft. Thematically, her work navigates concepts of feminism, sexuality, and identity, and the ways in which those concepts are celebrated and endured.

To me, being an artist is a special way of thinking and seeing the world. I wanted to become an art teacher because I wanted to give others the abilities to share their vision. But it turns out nothing has inspired me more as an artist than teaching it to young minds.

Will Thomason

Will Thomason


Will Thomason joined Arts Ignite in 2018 and has enjoyed working as a Teaching Artist, Program Facilitator, and Guest Performer for Arts Ignite initiatives in NYC and beyond. As a multi-hyphenate artist, he has performed regionally in various musicals and plays, and has had his original songs performed in festivals in Michigan, North Carolina, and New York City. Will has worked internationally with a variety of community organizations, ranging from youth development and education to community organizing and social activism.

Arts Ignite has been a consistent source of joy for me since I joined, and I have grown immensely as a Teaching Artist while working with students and fellow artists. Arts Ignite’s focus on social and emotional development through the arts is one that is employed both in the classrooms, as well as in the community as a whole.

Students holding up their plate-drawing creations

The vibrant, passionate, imaginative minds and hearts of these children inspire me constantly.

Austin Bohmer, Teaching Artist

Students create abstract drawings

Our Partners

We work hand-in-hand with schools and community organizations around the world to inspire and support their youth

Every Arts Ignite program is a collaboration. We work within our partners’ existing structures to design a customized, engaging approach that meets each young person where they are—and invites them to discover their unique strengths. 

Children interacting with Teaching Artist

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