About Us

We transform the lives of young people through the arts.

Arts Ignite Staff at the 2021 Annual Christmas Concert
Student sings on stage with his arm joyously outstretched

Our Story

Founded to help young people develop agency, build critical life skills, and experience the joy of creative expression

In 2006, a group of motivated Juilliard students joined forces with Broadway musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell to found Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), created with the belief that every young person has a story and a voice that deserves to be heard.

In 2021, after 15 years of delivering arts programming in the United States and around the world as ASTEP, the organization stepped into its next stage of growth as Arts Ignite. The name is new, but the passion is the same: to help young people find their voice through the joy and potency of making art.

Team

Mary-Mitchell Campbell

Mary-Mitchell Campbell

President & Founder

(she/her/hers)

Mary-Mitchell has had an extensive career as a musician and humanitarian. In 2005 she founded Arts Ignite with some of her Juilliard students, and she recently transitioned as the Executive Director to the position of President. She has traveled the world using arts education as a way to inspire young people to pursue higher education. She has been the Music Supervisor/Music Director for eleven Broadway shows and conducts orchestras in concerts around the country. She is passionate about the power of arts education to transform the lives of young people. 

Carl Sylvestre

Carl Sylvestre

Executive Director

(he/him/his)

Carl Sylvestre is an accomplished arts executive with 20+ years of experience creating impact in organizations through advocacy, strategic management, program and policy development, and fundraising. He is a strong believer that arts and culture change lives.  From 2014 to 2021 he served as the Director of Development at Theatre Forward, providing funding and program support to many of the U.S. leading regional theatres.  As a management consultant, he has advised and supported a variety of New York non-profits in the arts and social services sectors including New York City Mission Society, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Friends of The High Line among others.  Carl has served as the Director of External Affairs at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Director of Planning and Development at New York Theatre Workshop, and other fundraising and management positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Opera. He served as Board President of the Robert Giard Foundation (2010-2018).  Carl has an M.B.A from the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, an M.A. in Theatre from Hunter College and a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Culture from Columbia University.  A proud recipient of a New York City Council Citation for philanthropic and community service.  

Kate Garst

Kate Garst

Director of Development and Communications

(she/her/hers)

Kate Garst joined the Arts Ignite team in 2020 as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. She is passionate about the performing arts and serving local communities.  A proven leader, Kate works to build camaraderie and pursue continuous growth. Kate was a key member of the Chief Executive Officer’s team at The Atlantic Philanthropies, working toward the implementation and execution of the Atlantic Fellows programs – a global network of 20 institutions spanning five continents working together to create more equitable, healthy, and inclusive societies. In the theatrical world, Kate worked with Jujamcyn Theaters, Stacey Mindich Productions, David Korins Design, and the Public Theater. Kate earned a Certificate in Arts and Culture Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania & National Arts Strategies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Theater) and Bachelor of Science (Business) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Rooted in East Harlem for over a decade, she remains a proud Nebraskan.

 

 

 

Lindsay Roberts Greene

Lindsay Roberts Greene

Director of Programs

(she/her/hers)

With the motto “artistry onstage and off!,” Lindsay Roberts Greene is deeply rooted in the arts and arts education. For over ten years, Lindsay partnered with Arts Ignite in a varied capacity, supporting fundraising goals, strategic visioning, and working in the classroom as a teaching artist. She now proudly serves as the Director of Programs with oversight over all programs, partnerships, teaching artist services, and curriculum and evaluation. Lindsay is a Certified Diversity Professional through the National Diversity Council and specializes in culturally responsive arts education and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the arts sector. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Maryland in Opera/Vocal Performance with a concentration in Music Education and a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Drexel University and holds graduate certificates from both Cornell University and Umass Amherst. Her performance credits include multiple television appearances, recordings, and onstage productions and she can currently be seen in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. 

Eloise Johnson

Eloise Johnson

Development Intern

(she/her/hers)

Development Intern, Eloise is a classical singer and pilates and yoga instructor. She studied Sociology at Smith College and later earned a Certificate in Musical Theater Performance from CAP 21 and a BM in Vocal Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is currently completing an MA in Performing Arts Administration at NYU. Eloise is thrilled to be at ASTEP because art and music have been pivotal in her personal development.

Jamiya Leach

Development and Communications Associate

(she/her/hers)

Jamiya is a writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Media Studies from The New School, continuing on to complete her MA with a concentration in Cinema Production in 2021. Arts education and community grounds her work as a storyteller and media specialist. She is passionate about uplifting young voices and is excited to join the Arts Ignite team to foster meaningful relationships where the arts and young minds can flourish.

Hannah Martin

Hannah Martin

Development Assistant

(she/her/hers)

After graduating summa cum laude in December 2020, Hannah joined Arts Ignite in the summer of 2021 initially as a Development Intern but now works as a Development Assistant. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she earned her B.A. in Anthropology with a focus in the cultural and medical subfields at Georgia State University. Her professional and personal passions thrive and exist at the intersection of anthropology and nonprofit work. Though she is not an artist herself, her personal philosophies align greatly with the mission at Arts Ignite and she is proud to be using her anthropological lens and training to support the mission. Hannah’s career is in its early stages, and she is incredibly excited to grow in, learn from, and be a part of Arts Ignite – where arts education is utilized to serve local youth.

Andrea Moore

Andrea Moore

Program Coordinator

(she/her/hers)

Andrea started with Arts Ignite in the summer of 2021 as a Program Intern and now serves as a Program Facilitator for Arts Ignite’s Creative Activity Kits. Originally from Charlotte, NC, Andrea is earning her B.A. in Arts Administration from Elon University and believes in meeting people where they are. As a performer and visual artist, Andrea’s life mission aligns directly with Arts Ignite’s, as she continues to create accessible and meaningful art and artistic programs. Andrea is incredibly excited to be a part of the Arts Ignite team and is looking forward to establishing art programming alongside such incredible artists.

Jane Park

Jane Park

Programs Intern

(she/her/hers)

Jane is pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science at Penn State University. She is an Executive Advisor for Notelove, a non-profit that provides free music lessons to low-income children in the Bay Area, CA, and she was also a guitar and ukulele instructor there for two years. Her interests are graphic design, coding, and music. She’s been a visual artist for over 10 years and a self-taught musician for 7 years. In her free time, she produces music and watches TV. Her favorite shows are Disenchantment, Criminal Minds, and Bojack Horseman. Jane is excited to be a part of Arts Ignite to promote arts education in youth.

 

 

 

Tiffany Ramos

Tiffany Ramos

Program Manager

(they/them/theirs)

Tiffany Ramos is a visual artist from Queens, New York, and Program Manager at ASTEP/ Arts Ignite. They received their Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting and minor in Arts Leadership from Boston University. Tiffany discovered the intense power and value the arts have to uplift an individual and to connect communities through their own life experiences and work as an artist. These experiences led them into exploring how art fits into the realm of social justice and therapeutic practices, eventually leading them to Teaching Artistry. Tiffany has taught visual art as a Teaching Artist for the past 7 years in Florida, New York City, Boston, India, and South Carolina. Their journey has filled them with a passion for Teaching Artistry, and a drive to facilitate and create opportunities for young people to learn and grow through the arts.

Catie Robinson

Catie Robinson

Development Intern

(she/her/hers)

Catie is thrilled to combine her passions for the arts, writing, and arts education as a development intern with Arts Ignite, where she assists with grant research and writing. Catie also is a regular freelance writer for Dance Spirit, a web publication for young dancers, and works as a fact-checker for Dance Teacher and Dance Business Weekly. Catie began her relationship with these publications by writing freelance articles for Dance Magazine and Dance Spirit while still in college and later worked for Dance Spirit as an editorial intern. In 2019 Catie served as a communications and marketing intern for the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C. Catie holds degrees both in dance and journalism from California State University, Fullerton. While there she both performed in and choreographed various campus productions and wrote for the school’s daily newspaper.

Davinia Troughton

Davinia Troughton

Director of Finance and Operations

(she/her/hers)

Davinia has worn many hats since joining ASTEP in 2010—from development to administration to the Co-Executive Director role—she is currently overseeing the financial and operational health of the organization. She came to ASTEP from the NoVo Foundation, where she worked on grants management, strategic planning, and in the Women and Girls Initiative, focusing on funding efforts to end violence against girls and women around the world. Davinia is also a New York State certified sexual and domestic violence crisis counselor at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City where she trained and mentored new crisis counselors. She is dedicated to social justice and supporting the voices of women and children worldwide.

Board of Directors

Mark Canavera

Mark Canavera

Mark Canavera is the co-director of the Care and Protection of Children (CPC) Learning Network, an entity at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health supporting the next generation of researchers and advocates for children and families worldwide. Mark joined the CPC Learning Network after many years working as a humanitarian aid and development worker in West Africa. He has worked in over 20 countries with a variety of agencies, including Save the Children, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Oxfam. His work has spanned efforts to support children formerly associated with armed groups in northern Uganda, gun control in Senegal, girls’ education promotion in Burkina Faso, and child welfare system reform in Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Benin, Senegal, and Cameroon. He holds Master’s degrees in Peace Studies from Notre Dame and Public Policy from Harvard and serves on the faculty at Columbia University.  He is a founding board member of Arts Ignite and also co-founded the Rustin Fund for Global Equality, a non-profit that mobilizes political and financial support for LGBTI grassroots groups around the world.

 

 

 

Laura Chittick

Laura Chittick

(she/her/hers)

Laura Chittick is a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Chase.  She provides healthcare companies with corporate banking solutions, from financing to treasury services.  Her prior experience includes structured finance and equity derivatives.  Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.  She lives in NYC with her husband and two teenagers.    

Trupti Doshi

Trupti Doshi

(she/her/hers)

Trupti Doshi has been a Board member of Arts Ignite since 2012. She currently works as a Consultant and Interim Grants and System Administrator at the Commonwealth Fund to support the management of the Foundation’s Salesforce grantmaking system and grants management processes. From 2018 to 2021, Trupti worked as a Consultant at 1892 consulting, LLC, a women-led firm that enables foundations to work smarter and better partner with grantees through improved operational effectiveness, equitable practices, and sustainable solutions. Through her work in the public sector for more than 16 years, she established a strong track-record in all facets of grantmaking, nonprofit management, and fundraising with a particular focus on equitable access to the arts and education to underserved, minority and vulnerable populations. Trupti’s experience from both the grantmaker and grantseeker perspective has helped her hone a unique and holistic view on effective grantmaking.  

 

 

 

Steven Farkas

Steven Farkas

(he/him/his)

Steve Farkas, CFA, is a Director within the Fundamental Active Equities Team at BlackRock, where he has worked for the past 13 years. He has served on the Arts Ignite board for over three years, and has chaired the finance committee for the past year. His passion for being involved in Arts Ignite stems from seeing firsthand the ability of the arts to transform the lives of others. He currently resides in Manhattan with his dog, Frankie. Steve graduated cum laude with a BS in Finance from Tulane University in 2008. Steven is a CFA Charterholder and is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA).

Thomas FitzGerald

Thomas FitzGerald

Chair

(he/him/his)

Tom FitzGerald is the current Board Chair and has been involved with Arts Ignite and on the Board of Directors for over 10 years.  He is a senior professional at Drivetrain, LLC, a financial advisory boutique specializing in designated fiduciary roles as independent corporate directors and Trustees.  He has more than thirty years experience in banking, capital markets and portfolio management.  Tom is a member of the Arts Ignite Executive Committee and the Finance Committee.  He currently resides in Miami, FL. 

Sameer Garg

Sameer Garg

(he/him/his)

Sameer Garg is a Managing Director in the Aerospace, Defense and Government Services Group at RBC Capital Markets. He is responsible for deal origination and execution across defense platforms and electronics, government and Federal IT services, and space and space-tech verticals. Over his 15+ year career, Sameer has executed a number of transactions advising public and private companies, and financial sponsors on a variety of strategic initiatives including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and capital raising transactions. Prior to RBC, he was a Vice President at Deutsche Bank focused on the Aerospace and Defense sector. Sameer began his career as a propulsion engineer for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where he focused on designing propulsion systems for low earth orbit missions. In that capacity, he also served as an evaluation board member of the Small Business Innovative Research organization. Sameer currently serves on the board of New York City-based non-profit, Arts Ignite. He earned his MBA from University of Virginia in Finance and Accounting and his B.S. from The University of Texas at Austin in Aerospace Engineering.

Jacob Hadad

Jacob Hadad

(he/him/his)

Jacob is the owner and managing director of Wesfair, a financial advisory and independent insurance agency. Over the years Jacob has practiced as a CPA both publicly and privately at Ernst & Young and Apollo Global Management. These various roles within the financial industry provides Jacob with a unique professional experience as it relates to operations, financial analysis, and risk & control management/mitigation. Jacob joined Arts Ignite in August 2019 and is currently a member of the Finance Committee. His interest in arts and education stem from the success his spouse has had teaching performing arts to inner city youth in NYC charter schools. Providing children with access to the arts is a vital mission that Jacob is passionate about pursuing with Arts Ignite.

Jeffrey Korn

Jeffrey Korn

(he/him/his)

Jeffrey B. Korn is a partner in the Litigation Department and Co-Chair of the Antitrust & Competition Practice Group. His practice focuses on antitrust litigation and counseling, securities litigation, M&A litigation and other complex business law disputes. He has represented a wide range of clients including public and private companies, their officers and directors, mutual funds, private equity funds, hedge funds and securities underwriters in both state and federal courts and before the antitrust and securities enforcement agencies.

Jaimie Mayer

Jaimie Mayer

(she/her/hers)

Jaimie Mayer is a Creative Producer, Social Entrepreneur and Innovator, and avid Philanthropist. She currently serves as the Chair of The Nathan Cummings Foundation, having previously served on the board for over two decades. Jaimie’s background in the arts spans two decades in both theatre and film. Jaimie has produced on Broadway and off and had films premiere at Sundance and on Showtime. Most recently, she ran Magic Theatre in San Francisco, as Managing Director. In the philanthropic realm, Jaimie runs a consulting business working with next generation philanthropists and their families. Jaimie holds an Executive MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University’s School of The Arts. In addition to Arts Ignite, she sits on the boards of The Vineyard Theatre and National Center for Family Philanthropy.

Henry Sham

Henry Sham

(he/him/his)

Henry Sham is a Managing Director and Head of CIBC’s US Investment Banking Financial Institutions Group, advising financial institutions and financial technology companies on M&A and capital raising efforts. Prior to joining CIBC, he was a Managing Director at Barclays and was previously with Lehman Brothers. Henry earned his MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business, with distinction, and graduated from Binghamton University. Henry serves on the board of Arts Ignite, with the strong belief that arts enrichment and education are critical for all youth to improve their lives and their communities.

Gabrielle Speaks

Gabrielle Speaks

Vice Chair

(she/her/hers)

Gabrielle Speaks is the Director of Board Relations and Special Liaison to the President at Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a nonprofit that promotes economic opportunity and champions equity in New York City and state. Prior to working at CSS she held positions at other social and economic justice organizations in New York and Washington D.C. including TransAfrica Forum and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF). Gabrielle has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. from Howard University in Washington D.C. She is passionate about social justice issues, women’s rights, human rights, equity and inclusiveness, and of course Arts Ignite!

Dipti Verma

Dipti Verma

(she/her/hers)

Dipti Verma is Director of Market Data at S&P Global Market Intelligence (SPGMI) based in New York. She is the Global lead for the Fixed Income Data management team that supports terms & conditions and pricing data, credit ratings, interest rates, ESG, credit default swaps, and debt capital structure. Her areas of focus are seamless delivery of content across all SPGMI products for IM/IB/Corporate clients, managing vendors, conflict resolution while dealing with multiple deliverables for product, content, technology & incorporating client feedback for continuous innovation. Her 20 years of global experience in financial services & banking positions her well at handling ambiguous projects, negotiating with challenging stakeholders & successfully delivering tangible products to the end-customer. Prior to joining S&P Global in 2010, she worked in various capacities at Merck, ABN Amro Bank & GMAC Mortgage. The mission of Arts Ignite resonates with her & bridges two causes close to her heart – children and the arts. In addition to indulging in random acts of kindness, she looks forward to Arts Ignite providing a framework that enables her to give back to the community in a more meaningful manner. She strongly believes working towards furthering the well-being and development of the under-privileged communities, especially younger people, ensures we all have a better future.

Sheri Sarkisian

Treasurer

(she/her/hers)

Sheri Sarkisian is a Vice President at Goldman Sachs within the Compliance organization.  She has been on the board of directors of Arts Ignite since 2015 and currently serves as treasurer.  Sheri participates on the Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Nominating Committee.  She is passionate about the arts and serving children.

Sheryl Calabro

Secretary

Honorary Board

Richard Jay Alexander – Broadway Actor, Director, Producer
Laura Benanti – Tony/Drama Desk/Outer Critics Circle Award-winning Broadway Actress/TV Actress
Sierra Boggess – Broadway.com Audience Award-winning Theater Actress and Soprano Singer
Kristin Chenoweth – Tony/Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway Star/TV & Movie Actress
Gavin Creel – Tony-nominated Broadway Actor/Musician
John Doyle – Tony/Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway Director
Raul Esparza – Tony-nominated Broadway Actor/TV Actor
Cyndi Lauper – Tony/Grammy Award-winning Singer/Theater Actress
Stephen Oremus – Tony/Grammy/Drama Desk Award-winning musical director/orchestrator


Supporters, Partners & Affiliates

We’re grateful for the continued support of individuals, foundations, corporations, and organizations who believe in the transformative power of the arts!

  • Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation
  • Atlantic Philanthropies
  • American Express
  • BlackRock Gives
  • Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
  • Carol and Melvin Newman Family Foundation
  • Common Sense Fund
  • Community Foundation of Greenville
  • Dickinson Family Foundation
  • Diva Living Trust
  • Goldman Sachs
  • J. C. Flowers Foundation
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Juilliard School of Performing Arts
  • Mai Family Foundation
  • Monterey International Pop Festival
  • Music Man Foundation
  • Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • RBC Foundation USA
  • Select Equity Group Foundation
  • Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation
  • Schloss Family Foundation
  • Sills Family Foundation
  • Wesfair Agency
  • William and Mary Greve Foundation
  • Youth INC
  • Abraham House
  • Arts in Education Roundtable
  • Circles of Support
  • Church of the Heavenly Rest
  • EnFamilia
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Lutheran Social Services
  • Nkosi’s Haven
  • Passages Academy
  • Shanti Bhavan
  • Win

Asked By Kids

BKBX

MUSE

MAESTRA

Vasthy & Friends

123 Andrés

Land Acknowledgment

Arts Ignite acknowledges that our offices occupy the unceded land of the Munsee Lenape people.


“You are all doing exactly what the title of your organization says that you are doing. You are: ‘Artists Striving to End Poverty.‘” – Judy Juster, Clinical Coordinator/After School Program Director at Abraham House We are excited to share the news that ASTEP has started a food distribution program, Filling the Food Gap, in partnership with the…

Man receives chicken from a food donation site

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