Telling the Story of Arts Ignite!

Part One: Our History

16 years ago, our Founder, Broadway musical director, Mary-Mitchell Campbell enlisted the support of her Julliard students to institute an organization for arts education. Her vision: To guide young people to think like artists, gathering skills that will serve them throughout their lives. 

Originally Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), Arts Ignite was created with the belief that every young person has a story and a voice that deserves to be heard. 

Mary-Mitchell Campbell practicing a song with students at the piano.

“At Arts Ignite, we see artistic expression as a spark that ignites purpose, passion, imagination, and confidence—creating a ripple effect of hope and positive change within ourselves, our communities, and society.”

Mary-Mitchell Campbell

The spark that ignited who we are today is the same spark that we hope to ignite in our community of supporters like you! Take a look at a blast from the past with the programs that started it all.

Part Two: What We Do

Participation in the arts at an early age is proven to have a positive impact on the social, emotional, and academic lives of young people. From dancing to Beyoncé’s hits in Staten Island to photography workshops in Johannesburg, our arts programming is committed to quality artistic experiences, excellent teaching artistry, and program accessibility for all students.

1. We connect exceptional teaching artists with community partners and their youth. 

2. We bring the arts to young people to build creative capacity, community, and courage. 

3. We cultivate enduring relationships and invest in building deep connections with all members of our community.

See one of our programs in action! The Creativity Activity Kit initiative was created to inspire accessibility and imagination, offering young people technology-free activities that include expertly crafted workbooks and art supplies. Watch the process here!

Part Three: How We Work

At Arts Ignite, two pillars spark life into our mission: Our community partnerships and talented cohort of Teaching Artists. We meet our partners and the communities they serve where they are– working together to develop programs that center their needs and align with their priorities.

Community Partnerships

Arts Ignite works with partner organizations to build deep, personal, and enduring relationships through programs and community events. These programs are designed to foster collaboration and spark joy for all who attend. 

What is a Teaching Artist?

Arts Ignite Teaching Artists are exceptionally talented artists and educators who are well-trained, well-versed in pedagogy, and deeply committed to continuous learning and growth. From Broadway veterans to New York City educators, Teaching Artists inspire young artists to discover their gifts and build skills for success.

Part Four: Impact

At Arts Ignite, our goal is to connect young people with arts-rich learning that expands their sense of self and agency in the world. Our program objectives range from English language skills, academic abilities, social and emotional skills, community ties, and capacity for self-expression. To make sure that we’re constantly improving and learning, our team uses metrics and evaluation toolkits to better serve program participants and understand their needs.

This year alone, we’ve served:

This year alone, we've served over 3,00 young people. From 26 countries, speaking 27 languages. Where: New York City, Waterloo, Iowa, Richmond, Virginia, Homestead, Florida, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Part Five: Our Future

As we move from learning about the history of Arts Ignite, the most exciting part we would like to share about our journey is our future. What is our goal? To be a leading resource for accessible and inclusive arts education in the nation, and you can be a part of this movement. 

As we’ve learned, two major components that make up the work we do are our talented teaching artists and enduring partnerships. Together, we work to create fun and impactful learning opportunities that foster community and center their needs. With the support of our donors, we’ve transitioned volunteers to paid teaching artists and expanded our programs to new cities and boroughs. But we don’t plan to stop there!

We strive to use the arts to empower young people to lead the future. With your help, the power of the arts will thrive in places where it’s needed most.

Donate today to expand the reach of the arts and inspire the creative capacity, community, and courage young people need to thrive!

Support our work

Become a vital part of expanding access to arts education.

Young person reaches up to put a paper star on the wall
Two young people leap across the room with their arms up

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