Arts Corps revolutionizes arts education by igniting the creative power of young people through culturally engaging learning experiences.
We work toward a world where barriers to arts education no longer exist and all young people can creatively lead the transformation of schools, neighborhoods, and beyond.
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.
Three core values shape and define our work at all levels of the organization, from the classroom to the boardroom.
Equity: 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.
Creativity: 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.
“Pivoting Creatively: South Seattle Arts Nonprofits Scramble to Find Ways to Stay Afloat” South Seattle Emerald, 2020
“Macklemore’s youth program seeks permanent home in gentrifying Seattle for the next generation” The Seattle Times, 2019
“Launching the Creative Careers Cohort” Art Beat Blog, by Otts Bolisay, 2019
“James Miles’ cool job leading Arts Corps in Seattle” The Seattle Times, 2018
“Politicians don’t bring people together. Artists do.” TYA today: Voices Against Hate feature by James Miles, 2017
“Is it the rain? Why Seattle is an engine of Creativity” NPR radio feature with James Miles, 2017
“5 Questions with James Miles” Medium, by Joe Waters, 2017
“Open Society Foundations Announce Summer 2017 New Executives Fund Recipients” James Miles is named as a recipient
“Fueling a Passion: Arts Education Leaders As Community Catalysts” Leadership InSight series feature by James Miles, 2017
“Hip Hop: Young Artists Take the Mic” Seattle Foundation Heart & Science Magazine, p6-13, 2016
“Reclaiming the Arts in Schools: Focusing on equitable access, new partnerships bring music, art, theater and dance back to students” feature in ParentMap magazine, 2015
“Arts Corps Wins the Nation’s Highest Honor for After-School Arts Programs” The Stranger, by Jen Graves, 2012
“Arts Corps finds willing recruits in needy schools: Non-profit lets in the light of the arts” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2007
“Creativity to their Art’s Content” The Seattle Times, 2005
For more information on Arts Corps founder Lisa Fitzhugh:
“A Tribute to the Vision of Lisa Fitzhugh.” a Brian Quist production