Risk Takers, Makers and Culture Shakers

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Dear Community,After fifteen years of providing transformative arts learning experiences in the Seattle area, the legacy of our work is clear: Arts Corps is a force in reshaping the culture of our city to one that is more inclusive, more creative and more just.In this annual report, we present stories of five of the risk takers, makers and culture shakers who are part of that legacy. We see these qualities in our alumni, in our students and teaching artists and in our ever-growing beloved community of supporters. And we always seek to reflect them in the actions and character of our organization.Risk Takers


Learning and changing require risk. We cannot grow our abilities or intelligence without risking and experiencing failure. Challenged and supported by their teaching artists, our students make this choice everyday as they seek to achieve their goals, grow their skills and change themselves and the world around them.

At Arts Corps, we are also taking risks. As an organization, we are pushing to grow, improve and go deeper every day. We took a leap and chose to expand our Creative Schools Initiative into Highline Public Schools, reaching 600 more students this year with in depth arts integrated learning. As a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the stakes are high, and we are learning, stumbling and growing our expertise everyday.



The core of engagement at Arts Corps centers in the ‘making.’ Our students do not just study works of art—they make their own. And it is in the making of songs, choreography, paintings, poems and more that our students flex their imaginations and their critical thinking skills. With practice, these skills become creative capacities that they bring forward to their participation in our creative city.

Arts Corps, too, is a maker. As we increasingly push for systemic changes to close the gap in access to arts education for low income youth of color and for increased space for youth voice—we do so as makers—using our creative power and voice to illuminate inequity, cultivate effective strategies, and build model programs that will create and inspire the change we seek..

Culture Shakers


While the arts holds no exclusive domain over creative thinking, it does hold a unique position in the expression and shaping of culture. In a white-dominant culture, the arts have played a critical role in the survival of oppressed peoples. Culture is at the center of all social change, as it affects how we think, how we see the world and how we engage with those around us.

At Arts Corps, we strive to make culture building a central pillar to all aspects of our work, which means respecting the histories and experiences of all who participate and combining forces to foster a diverse, inclusive, creative culture.

With a mindset toward risk taking, creative capacities, and social and historical awareness, our students develop the agency to define their own path, and to create change for those around them. Our poets give voice to stories untold, our break-dancers foster the leadership of those overlooked, and our youth leaders carve out new spaces for the creative voices of their peers to be honored and shared. Our alumni have grown into cultural leaders, activists, and transformative educators.

We thank you, our visionary supporters, for investing in the continuum that fosters this delicate and powerful equation: Risk Taking + Making = Culture Shaking.

Yours truly,

ewsignature-300x79Elizabeth Whitford
Executive Director

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