Social Justice Framework

Arts Corps recognizes the need for art to act as a liberatory process and works to expand the opportunities for both our students and teaching artists. Creating art can be a personal act of liberation, and when done collectively we can transform schools, neighborhoods, and beyond. With a mission of revolutionizing arts education by igniting the creative power of young people through culturally engaging learning experiences, Arts Corps embraces arts education in the context of social change.

Research shows that arts education has transformative results: higher attendance and graduation rates, as well as an increase in creative capacities, leadership skills and connections to community. These results are especially significant among communities that disproportionately do not have access to arts education, largely low-income youth of color. Arts Corps is committed to reducing the opportunity gap in access to arts learning by providing high quality programming, which includes an intentional lens around race and oppression in the classroom and in our organizational practices.

The same systems that create inequities in arts education have created inequities in the profession that favor white/middle-upper class teaching artists. Arts Corps prioritizes hiring teaching artists who reflect the experiences and identities of the young people we serve and provides pathways for young artists to develop their teaching artistry. Arts Corps is committed to the continual support of our teaching artists in their practices.

Tools and Resources

Arts Corps Arts Education & Social Justice Framework for Teaching Artists (Roberto Ascalon & Tina LaPadula) 

This framework is specifically geared toward teaching artists. All arts educators are encouraged to make use of this resource, adapting it to the needs of your work or organization. When sharing this framework, please cite Arts Corps and its original authors. The version available for download was updated by Carina del Rosario, Olisa Enrico, and Meredith Arena in September 2020.

Dismantling Racism Resource Book (Western States Center)

This powerful resource is a tool that provides the following: developing a shared language and analysis, internalized oppression to empowerment & allyship; anti-racist organizational development; and strategies for moving racial justice. Arts Corps has utilized the section on Anti-Racist Organizational Development for an organizational Assessment.

Training for Racial Equity & Inclusion (Illana Shapiro)

A thorough review of over fifteen anti-racist workshops. Looking at analysis, pedagogical strategy, target populations and community organizing strategy.

White Supremacy Culture (Tema Okun)

This document is a tool for social change organization to look closely at what Tema Okun calls “white supremacy culture” and how we internalize subtle forms of racism in our day-to-day work lives.

Making Space, Making Change: Profiles of Youth-led Organizations (Movement Strategy Center)

This report is intended for all organizations that do work with youth. It uses cases studies to outline the different manifestations of youth-led organizing and also provides analysis of the varying levels of being a “youth-led organization” that take into consideration leadership development and accountability.

Addtional resources: