what we do
We create culturally responsive, social-emotional art programs for young people. This work centers on utilizing art making and storytelling to:
explore individual and collective history and identity
share and honor lived experiences
make meaningful connections and foster positive relationships
encourage creativity to build community and effect social change
Our activities include:
school programs that are culturally responsive models for social-emotional development and DEIA in the arts
community projects and events that include collective art making, storytelling, public art exhibition and participatory art installations
art making and story crafting workshops (single event and multi day/week programming) centered on antiracism and social justice work with young people
professional development for educators and mental health practitioners, in-services for businesses and organizations, parent workshops, and community events that raise awareness and encourage civic action
'Every major social movement throughout time has integrated art and activism.'
Center for Artistic Activism
The Power of Narrative
Storytelling is the social and cultural activity of sharing narratives, and has existed throughout time and across cultures as a form of documentation, communication, fellowship, education and entertainment. Stories are a powerful tool to better understanding one’s neighbors, community, and society. The sharing of personal stories encourages understanding and connection, a chance to walk in each other’s shoes and see things from a different perspective.
We believe that empathy is the the building block for creating a community; cognitive, emotional, compassionate, and historical empathy. It's what connects us as neighbors, and encourages us to be mindful of one another, to take care of each other. Empathy is what compels us to take action and create change in the world around us.
We harness the power of the narrative to promote empathy; sharing stories as a way to break down barriers and move beyond stereotypes. We utilize oral, aural, written and visual storytelling to promote dialogue and shared experiences in the community.
why art and story?
'Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we - from the local to the global.'
'The story is a machine for empathy. In contrast to logic or reason, a story is about emotion that gets staged over a sequence of dramatic moments, so you empathize with the characters without really thinking about it too much. It is a really powerful tool for imagining yourself in other people's situations.'
The Power of Art
Art is a form of narrative that both embodies and transcends history and culture. It is a language that is both universal and inclusive, and a vehicle for communication and exchange.
Art has the ability to make seen what is often overlooked. To make heard what is often silenced. We believe that art can promote awareness, encourage discourse, incite action, and inspire change. Art opens us up to different perspectives and endless possibilities. It is another tool for developing empathy and empathy is what compels us to take action and create change.
We mobilize the power of art to address injustice in our communities. Through the act of making art, sharing art, and engaging others in these activities we are able to use creativity to ask questions, to promote dialogue, and to generate solutions.