∴ This year has reminded us that the arts are essential as a space for healing, a platform for connectivity, and an outlet to express ourselves. As we look to keep the arts alive, we’ve used this time to reinvest in becoming an ever more inclusive, more responsive, and more representative organization, and it is because of your support that we have been able to evolve our programs during this unprecedented time to meet this moment.
Since March 2020, ASTEP has:
- Fed over 2,000 families in the South Bronx through our partnership with Abraham House
- Reconfigured our arts programs to accommodate online learning for 899 students
- Created The ASTEP Changemakers Scholarships
- Built ASTEP’s broader community of support through our Wellness Wednesdays and Artists at Home Series.
- BIPOC staff members developed a list of priorities with the primary goal of ensuring that individuals with relevant experience to the communities we serve, in all levels of our organization, are compensated fairly for creating value for those communities.
It is because of you that we have been able to endure, and it will be because of you that we will be able to see this work continue to grow in the communities that we serve.
While we can’t be in the classroom with our students for now, we are reaching them the safest way we can: digitally. Our energy right now is directed towards responding to our partners’ current needs and creating opportunities for our greater community to engage with the arts. If you are interested in volunteering with ASTEP, tell us what your interest and availability is on this regularly updated form.
∴ Food Relief:
In collaboration with the Red Hook Container Terminal and the NYCEDC, ASTEP has helped to facilitate generous food donations to be delivered to our partner, Abraham House, in the South Bronx. The most recent donation of fresh fruit served over 900 families. There will be generous food shipments reaching this community weekly.
∴ Bridging the Digital Divide:
In this time of virtual learning, it is easy to forget about the many children in New York City and around the world with limited or no access to online platforms. To supplement their development, ASTEP has partnered with several school teachers and Teaching Artists to create a rich series of printable packets. These will be distributed by partner organizations in New York that are still actively interfacing with young people through food pantry service and other essential interactions. Packets will explore a variety of social and emotional skill topics, and will be available in both English and Spanish.
∴ Artist At Home Tutorials:
To strengthen our community, ASTEP has created a new digital program that provides the opportunity to take part in an ASTEP class. These short tutorials take place through our Instagram Live videos as well as prerecorded links, and invite participants to explore their own connection to artistic exploration, creativity, and mindfulness. Created at a time when it is essential for our Teaching Artists to prepare to cultivate their own social and emotional skill sets, this tutorial series invites class participants to explore their own skills and understanding so that they can best share that understanding in a classroom setting.
∴ Arts Meets Academics:
The arts offer a unique entry point for student learning and academic enhancement. ASTEP has partnered with individual school teachers during this shift to remote learning to be “guest artists” in virtual classrooms around the country. We introduce and support academic units by offering curriculum aligned, class-personalized, pre-recorded workshops.
∴ ASTEP Online:
For some of our ASTEP on STAGE! partner organizations, the need to distribute engaging content for students is just as present as ever. To support them while social distancing, ASTEP on STAGE! is going online and curating personalized, private access to video lessons for our students.
∴ Teaching Artist Professional Development Webinars:
During this unprecedented time, ASTEP is leaning into Adaptability – one of our four foundational pillars. We’re adding to our monthly Second Saturday Webinar Series by offering weekly, free professional development and networking opportunities for all of our trained and placed Volunteer Teaching Artists. These webinars focus on a variety of topics that best prepare Teaching Artists around the world to work with the young people ASTEP serves. Learn more about our upcoming webinars!
∴ Artist Meetups:
Held digitally and supplemented with in-person meetups when possible, the Artist Meetup model aims to connect artists who are already involved with ASTEP or who have an interest in the organization to connect, share their art, and support one another. Currently held biweekly, the meetups are a space for conversation, questions, and networking. Interested in attending? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
∴ #artathome: Try these ASTEP games!
Need some game-spiration for your time inside? Look no further! We are happy to share some of our favorite activities from the ASTEP Games Guide, courtesy of our incredible Volunteer Teaching Artists! We will be adding to this list, so stay tuned for more on the ASTEP blog, as well as on our social media pages!
∴ Culinary Arts with ASTEP:
To address concerns around food scarcity and economic hardship, ASTEP’s culinary artists are putting on their aprons. Pre-recorded tutorials focused on families cooking and baking together are underway. These videos will help inform families about nutrition, seasonal foods, and making more with less…deliciously!
∴ ASTEPers Community Mutual Aid Network:
What is a Mutual Aid Network? t’s showing up for each other. We all have needs. We also all have resources. Mutual aid is about finding ways for our collective resources to meet our collective needs. Right now we are all facing considerable challenges and may need help addressing them. We’ve kept it simple: let us know what you need and what you have to offer.