Mary-Mitchell Campbell honored by Transport Group Theatre Company

Katherine Nolan Brown; katherine@asteponline.org | 212.921.1227


MUSICAL POWERHOUSE
MARY-MITCHELL CAMPBELL
HONORED BY TRANSPORT GROUP THEATRE COMPANY
ON FEBRUARY 6th

Founder of ASTEP Honored with Performances by Tituss Burgess,
Raúl Esparza, Debra Monk, Melissa Errico,
Sierra Boggess, and More

February 7, 2017 – The Transport Group Theatre Company – which last night celebrated their 2017 Annual Gala with “An Evening with Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Friends” – honored the accomplished Broadway musical director and arranger with an evening of songs featuring the pianist herself at The Times Center.

Several of Campbell’s Broadway collaborators lent their talents to the evening, including Tituss Burgess; Raúl Esparza; Debra Monk; Melissa Errico; and Sierra Boggess. Video greetings were sent from Kristin Chenoweth and Jonathan Groff, who were unable to attend. Each performer told a short story to honor their friend, citing not only her musical talent but more importantly, her giving and loving nature and “for bringing so much love, music and grace into the world” through her efforts with ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty) the non-profit arts organization founded by Campbell in 2006.

Jack Cummings III, The Transport Group’s Artistic Director, choked up when speaking of Campbell’s involvement of their first-ever project, the 2002 production of Thornton Wilde’s Our Town, for which Campbell composed, arranged, and directed the music. Citing her contribution as having arranged an entire score incorporating the Shaker song “Simple Gifts,” he said she created an expanded universe of sound for the production, and as this was the inaugural effort for The Transport Group, she was in effect their “birth mother” and they her baby, with her music ushering forth a brand new theatrical entity.

Mary-Mitchell, on accepting the award, thanked all her teachers who guided and supported her, and all the artists and directors with whom she had worked. Referring to ASTEP, she said “art has the power to transform lives …..” and that now, more than ever, “we need to make art.”

ABOUT ASTEP:
ASTEP was conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had: their art. Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with underserved youth in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty. For more information, please visit www.ASTEP.org.

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Guess who’s celebrating a birthday? #10for10

 

The next ten days are going to be exciting for us.

 
That’s because ten years ago, a little organization called ASTEP was born.

Today, ASTEP puts diverse artists in classrooms around the world to share their passion with underserved kids.

I am proud to celebrate this milestone with ASTEP’s community who believes the arts can create a safe space for a child to thrive and grow. Coming together to support this belief is what the #10for10 Campaign is all about.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 in 10 days through $10 and $100 donations from
June 20 – June 29, 2016.

Join us by giving today to make our next 10 years even brighter. DONATE NOW!


South Africa revisited

artsINSIDEOUT – Johannesburg, South Africa

A team of 18 Volunteer Artists recently wrapped up artsINSIDEOUT2015, which took place from June 28 – July 11 for over 150 kids at Nkosi’s Haven, a residential facility for mothers and their children who are affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition to the traditional visual art, storytelling, music, and dance workshops offered, this two-week arts camp offered an engaging stagecraft class! The program culminated in a final performance at the historic Market Theatre in Johannesburg for the entire community — it was an inspiring evening for everyone who participated. For a chance to see the show, check out the video above!

The single most determinative factor in the lives of the people we work with will be their ability to tell their stories and to believe that their stories matter.

SETTING THE STAGE

BY VICTOR COLON, ASTEP VOLUNTEER ARTIST

My job is to educate through the arts: to model human, share perspectives, and broaden the imagination of our young students.

Through the stagecraft class we implement the set design for the final show that we are creating with the children. In our class each student is granted the freedom to be creative and responsible. We guide them so they can give their best without fear of making mistakes, laugh and learn from them creating beautiful arts expressions.

I get up early in the morning to start to work with the section of kids with the incredible team of kids, aged 5 to 12 years, who have tremendous energy and a huge desire to help in any way they can. The discipline and brotherhood is important in our work, they listen to each other and respect the decisions of their peers, which is a fundamental part of our education. After lunch we work with the next group of young girls and boys between the ages of 13-18 years old. It is WONDERFUL to have this gender diversity because it makes us a unique and special group providing opportunities to all alike, breaking the stereotypes that the only ones working on building scenery and lighting are involved with men.

The creativity and discipline of these students are amazing and I have no doubt at all that our final stage will be a beautiful and artistic collaboration from all of them and for the rest of the majors: music, dance, improv, storytelling and also Mums. Our main interest is that by recycling all materials that we see in our surroundings, we can make big scenes without relying on big budgets and because they simply do art inside and outside of major infrastructure, having less is more. I love art, I love my work as an artist and educator, and this experience lead me to love education. I learn that to be a teacher in the arts you have to be open and involved in the needs of each individual and merge with the group, so we all learn at the same time, so all we educate taking initiatives that refresh our values ??and our knowledge in everyday life. I love being here at Nkosi’s Haven in South Africa helping, sharing and learning with all this unique people, and it seems like I was living here for months. Being a good teacher requires enthusiasm, interest, love, consciousness but especially to be a guide to freedom of knowledge for each of our students.

Thank you to each of the Volunteer Artists who made this entire experience a success! We couldn’t have done it without you:

Alejandro Rodriguez, Alison Green, Ali Stroker, Anastacia Valles, Dumisani Khanyi, Dylan Moore, Evan Todd, JR., Ezra Lowrey, Jawan Jackson, Jennifer Newman, Kobi Libii, Mosoeu Ketlele, Rachel Lynn Haas, Riegerdt Deetlefs, Roelf Daling*, Stompie Selibe, Thembile Tshuma, Víctor Colón, and Yazmany Arboleda.

Volunteer in India

Engage in the transforming power of the arts!

 

ASTEP is currently recruiting musicians, dancers, and visual artists for our three-week arts camp at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, a school and home for economically and socially disadvantaged children outside Bangalore, India. With a team of 5-10 volunteer artists, ASTEP’s arts camp transform the school into a place of creativity, performance and ol’ fashioned silliness for the 300+ students at who live there.

Application deadline: July 17, 2015
Dates: September 6 – 23, 2015

Email Lizzy Rainer at lizzy@asteponline.org to learn more!

+ Want to find out more about our partnership with Shanti Bhavan?

+ Check out photos from our most recent camp in May!

 

There should be no dividing line between artistic excellence and social consciousness.

For 59 young artists interested in combing their artistic practice with their pursuit of a better world, ASTEP presented our 2nd annual Artist as Citizen Conference from June 7 – 12, 2015 at The Juilliard School.

At ASTEP, we work with children. We put artists in classrooms around the world to share their passion with kids.

In a larger sense, we’re part of an evolving, nationwide conversation on the role of the artist in society. There are articles published on the subject everyday – the landscape of the arts is changing and so are the opportunities available to artists. Meanwhile, the social emotional skills the arts help to develop are increasingly viewed as essential for success in today’s knowledge-based economy.

The Artist as Citizen Conference is an opportunity for ASTEP to help spread this powerful ideal nationwide — and with it, the remarkable culture of service it represents.

It’s been talked about for years. Innumerable blogs have discussed it. The New York Times recently chimed in. There is a movement afoot. A return to meaning in the arts. A return to impact. As one curator put it, “Marcel Duchamp’s toilet is being returned to the bathroom.”

The Conference is about putting the riches of the first network at the disposal of the second. Its mission is to celebrate, connect, and develop young leaders in the arts by providing them with a transformative artistic and educational experience in the heart of New York City.

Why? Because developing motivated young leaders in communities across America is a way for ASTEP to expand the reach of its mission exponentially.

Which means more kids. Exposed to more art.

Celebrate. Explore. Create!

SB Camp_May 2015_1w
Thank you to our incomparable team of Volunteer Artists who led our May 2015 Art Camp at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project: Kalee Burrows, Gabby Deede, Carolyn Fry, Harrison Fry, Brian Gnojek, JJ Krehbiel, Lauren Morris, Lizzy Rainer, Midori Samson, Aaron Umsted! Working together for three weeks in May, these volunteers helped wind down the academic year by transforming the school into a place of play, creativity, and ol’ fashioned silliness for the 300+ students at Shanti Bhavan, a school and home for children of the lowest caste, located south of Bangalore.

The camp theme: Celebrate, Explore, Create!

The volunteers taught classes in the visual arts, music, dance and theatre with concentrations in areas such as musical theatre and even comic-book creation class! In addition to the classes, there was a focus on “camp-fun activities” such as scavenger hunts, water balloon fights, and even roasting s’mores, a first for the kids!

Beyond simply teaching artistic skills, the focus of ASTEP’s Art Camps provide the children with a safe space to develop important life skills such as creative problem solving, self-confidence, leadership, and collaboration — skills that will help them on and off the stage. Plus, a chance for a child to truly be carefree and play will do so much for their overall health and wellbeing.

The art camp culminated with Shanti Bhavan’s graduation ceremony where the students showcased their artwork and special performances for the community of staff, family, friends and supporters!

Last minute recruiting: 1 dancer for the Refugee Youth Summer Academy!

RYSA 2014_Week 2_11w

Do you want to have a life changing experience this summer?

ASTEP is currently recruiting one dancer to join our Volunteer Team to teach at the 6-week Refugee Youth Summer Academy in NYC, presented in collaboration by ASTEP and the International Rescue Committee. Volunteer Teaching Artists will work collaboratively to create and implement a unique curriculum that uses the arts to build English language proficiency and social emotional skills.

  • Volunteers need to be comfortable working with English Language Learners.
  • Volunteers are on-site two days a week, 3 hours a week, from 12PM-3:30PM for 6 weeks.
  • Training takes place June 30 – July 2
  • The program runs from July 6 – August 20

Email Abby Gerdts at abby@asteponline.org to learn more!

+ Want to find out more about our partnership with The IRC?

+ Check out our blog from RYSA 2014!








ASTEP art institute with Teach for India

Flying Ebola Brothers_Nick

When ASTEP was asked to implement an arts institute for 35 students in Pune, India through Teach for India, we jumped at the opportunity! These inspiring students have no arts training and were selected from among hundreds of extremely low-income children to participate in four weeks of arts immersion.

ASTEP Volunteer Artist Nick Dalton joined ASTEP Founder/Executive Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell in leading music, dance and drama classes that taught artistic skills and highlighted important social issues such as health and HIV/AIDS awareness.

In addition, ASTEP conducted a series of workshops for Teach for India teachers in training, focusing on how to incorporate the arts into their curriculum. The arts not only have the power to engage children but excite them about learning — the teachers were thrilled to gain tangible tools to bolster their classroom teaching.

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TFI Staffw

                 TFI_MMC music classw

+ Nick Dalton with Teach for India staff and Mary-Mitchell Campbell leading a music class for the Teach For India students. +




Backstage for Christmas with Broadway’s best!

The holiday season is in full swing, thanks to all who participated in our annual holiday benefit, which was a huge success!

The lineup featured — Tituss Burgess (Jersey Boys, The Little Mermaid, Guys and Dolls), Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, American Idiot, Everyday Rapture), Derek Klena (Carrie, Dogfight, “American Idol” Hollywood Week Finalist), Andrew Lippa (Wild Party, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, The Addams Family), Lindsay Mendez (Godspell, Everyday Rapture, Grease), Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party), Seth Numrich (War Horse, Golden Boy, The Merchant of Venice), and Ali Stroker (“Glee Project”), with Olivia Hardy — performing our favorite holiday songs and several special pieces. Accompanying pianist Mary-Mitchell Campbell, ASTEP’s Founder and Executive Director, was Damien Bassman on drums/percussion.

ASTEP would also like to thank Havana Central Restaurant and Bar for donating food for our guests!

Check out Playbill’s coverage of the event!

                               

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