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.

Apply to the 2015 Artist as Citizen Conference TODAY!

June 7 – June 12, 2015

at

The Juilliard School, NYC

The Artist as Citizen Conference aims to identify and support young, motivated artists with a demonstrated capacity to take on leadership positions within their communities. Applicants must be between 18 and 25 years old to apply.

The artist’s specific skill-set can be in any discipline–we welcome applications from actors, dancers, writers, visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, administrators, educators, and more.

The application is in three parts — “Basic Info”, “Video Statement” and “Original Work” — each described below and all due by April 22, 2015. You should fill out the Basic Info form first, and then send all supplemental materials to apply@artistascitizen.com

You’ll receive an official response from apply@artistascitizen.com regarding your application no later than May 1, 2015.

Check out the Artist as Citizen Conference website for more testimonials and how to apply!

ASTEP + Kennedy Center

Region 4_Group2w

ASTEP is thrilled to partner for a fourth year with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide, to enhance the quality of college theater in the United States. ASTEP will be leading two workshops, “Serving and Leading with ASTEP” and “Owning Your Artistic Identity”, and joining a prestigious panel of judges for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. (Check out our 2013 experience!)

Presenting at the eight regions are ASTEP’s incomparable: Abby Gerdts, Ali Dachis, Aaron Rossini, and Alejandro Rodriguez

Serving and Leading with ASTEP

Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) is a New York City based non-profit that provides artists with opportunities to share their passion with underserved kids, in the US and abroad. ASTEP places volunteer artists all over the world and maintains the Future Leaders Network, a support system for young leaders in the arts, which hosts the annual Artist as Citizen Conference at Juilliard each summer and supports the efforts of ASTEP Chapters around the country. Come talk to an official ASTEP representative to find out more about how ASTEP can help you pursue your dreams of changing the world through art.

 

Owning Your Artistic Identity

What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What could the world use more of? Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) wants to help you locate the perfect intersection between your unique passion and the needs of your community. We’ll veer away from the straight-and-narrow to consider non-traditional career paths, and to help you find what resonates deepest with you in order to use it to shape your life, your art, and the world around you.

 

 

Ali and Alejandro’s tales from KCACTF!

Here at the ASTEP office, we get to hear the stories and inspiration that come out of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) as soon as our team members come home. This year, we thought we’d give you the opportunity to hear some of these thoughts, as well!

ASTEP’s Alejandro Rodriguez and Ali Dachis are thrilled to share a few of their experiences on the road with you!

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Alejandro Rodriguez’s thoughts from KCACTF Region 6:

Region 6 of this year’s Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival returned us to “the Other Side” of Louisiana, and to our fabulous hosts at Centenary College in Shreveport. It was great to see some familiar faces among the Centenary crew — the industrious Joe Signorelli, the riotous Victoria Chavis, the cool-headed Clint White and Centenary faculty member/resident wonder-woman Emily Huegatter. Last year, fired up by ASTEP’s mission and spurred on by our exchanges at the 2013 festival, Emily and her students chose to make their production of Moliere’s The Miser a fundraiser for ASTEP, and sent all their proceeds to us in New York. This year, I got to thank them in person. They were once again impeccable hosts.

ASTEP had another major assist in Region 6 from a young woman I met in Shreveport last year and who a few months later was volunteering with us at the Refugee Youth Summer Academy in Brooklyn, New York, as a KCACTF / ASTEP Scholarship Recipient: Ms. Molly Page. Molly spoke about her experiences in both of our workshops this year, and galvanized her peers with her stories. We can’t thank you enough, Molly. (Region 6 has been a blessing to ASTEP on many fronts — it’s also where we met Ms. Kelcie Miles, who volunteered with us in Homestead last summer and travelled to India shortly thereafter!)

Conversations were initiated with faculty members about exposing their students more directly to ASTEP’s work— with David Blakely from Rogers State University, Pablo Guerra-Monje from University of Arkansas Fort Smith, and David Lee Painter of the University of Idaho, among others— and we met several students excited about the prospect of volunteering in the very near future. Our Time to Make a Change workshop was on Friday afternoon and it got so charged that it actually ended in hugs for some and tears of inspiration for others. The Living Outside the Box workshop was on Saturday and it filled the room with 20+ students eager to talk about what it might mean to live fruitfully as an artist in America today. On top of this, I got to see my dear friends at the University of Oklahoma (Kelcie’s alma mater) in a riveting production of Miss Evers’ Boys by David Feldshuh, a play I hadn’t been familiar with before but that now I won’t forget easily. Throughout the week, we were treated to festivities and comforts of every sort, all with a distinctly Louisiana flavor to them. Ask anyone who knows her, they’ll you Region 6’s chair Joy Pace knows how to throw a party.

I’ve already received several follow-up emails from students I met in Louisiana. I can’t wait to carry forward these important conversations. In a region that, for us, has such beautiful roots, I can’t wait to see which new flowers will bloom.

 

Ali Dachis’s thoughts from KCACTF Regions 4 and 5:

My time at KCACTF could not have been more wonderful and inspiring! I did not know exactly what to expect being with college students, and I was fearful because I thought that those making their transition from teens to twenties would be full of judgment and doubt. Instead, I was met with open arms by everyone at Region 4 (Roanoke, Virginia) and Region 5 (Lincoln, Nebraska). Faculty treated me like one of their own, but it was the students who really blew me away with their eagerness to learn and think about the world as artists in new ways. I was thrilled to share my first workshop Living Outside the Box in Lincoln Nebraska with 22 students and teachers as we talked about how our skills can serve more than just a career. Some really interesting questions arrived: How can we make social change with the talents we have? How can we exist as artists as well as healthy human beings? How can we give back to the world with our art? I left inspired by the exchange of so much positive energy. In Region 4 this particular workshop was smaller, but just as powerful. The students brought their honesty and hearts to the workshop and we explored what it means to be more than just one thing, or what it is to live outside ‘the box.’

The Time to make a Change workshop really delved into what it is to experience change and how we feel before and after a major change in our lives.  In both Regions 4 and 5 I was happily surprised by how openly everyone shared. Both vulnerability and respect were present in a room full of strangers. How lovely, how rare! From there we were able to make plans for how we wanted to change our personal communities for the better. Not only did everyone come up with amazing ideas; I was inspired by the compassion and drive within each and every person in the room. We all left with an eagerness to build a stronger community where we live.

In the midst of all of this, I was able to see some awesome work as a judge for the Irene Ryan competitions, and a respondent for several shows and invited scenes. I also was lucky enough to find some time to take a Pilates workshop, a Yoga workshop, a D’ell Arte workshop, and a Broadway Cares workshop (also full of amazing ideas for change). All in all this exhausting, packed, lovely week left me excited and inspired for the future.

Third year partnering with The Kennedy Center!

ASTEP is thrilled to partner for a third year with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide, to enhance the quality of college theater in the United States.

ASTEP will be leading two workshops, “Time to Make a Change” and “Living Outside the Box”, highlighting creative ways to use the arts to transform lives and communities. In addition, ASTEP will be joining a prestigious panel of judges for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. (Check out our 2013 experience!)

ASTEP’s presenters at each of the eight regions:


Abby Gerdts, ASTEP’s Director of Programs

* Saginaw Valley State University – Region 3 (Jan 7-11)

* Boise State University – Region 7 (Feb 17-21)

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Mauricio Salgado, ASTEP’s Director of Programs

* West Chester University of Pennsylvania – Region 2 (Jan 14-18)

* University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Region 5 (Jan 19-25)

* Hyannis, MA – Region 1 (Jan 28-Feb 1)

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Ali Dachis, ASTEP Volunteer Artist

* Hollins University – Region 4 (Feb 4-8)

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