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.

Catherine Hancock, ASTEP volunteer, using music to promote social change

Hello ASTEP Family!

As an active ASTEP volunteer artist for a number of years, I’m writing to let you know about an exciting group that I am involved with called the Moirae Ensemble.

The Moirae Ensemble is a Chamber Music group that flutist Fiona Kelly, harpist, Caroline Cole and I founded while pursuing our Masters of Music at The Juilliard School.  The three of us discovered that we had similar ideals and beliefs in what we wanted to accomplish through our musical careers and as active members in our community.  Not only are we dedicated chamber musicians, we are also women who deeply care about supporting fellow women worldwide. We decided to start an ensemble that would embrace these two concepts by forming the Moirae Ensemble.

I was introduced to the International Rescue Committee through ASTEP and have worked with their domestic office in NYC for almost a year as an art teacher at PS199, and have been inspired by this amazing organization since I started my work with them and wanted to collaborate with the IRC on this project.  We are currently scheduling a concert series for the 2012/2013 season that will raise awareness for women’s issues and funds for the International Rescue Committee’s domestic office in NYC, with the long term goal of creating a fund for women refugees in NYC to receive counseling. In addition, we have commissioned several new works for this project including a donation from world renowned composer, Libby Larsen.  Please keep an eye out for our upcoming concerts and feel free to visit our website at

— Catherine Hancock | ASTEP Volunteer Artist