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.



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.

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


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

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

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

artsINSIDEOUT 2014


For a fourth year this summer, artsINSIDEOUT spent two weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa serving the children of Nkosi’s Haven, a center that offers holistic care and support for destitute mothers living with HIV/AIDS and their children, including orphans. Through acting, singing, dancing and storytelling techniques, a team of 14 Volunteer Artists inspired the children to unleash their creative energy, empowering them to communicate their own experiences. There was even a special stagecraft workshop where the students built a permanent stage that can be dismantled and stored so we can use it every year!

A huge THANK YOU to each of the Volunteer Artists who dedicated their time and talent to this inspiring experience — Riegerdt Deetlefs, Yazmany Arboleda, Coby Getzug, JoAnn Hunter, Victoria Pollack, Alison Green, Rachel Haas, Roberto Pombo, Víctor Geraldo Rodríguez, Ezra Lowrey, Stompie Selibe, Jeremy Huntington, Timothy Connell and Dick Scanlan.

Offering a safe space to heal.

In response to a recent shooting within the community ASTEP supports in south Florida, ASTEP and our partner, enFAMILIA, facilitated a workshop for the youth in the community to explore the power of destruction and creation and to offer a safe space to heal.

This video follows the students on their journey.

Thanks to Yazmany Arboleda, ASTEP Volunteer Artist, for helping lead the workshop with Mauricio Salgado, ASTEP Director of Domestic Programs!



Who we are: a video snapshot!

A huge thank you to Yazmany Arboleda, an ASTEP volunteer and multimedia artist extraordinaire, for creating this colorful and enthusiastic video highlighting our programs over the years. For some of you, this will be a trip down memory lane since some of the images captured here are from the very beginning of ASTEP! Enjoy!!

ICC students claim victory during the 2012 Slamin’ Olympics!

On April 10 & 12, 2012, ASTEP hosted the 3rd annual ICC Slamin’ Olympics at the Incarnation Children’s Center in Washington Heights, New York City. The Residents triumphed over the Staff this year, although the score was neck and neck throughout the competition!A favorite among the art-based events was “Ready-Set-Slow”, a race (always run with “Chariots of Fire” playing in the background) in which the last competitor to cross the finish line is the winner! But perhaps the most memorable moments came from the “Create A Story” event, where teams have just 10 minutes to create a story with a beginning, middle, and end, but for extra points, they must try to include moments of slow-motion, singing, repetition, and an element of surprise.

Of course, players can always earn extra points for their team by coming up with inventive dance moves during the “Lord of the Dance”, an ongoing event throughout the Olympics and a huge source of entertainment for all spectators. However, the most popular way of gaining the extra points comes from supporting and cheering on the opposing team! Thanks to all who participated and to all of the volunteers who came out for the Olympics! A great time was had by all and we’ll see you next year when the Staff will have their chance at redemption!

A big thanks to Tanesha Ross, an ASTEP volunteer, who coordinated the event and to our volunteer judges: Krystle Armstrong, Michael Liscio, Gabrielle Reid, Anne Markt, Yazmany Arboleda.

One of the final competitions involved creating a piece of art using elements found during a scavenger hunt!