Innovating Through Artistry

Innovation in the Arts: ArtPeace Inc.

In Leadership, WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 27, 2009 at 12:41 am

Thank you, MARK LEWIS from Strategic Ideas.Org for passing this along! There are many ways to bring the community together here at ETA. One of the ways you all can participate is by forwarding on websites, articles, blog posts that remind you of the issues that get bounced around here at ETA. Please keep sharing!

july4-2004-046_homeArtPeace, Inc. is a 501(c3) not-for-profit organization founded in Rochester , NY who is devoted to transforming education and creating social change by developing strengths in under served youth and adults, through the integration of arts, recreation, technology and entrepreneurship.

Kristin A. Rapp, LMSW, a social worker and therapist with a background in the arts conceived the idea for the organization based on her beliefs, that are also those of ETA, that we must envision a rise of the creative class in the 21st Century. We must create a generation of critical thinkers, innovators and responsible citizens of all ages who are prepared for life and work in a global community.

ArtPeace has seen tremendous growth since they became a not-for-profit organization in 2003. They went from being a “tribe of one”, providing creative arts therapy and producing public art works, to employing 90 youth and professionals in 2005, when they ran their first “young entrepreneurs” program.

The idea for ArtPeace came to Founder,Kristin A. Rapp, LMSW in 2000 when she was working with kids in foster care and figuring out that the traditional ways of handling problems in young people – counseling, medication and mainstream educational methods – were not as effective as they could be. These kinds of students needed to be engaged in productive activities that were meaningful to them with caring adults who could see their strengths.

ArtPeace was founded based on the premise that everyone is innately creative and that expression is the opposite of depression.

ArtPeace originated having therapeutic underpinnings and it continues to be the foundation of what they do. With their goal being to create healthy, well-adjusted and responsible young adults who elevate into peacemakers and agents of social change, they accomplish this through offering innovative education and youth employment that develops entrepreneurs, leaders and more effective workers.

“By targeting a person’s strengths, interests and dreams, ArtPeace helps young people see that they have a legacy to build and can craft their lives into something great because “all things are possible…” when they use their gifts and work hard.”

In fact, developing an entrepreneurial spirit is essential in a flattening world. In order to be employed and marketable in a global economy, young people will need to be creative and flexible individuals who can think on their feet, even if an opportunity is lost due to downsizing or outsourcing. Arts and technology skills further the rise of the “creative class.”

In addition, ArtPeace instills the “soft skills” that are needed in life and that employers are looking for. These include the ability to listen, communicate, make decisions, work collaboratively, be responsible to yourself and others, resolve conflicts and solve problems. They also build stepping stones to the “hard skills”, including using up-to-date technology and developing math and science skills, in creative ways.

“We want to develop individuals who take their civic responsibility seriously, give back to others and work together to make their community better, starting with themselves”.

Inside The Philosophy of ArtPeace
At ArtPeace, we don’t shy away from working with some of the most challenged youth, including chemically dependent, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, developmentally disabled and those in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. We like to integrate low and high achieving youth. There are gifted and talented youth all along that spectrum and we realize that creativity is inherent for all. The arts and technology reach out to even the most isolated, nonverbal or troubled youth. We make every effort to wrap supports around our kids and to engage their families, realizing that they need support and opportunity as well.

Young people are immersed in a world of media, but we want them to be critical thinkers about what they are exposed to. We provide opportunities for them to be active creators of art and media and not just a passive audience.

The most effective interventions are those that are engaging, positive and practical. The arts and technology are powerful vehicles in this media-savvy world and the quantitative research, as well as qualitative and anecdotal evidence, backs this up.

Young people who participate in some form of artistic expression for at least 3 hours, 3 days a week for at least one year are:

* 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
* 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
* 4 times more likely to participate in a math or science fair
* 2 times more likely to read for pleasure
* 2 times more likely to perform community service

When engaged at school, truancy is prevented, performance is improved (grades go up), kids stay in school and are promoted. It is proven that the arts improve concentration, math and science skills, reasoning and discipline. Many national arts-based youth development programs site impressive test scores, advancement to college, leadership skills and elimination of maladaptive behaviors. The arts and technology tap into the myriad of developmental assets (outlined by The Search Institute in Minnesota ), higher order thinking and provides authentic opportunities to apply literacy, including visual and media literacy.

ArtPeace is building a model that develops strategic partnerships with successful businesses and in the corporate sector to train our future workforce. We also work with local colleges, in order to prepare diverse young people for higher education and to further develop their skills. Through the advancement of the products that ArtPeace entrepreneurs develop, we strive to become self-supporting, with consistently building revenue. By creating a workplace that is non-hierarchical, based on the “Sanctuary Model,” where power is shared, communication is open and honest input is valued from all, ArtPeace strives to become a top employer.

If you are interested in learning more about ArtPeace click here. To email Kristin:

  1. It’s great to see what you’re doing Lisa. The vision is dynamic and innovative. With women becoming increasingly important in the board room and the CEO’s office, it’s time we began exploring ways to maximize the feminine brain in all it’s creative ability from a business perspective. You’re a catalyst in that direction and your work is highly valuable.

    Mark Lewis

  2. Thanks Mark for the warm fuzzy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: