ASTEP supports Teach for India!

Over the course of the past few months, three ASTEP Volunteer Artists dedicated their summer break to supporting Teach for India and the deeply underserved children who attend TFI schools. The main goal was to pair up with TFI Teaching Fellows (teachers in training) and help incorporate the arts into their daily curriculum. For example, using music to teach math and putting on a play to improve reading and collaboration skills.

ASTEP Volunteer Artists also spent time assisting on the production of MAYA the Musical, performed around the country at local Teach for India programs. Hundreds of TFI students perform in the musical, which features an original script and Broadway composed music by ASTEP Volunteer Artists that tells the story of Princess Maya’s whirlwind journey of self-discovery. This musical is the perfect tool that uses the arts to teach important life skills such as communication, confidence and team work.

Thanks to ASTEP Volunteer Artists Sydney Berkowitz, Caitlin Coleman, and Brigid Transon for bringing the transforming power of the arts to India this summer!




ASTEP receives Equity Foundation’s Paul Robeson Award


Equity Foundation’s 2016 Paul Robeson Award
Goes to Artists Striving To End Poverty

 

New York, NY, September 27, 2016–Artists Striving To End Poverty (ASTEP), a nonprofit organization founded by Broadway musical director, conductor, orchestrator and musician Mary-Mitchell Campbell, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors Equity Foundation.

Created in 1971, the award honors individuals or organizations that best exemplify and practice the principles to which Mr. Robeson devoted his life: dedication to the universal brotherhood of all humankind, commitment to the freedom of conscience and of expression, belief in the artist’s responsibility to society, respect for the dignity of the individual and concerns for and service to all humans of any race or nationality. The award was voted on by members of the Actors’ Equity Paul Robeson Committee, chaired by Allyson Tucker Mitchell.

ASTEP joins a distinguished list of previous award winners, including Paul Robeson, Maya Angelou, Alice Childress, Jacques D’Amboise, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte, Athol Fugard, James Earl Jones, Joe Papp, Sidney Poitier and George C. Wolfe.

ASTEP was conceived by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and students at Juilliard, where she was on the faculty from 2003-2009 and continues to conduct workshops, with a mission “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.” Among its many programs, ASTEP runs a six-week summer arts academy for refugees, provides volunteers in a nursing home to work with kids in Washington Heights, focuses on children with HIV and other health challenges, as well as conducting performance workshops in homeless shelters and community centers, all run by a network of dedicated volunteers.

A major fund-raiser is planned for December 12, 2016 as ASTEP’s Annual Christmas Concert will be held at Joe’s Pub in downtown Manhattan.

“We are so incredibly honored to be given this award, and we are grateful to the many artists that have volunteered with us and continue to work toward creating better lives for young people,” says Campbell, who continues to serve as ASTEP’s Executive Director.

When not at ASTEP, Campbell has a busy musical career. Broadway shows for which she has served as Music Director and/or conductor include The Addams Family, Company, Tuck Everlasting, Finding Neverland and My Love Letter to Broadway, Kristin Chenoweth’s upcoming limited engagement concert at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

The Paul Robeson Award will be presented at 2pm on Monday, October 24, 2016 at the Eastern Regional Membership Meeting of Actors’ Equity Association in the Council Room on the 14th Floor of the Equity Building, 165 West 46th Street in New York City.

The Actors Equity Foundation, a philanthropic and humanitarian nonprofit organization, was created in 1962 to aid and assist the members of the acting profession and to promote the theatre arts. It is separate from Actors’ Equity Association and is funded by estate bequests and individual donations.

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“Zazise” in South Africa!

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Since 2011, artsINSIDEOUT has gathered a group of working artists and students who have been personally affected by HIV/AIDS to travel to areas of the globe that have been hit hard by the AIDS epidemic and to connect with young people and mothers who have been similarly impacted. In June 2016, artsINSIDEOUT organized its sixth annual two-week arts intensive at Nkosi’s Haven in South Africa, which offers holistic care and support for mothers living with HIV/AIDS and their children, including orphans.

The theme for camp this year was “Zazise!,” a Zulu expression that means “introduce yourself.” Over 80 kids and 25 mothers took part in a variety of performing and visual art classes led by a team of 18 ASTEP Volunteer Artists that culminated in a show for the entire community at the historic Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The schedule is challenging: two-weeks to create, rehearse, stage and design a show but the final performance was incredible!


Thanks to our stellar team of Volunteer Artists who made this all possible!

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You are rockstars: Romy Achituv, Stella Boonshoft, Victor Colòn, Ali Rose Dachis, Roelf Daling, Ernest Felton, Alison Green, Mosoeu Ketlele, Sibusiso Khambule, Dumisani Khanyi, Ryan Kim, Katy Pfaffl, Victoria Pollack, Shawn Mothupi, Aaron Ricciardi, Dick Scanlan, Stompie Selibe, and Thembile Tshuma

 



ASTEP Arts Camp in India!

 

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Along with providing year-round music lessons, ASTEP started and ended the summer season with a two-week arts camp at Shanti Bhavan, a school and home for disadvantaged children in India.

Held in May and then again in September Shanti Bhavan’s student body of over 200 kids, the aim of the arts camps is to encourage students to collaborate with their peers, strengthen their ommunication skills, problem solve creatively, try new things and gain confidence through visual arts, dance, theatre, and music classes and activities.

Throughout camp, students took part in a variety of activities. For example, in one collaboration class, students experimented with movement exercises that resulted in some amazing visual art!

“ASTEP Camp is the best part of the year. We get to do all sorts of crazy stuff, to do things we don’t get to do throughout the school year. I’m a music student, and I like playing the piano. Through ASTEP I have been able to improve my skills and my way of playing the piano. From camp, I learned to have an open mind, to imagine what I want. I learned from visual arts that nothing is ever right or wrong, don’t let other’s judge what you do. Be confident and do what you feel is right.” – Berkmans, 12th Grade



You can check out all of the photos on Facebook that captured our moments together but here are a few!





Thanks to our incomparable team of Volunteer Artists who made this all possible!

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2016 MAY Arts Camp

Theme: Connect, Create, Celebrate

ASTEP Volunteer Artist Team: Quinn Coughlin, Aimee Cucchiaro, Destiny Garcia, Ryan Hotes, Anna Hulse, Alexis Jenofsky, Michelle Mussett, Jason Shiuan, Jennifer Stafford, Patricia Woolsey and Ashley Monroe (Program Facilitator)



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2016 SEPTEMBER Arts Camp

Theme: “Let’s Grow”

ASTEP Volunteer Artist Team: Olivia Alsip, Jansen Bennett, Jordan Campbell, Allyse Corbin, Kaila Galinat, Marcus Guy, Patrick Heffernan, Joshua Hinck, Kelsey Lake, Marina Micalizzi, Aaron Rossini, Roschelle Spears, and Lizzy Rainer (Program Facilitator)

You are each incredible human beings!




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