What We Do

Learn more about why we’re here

What Is ArtistYear?

ArtistYear believes that the arts—as vehicles for critical-thinking, empathy, self-discipline, and civic engagement—are imperative for a thriving democracy.  Our vision is to develop engaged citizen-artists committed to strengthening the economic and social fabric of our nation. How? By supporting school districts to ensure every underserved student in America has access to arts education via national service.

ArtistYear is dedicated to enhancing school engagement, increasing civic behaviors, and developing student artistry for vulnerable youth populations: economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners, and students of color.

Our Pillars

We are committed to developing Citizen-Artists through three critical actions:

Enable a Citizen-Artist National Service Year

  • ArtistYear is the first national organization dedicated to service through the arts.
  • Recent higher education arts graduates are recruited, trained, and supported to provide arts instruction full-time for Title I schools.
  • These exceptional young artists hold a deep passion for their art form and humanity, and aim to build equity in their local communities through arts education.

Empower Active Youth Citizens through Artistic Expression

  • To ensure quality and relevance, ArtistYear AmeriCorps members use an adaptable curriculum framework that aligns to the National Core Arts Standards and provides the flexibility necessary to genuinely engage each school community’s voice and vision.
  • Within our issue-based arts curriculum, students respond to, explore, create, and share socially, historically- and culturally- responsive content through artistic expression.
  • Classes then apply these 21st century and creative skills as “Citizen-Artists”—individuals who contribute to society through art—via community arts events, shows, and performances.

Encourage Citizen-Artists Nationally

  • By cultivating cross-sector partnerships, value-based leadership, and local-citizen perspectives, ArtistYear aims to build and support a network of Citizen-Artists to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.
  • We aim to launch an interactive online platform, to compile and share a wealth of open-source curricula and resources with artists, educators, parents, leaders, community members, and youth.

Why Art?

Research shows that when children are involved in the arts, they reap substantial social, academic, and personal benefits. For underserved student populations, the positive effects of arts-rich experiences are especially promising, including:

  • Demonstrated improvement in school climate and culture
  • Increased language acquisition and educational outcomes for English Language Learners
  • Improved school engagement (behaviors and attitudes)
  • Increased civic-minded and leadership behaviors
  • Pro-social and non-cognitive skill development
  • Cultivation of 21st-century skills, such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving

Research citations include: Walker, E., Tabone, C. & Weltsek, G. (2011); Stevenson, L., & Deasy, R. J. (2005); Catterall, James S. (2009); Brouillette, L., Childress-Evans, K., Hinga, B. & Farkas, G. (2014); Ingram, D., & Riedel, E., (2003); Heath, Heath, S., & Roach, A. (1999); Goldstein, T. R., & Winner, E. (2012); Catterall, J. S., Dumais, S. A., & Hampden-Thompson, G. (2012); Malin, H. (2012); Stevenson, L. M. (2011); Heath, S. & Wolf, S. (2005); Brouillette, L., & Jennings, L. (2010)

Lead Guitar Concert led by Will Brobston (AY 2018) at the Aspen Music Festival & School!
7th graders paint in art class with Lauren Kelly (AY 2017)
Photography students with Mari Ma (AY 2017) practice their craft at a school event

Why Citizen-Artists?

Throughout human history, the arts have yielded proven personal and public benefit, strengthening citizens and communities (McCarthy, K.F., Ondaatje, E.H., Zakaras, L. & Brooks, A. (2004)). As our nation is becoming more diverse, schools are simultaneously growing more segregated (Government Accountability Office 2016 Report). Artists and the Arts have an important role to play in bridging this divide and sparking dialogue, empathy, and progress. A Citizen-Artist is one who contributes to society through the transformative power of art. We believe that art can empower the active youth citizenship necessary for vibrant, compassionate, and collaborative communities.

Learn more about serving with us!

Why Title I Eligible Schools?

Title I schools are those serving high percentages of children from low-income families. Economically disadvantaged students are far less likely to access quality arts instruction when compared to their more affluent peers (National Center for Education Statistics). Further, this “Arts Education Gap” disproportionately effects students of color and English Language Learners, who are far more likely to attend mid-high to high-poverty public schools (National Endowment for the Arts, NCES and National Equity Atlas).

ArtistYear believes that access to the arts and its many benefits is a fundamental right for every child. We are committed to erasing the art opportunity gap in the U.S..

Dance performance!

Our Impact

We facilitate positive outcomes for students, schools, and communities. Because ArtistYear believes that the arts—as vehicles for critical-thinking, empathy, self­-discipline, social bonds, and civic engagement —are imperative for a thriving democracy, we aim to develop engaged citizen-artists committed to strengthening the fabric of our nation. We measure our impact by examining outcomes for the following:


We are designed to reach underserved student populations to:

  • Improve school engagement and attachment
  • Empower youth identity, community, and civic-engagement
  • Cultivate 21st-century skills (STEAM)
  • Develop youth artistry and skills


We believe that all schools deserve to be “art-rich” to:

  • Increase equity and access for arts
  • Deepen arts learning
  • Enhance school climate and culture
  • Build capacity and buy-in for sustained arts investments

ArtistYear Fellows

Our ArtistYear AmeriCorps Fellows are the change-agents. They develop as:

  • Effective Teaching Artists
  • Productive work-force participants and leaders
  • Engaged Citizen-Artists
  • Active participants in our Democracy