Reflections From Our Leadership

In addition to the resilience demonstrated by the students, their families, and our teaching artists, it was inspiring to watch the ArtsConnection’s extended community rally in support of arts education in 2021. This organization is a public-private partnership, whose programming is made possible in part by the generous donations from individuals, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and other local, state and federal government partners. A well-rounded curriculum includes a dynamic arts education, and, thanks to our patrons, ArtsConnection made this a reality for thousands of public-school students in NYC over the past year.

Debra Peltz, Chair, Board of Directors

As we navigated the uncertainty of the last school year, we understood that most, if not all, of our work with young people would need to happen virtually. More than ever, we prioritized healing-centered learning, which focuses on uplifting students’ voices. I’m so proud of how our committed staff and artists adapted their lessons, finding creative ways to support educators and keep young people excited and engaged. A year of remote learning did not mean less learning; in fact, it made visible just how hungry young people are to develop their skills and express themselves. Students’ commitment to their education in 2021 reassured us not only of the importance of ArtsConnection’s work, but also how much young people in New York City value it themselves.

Rachel Watts, Executive Director

Our Board of Directors

Debra Peltz, Chair
Linda LeRoy Janklow, Founding Chair
Lisa Plepler, Chair Emeritus
Robert A. Pruzan, Vice Chair
Robert W. Downes, Treasurer
Theodore S. Berger, Secretary

Patricia Morris Carey, Ph.D.
Ada Ciniglio
Emily Ford
Jawad Haider
Lynne S. Katzmann
Josephine Magliocco
David Monn
Nduka Nwankwo

Iris Lior Posternack
Tibisay Salerno
Douglas Schoen
Amy Sung
Chad Tredway
Stephanie Wagner
Louise Hartwell White
Hon. Gonzalo Casals, Ex-Officio

Richard H. Levy, Founding Executive Director
Steven Tennen, Executive Director
Rachel Watts, Executive Director

Exploring New Artistic Pathways

As the COVID-19 pandemic entered its second year, student safety remained the priority. Virtual learning helped foster a sense of digital community while still keeping students healthy. It also presented students with the opportunity to embrace a rapidly digitizing world, exploring how art can be both created and shared in 2021. Whether it was elementary school students creating GIFs or high schoolers presenting their art through virtual exhibitions, ArtsConnection students used technology to tread both community and individual expression. These are just a few examples of how students used their voices.

Elementary students created their own GIFs (Graphical Interchange Format), moveable images that proliferate social media that are arguably the most popular form of digital art. 5th graders selected subjects near to their hearts, such as nature and dragons.

Homemade puppets were a particularly accessible and effective way for students to express themselves remotely, utilizing a mixture of at-home and provided materials.

Students also tried their hands at stop-motion videos, crafting their own characters, plots and settings. This exercise in storytelling resulted in a wide variety of student perspectives and aesthetics, including entertaining narratives about colors and animals.

High schoolers reached deep into their creative toolbox with Arts-Making TRaC, where they collaborated on audiovisual works exploring “changing systems.” Pictured here is a still from “Poisoned Prisons,” which saw the students utilize illustration, poetry and animation to investigate self-selected themes of inequality, policing and opportunity in America.

“I was wrongfully mistaken for a crime I did not commit,
But yet I was still taken to where I needed to admit.
I wanted to get extra payment,
But got tricked by an uncover agent.
Having shown my resentment,
Still no one believed I was innocent.”

The fourteen-week program culminated in a 3D virtual gallery presentation broadcast via Zoom, exemplifying how technology can support the collaborative process and help young artists communicate their ideas.

After a historic year of civil protest, it should come as no surprise that social justice was at the forefront of students’ minds. Our Teens Curate Teens (TCT) program sees high schoolers curate, produce and mount an exhibition of their classmates’ artwork. Each year, teens select the theme. During the 2021 school year, it was Black Lives Matter. The student work was urgent and provocative, providing young people with the avenue to reflect on the social issues of our time.

Our organization believes in facilitating liberated learning environments, in which the students are presented with the intellectual room to explore their own interests. New York City’s youth have a lot to say, ArtsConnection strives to provide space, in and out of the classroom, for their voices to be heard and amplified.

This year also marked the launch of two exciting new digital platforms...

GIVE, in collaboration with colleague organizations, a free online resource created by teaching artists for teaching artists in support of vibrant arts experiences for classroom settings where students with disabilities and general education students learn together.

Culture Connected is a new program which links local families and students to New York City’s performance and exhibition venues. This program seeks to erode the social and financial barriers to art access for the most historically disenfranchised New Yorkers.

2021 In Review

School Partnerships

Thank you to our partners in education. We are grateful for your collaboration.

PS 18
PS 32
PS 38
PS 69
PS 95
IS 96
PS 130
PS 132
PS 147
PS 150
PS 199
PS/IS 226
IS 228
PS 230
PS 261
MS 266
MS 352
PS 889
MS 915
The Benjamin Franklin Health & Science Academy
Boerum Hill School for International Studies
Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School
Brooklyn Environmental Exploration Schools
Brooklyn South BFSC (HS D17-22)
International High School at Prospect Heights
Middle School of Philosophy & Art

PS 6
PS 14
P 17
PS 49
P168 @ PS 20
P168 @ PS 842
PS 204 Morris Heights
PS 382
Academy for Independent Learning and Leadership
Academy of Public Relations
Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy
Bronx Aerospace High School
Bronx Lab School
The Bronx School for Continuous Learners
Fairmont Neighborhood School
Frederick Douglass Academy V. Middle School
Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies High School
Mott Hall III
School of Performing Arts
South Bronx Academy for Applied Media
PS 33
PS 59
P94 @ PS 188
PS 124
PS 149
PS 188
Central Park East II
The High School of Fashion Industries
Manhattan International High School
Satellite Academy High School
Sisulu-Walker Charter School of Harlem
IS 5
PS 20
PS 49
PS 50
PS 51
PS 62
PS 63
PS 68
IS 77
PS 89
IS 185
PS 207
PS/IS 208
PS 212
PS 229
The 30th Avenue School
Bayside High School
Community Voices Middle School
Pan American International High School
The Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology
Queens Explorers Elementary School
Queens United Middle School
Village Academy
PS 6
PS 16
PS 19
PS 68
IS 72
P 373 @ IS 61
Port Richmond School for Visionary Learning

Fiscal Year 2020: Revenue and Expense Breakdown

Hover cursor over financial charts to reveal details.

Financials represent fiscal year 2021, spanning September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021


  • NYC Department of Education: $1,110,414
  • Federal: $456,151
  • City, State: $611,750
  • Foundation, Corporate: $771,376
  • Individuals: $346,904
  • Special Events: $545,606


  • Program Services: $3,009,081
  • Support Services: $799,376


  • Total Revenue: $3,842,266
  • Total Expenses: $3,808,456
  • Surplus: $33,810

In the spring of 2021, ArtsConnection secured and expended a $666,864 loan through the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. At the close of the fiscal year, the loan remains reflected as outstanding debt as the organization prepares the application to await lender approval that the conditions for loan foregiveness have been met.

Thank You!

Many thanks to all of our generous supporters. Due to space limitations, we cannot list all donor names here, but all of your contributions are deeply appreciated. (Donor List September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021)

Centerview Partners LLC
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
New York City Department of Youth and Community Development
New York Community Trust
The Pinkerton Foundation
Tracey and Robert Pruzan
U.S. Department of Education
Altman Foundation
The Blavatnik Family Foundation
Robert W. Downes/Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation
Linda and Mort Janklow
The Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation
Colette and Jawad Haider
Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation
David Monn, LLC
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
New York State Council on the Arts
Lisa and Richard Plepler
Giovanna Randall
Douglas E. Schoen
Donna and Marvin Schwartz
Soroban Capital Partners LP
Stephanie and Harry Wagner
Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation
Susan and Jonathan Bram
Patricia and Robert Carey
Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund
Dinyar and Aashish Devitre
Eagletree Capital, LP
The Hyde and Watson Foundation
Joy of Giving Something, Inc.
JPMorgan Chase
Robert S. Kaplan
Lynne S. Katzmann and
Edward Goodell
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Warren G. Lichtenstein
Edward and Sandra Meyer Foundation, Inc.
Debra Peltz
Dara Perlbinder and Richard Rubin
Iris and Gary Posternack
Tibisay Salerno and Charlie Lehuray-Jones
Susan and Stephen Scherr
Amy Sung and Jeff Buick
Zelnick/Belzberg Charitable Trust
Anonymous Donor #8
Paul Chan and Don Toumey
Citizens Committee for New York City
Wendy Fisher
Susan and Richard A. Friedman
Myrna and Freddie Gershon
Kleeman Family Fund
Margaret and Daniel Loeb
Josephine Magliocco/Empire Merchants
Michael Pruzan
Susan and David Rockefeller
Jonathan Schiller
Tracy and Eric Semler
Karen and Sam Seymour
Alexandra Sheldon
Sony USA Foundation Inc.
Louise Hartwell White
Benjamin and Susan Winter
The Barber Family Foundation
Frances Beatty and Allen Adler
Mara Burros-Sandler Foundation
Colleen Crowley and Jack M. Martin
Lisa and Sandy Ehrenkranz
Adam Flatto
Bari and Neil Goldmacher
The Jane Henson Foundation
The Isabel Foundation
Leonard and Judy Lauder Fund
Jane Lauder
Susan and Martin Lipton
John and Judy Mead Charitable Giving Fund
Danny and Audrey Meyer/Rotonda Foundation
Joseph and Amy Perella
Debra Perelman and Gideon Gil
Rob Schlein and Emily Kroenlein
Jane and James Stern
Cecilia T. Absher and David A. Katz
The Alpert Family Foundation
Erica and Scott Belsky
Sandi and Harvey Benenson
Jill and Darius Bikoff
Jane Borg and Barry Blattman
J Christopher Burch
Ellen and Andrew Celli
Samantha Rudin Earls and David Earls
Pamela Fiori/Snowflake Fund
Laura Franco and David Kostin
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
Erica and Joshua Friedman
Lee and Sergio J. Galvis
Gladstone Place Partners
Arne and Milly Glimcher
Kathryn and Alan Greenberg
Donna and John Hardiman
Mr. and Mrs. David Harounian
Alan and Kim Hartman
Michael Ippolito
Kirkland & Ellis LLP/David Fox
The Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation
Jennifer and Marc Lipschultz
Elizabeth Libby Manko
Eric Margules
Josie and Kenneth Natori
Nancy and Morris W. Offit
Patricof Family Foundation
Kate and Brad Peck
Nora Ephron & Nicholas Pileggi Foundation
Thomas and Diane Quinlan
Rattner Family Foundation Inc.
Shirley Lord Rosenthal
Daryl and Steven Roth
Lucas Ryan
Jane Safer
Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Warren and Nicole St. John Charitable Trust
Jane and Steven Tennen
Miriam Wheeler
Anita and Byron Wien
Erika Bearman
Mark Benhar
Asya and Ted Berger
Bob Buckholz and Lizanne Fontaine
Chesler-Mallow Family Fund
Ada Ciniglio
Ellie Cullman and Edgar M. Cullman, Jr.
Kathryn and Andrew Davis
P. Alexander Deaderick
Eric Ellenbogen and Dominic Ramos-Ruiz
Bill Fischer and Dee Branciforte
Linda Fishbach
Jonathan and Erin Frankel
John Friedman and Jane Furse Foundation
Rebecca and Laurence Grafstein
Brian and Jennifer Hamilton
Brenda and David Harms
Brett Helsham and Kammy Moalemzadeh
The Richard R. Howe Foundation
Julie and David Israel
Lena Kaplan
Gregory T. Limoncelli
Andrew and Jennifer Marrus
Karen McLaughlin
John Morning
Cristina Muguruza
Brooke and Daniel Neidich
Byron Nimocks and Emilie Murphy
Eric and Beth Riedel
Marie Salerno and Sam Roberts
Nicole Salmasi
Chen-Li Sung
Kimara and Joshua Targoff
Charles Thompson and Jean Mack
Roger Weisberg and Karen Freedman
Susanna Witt and Paul Pospisil
Suzanne Wunderman

In-Kind Donations

Tickets for our High 5 Tickets to the Arts Program provided by 5 arts & cultural partners: Allied Global Marketing, American Symphony Orchestra, Japan Society, Passage Theatre Company and The Shed. A special thank you to David Monn and his team for their in-kind services towards the annual gala. Gala beverage gifts provided by Josephine Magliocco/Empire Merchants.

ArtsConnection is the recipient of public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council through the Cultural After-School Adventures initiative. ArtsConnection also receives discretionary funding from the City Council. Thanks to City Council Members Adrienne E. Adams, Mark Gjonaj, Robert Holden, Peter Koo, Brad Lander, Keith Powers and former City Council Member Andrew Cohen.

A special thank you to the following government organizations for their generous support.

Annual Report Featured Artists and School Partnerships

Leah Alfred, grade 11
Alysia Charles, grade 11
Isabella Diaz, grade 12
Alejandra Fernandez, grade 10
Alyssa Gutierrez, grade 11
Wiktoria Klimczk, grade 11
Chu Yi Lei, grade 12
Dena Lin, grade 10

Bao Lu, grade 12
Osayamen Okungbowa, grade 9
Ariadna Silva, grade 12
Josue Silva, grade 10
Ayesha Siyar, grade 11
Lara Somotoff, grade 12
1st grade students from PS63Q
5th grade students from PS230K

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