“I owe a lot to those people at ArtsConnection who treated me as an adult for maybe the first time.”
— ArtsConnection alum, Thomas Choi, reflecting on the importance of mentors, excerpted from a longer video shown at the Back to School with ArtsConnection benefit gala on September 21, 2022.
Most of us remember that one person, or if we were truly lucky, a group of people, who changed the trajectory of our lives by helping us see the possibilities ahead.
While our teaching artists work with students on specific artistic techniques as well as their self-confidence, teamwork, listening skills, ability to share and receive constructive criticism, physical and spatial awareness, and self-expression — mentorship is at the core of their teaching practice — and honestly, it’s at the core of what drives each and every one of us, from teaching artists to program managers to organization administrators.
This is true of in-school programs as well as after school programs like OnTRaC — a free after school program where teens learn how to prepare themselves for a career in the arts. Seeing the potential in young people is fundamental to developing well-rounded individuals, and whether or not students go on to a career in the creative industries, their experiences with mentors remain deeply impactful in their chosen career paths and how they interact with the various communities in their lives.
Invest in young people today.
Help them navigate their futures tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, we gathered at the Back to School with ArtsConnection benefit to celebrate artists, arts educators, and administrators who have dedicated their lives to bringing arts education to public schools throughout NYC.
Among the honorees, were the Janklow Award recipients, Madonna Sang Lee, Arts Liaison and English as a New Language Teacher, PS382 in the Bronx, and Amparo Chigui Santiago, ArtsConnection Teaching Artist, who both personify the type of commitment to young people that changes lives forever.