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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Arts Services, Children & Youth, Visual Arts, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Starting Artists, Inc. (SA) benefits under-served middle and high school youth through hands-on training in the arts and entrepreneurship. SA’s free after-school classes in media arts and business prepare and inspire teenagers to create arts-based enterprises.

Results: Often the arts reach under-performing students when other disciplines cannot. Students, parents, and school administrators report several outcomes such as increased self-confidence, higher grades and test scores, further engagement in enrichment programs and community service, self-identification as an artist, and demonstrated interest in the arts and business as a career. Through SA, young people who have been traditionally underserved gain access to the cultural capital so vital to class mobility. Of the SA students who submitted work, 75% won top honors in the 2009 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the most prestigious and longest-running student art competition in the US. In addition, in 2009, all of our 8th grade students who applied to LaGuardia High School for the Arts, NYC's most well-known arts-specific high school, were admitted and in 2010, 5 out of 6 visual arts applicants gained admission to the visual arts program there.

Target demographics: The Afterschool Program welcomes students ages 12-19 years old while special events, private classes, and birthday parties are open to all ages.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 250+

Geographic areas served: NYC

Programs: Free Afterschool Program, Vacation Arts Intensives, Birthday Parties, Community Events, Classes on Demand, Street Fairs.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

If you want to establish some direction in your child's life, Starting Artists is the place to begin. Marisa and Lacey are the most talented, respectful, and loving people you could ever want to have as mentors for your children. My son is 12 and he has grown so much in all aspects since he has been attending Starting Artist. The classes they offer are so detailed and full of creativity that my child isn't done with one day before he is itching to return for more. The places they visit and the people they meet are also extremely interesting and what a great way to help your child enjoy the wonderful things this great city has to offer. Your kids have only one chance to be kids. Why not surround them with the best resources, tools, and people so that they could have a life time of memmories as well as develop interests and talents you may not even know they have. I know I don't regret sending my son to Starting Artists and I'm sure you won't either.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Starting Artists is unique in providing teens with with low-cost (or free for those unable to pay) programs that focus on self expression, art, techniques in various media, and careers in art. As someone with an undergraduate degree in fine arts, but no insight into using my education towards a career in the arts, all I could think of was that I wished such an opportunity had been available to me. The students' work is impressive. I especially like being able to shop on line for professional-quality photographs and hand-made crafts at such reasonable prices. I met Marisa Catalina Casey before she opened Starting Artists, and I was impressed with her passion, her conviction, and her optomism for starting such a venture when so many nonprofit organizations are struggling. In addition to showing kids how to make a career in art, she shows them an example in following her dream.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

Starting Artists is an incredible organization that offers a free after-school program in Brooklyn New York. Talking with students I found that the organization has really become an important piece of their life.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

Mari brings so much passion and dedication to the organization. I have been very impressed with the work of the students.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Starting Artists is one of the most creative, enthusiastic, and inspiring communities I've ever joined. Their afterschool program, their birthday parties, vacation intensives, and specialized workshops are stimulating, professional, and immensely enjoyable. Director Marisa Catalina Casey is one of the warmest people I have met to date, and her vision and heart is seen in every project at Starting Artists. The program's influence on Brooklyn's youth has had a much-needed and positive impact in the community since its inception.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught a workshop at Starting Artists and it was extremely organized, well attended, and overall very rewarding. The students there seem to be very involved and enjoy all of the projects placed in front of them. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and as a teacher just for that hour, I was so excited to be making art with them and sharing the process together

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great products, great energy, and you get to help students learn by buying fun, low-cost art that you actually want? It's a win-win as far as I'm concerned. I also love the way students are encouraged to learn how to market their art, and apparantly do so on their own (reasonable) terms.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Starting Artists is the kind of place I wish I had when I was growing up! Coming in on-and-off over the past year, I've had the opportunity to see the evolution of the program as well as the consistency in the core values put forth by its founders. Home to a tight-knit creative community, the dialogue and thinking amongst students and volunteers is mature, honest and inspiring. This supplement to the students' daily curriculum seems to be why they keep coming back.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am running Open Source Gallery in South Slope and got interested in Starting Artists because I like to involve more Teenagers in our program. Marisa was so helpful and all my questions and requests were so welcome. I am now thanks to starting artists proud to have a very nice and very helpful intern and hopefully I can give this particular "starting artist" a jump start or at least an insight into the art world. I went to visit and love their program. I wish I was 12 again! Monika

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The most often comment I hear about Starting Artists from other adults is, "I wish I had a place like this when I was younger." That's why I founded this community-based organization for teens so that 12-19 year old students have the opportunity to be creative and entrepreneurial in a safe and open space. I learn something new each day as I mentor students and teach them the tools of self-sufficiency through the arts. My best days are those when I can tell that a student has made a positive step in his or her life because of SA's programs. Whether it is expressing him or herself through the visual and media arts or being accepted to the school of his or her choice or learning a new skill, the sense of accomplishment and pride each student feels makes all of the hard work worthwhile. The staff, students, parents, volunteers, partners, and supporters have helped to create a tight-knit, creative, and inspiring community and I feel fortunate to be a part of.