Who We Are
ASTEP was conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students 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.
Access to the arts is essential to children’s academic and social success. From improving reading comprehension to advancing creative thinking, from teaching problem solving to fostering collaboration, access to the arts brings about significant improvements in children’s educational and social development.
ASTEP programming is research-based. ASTEP employs nationally accredited standards to train artists and create arts curricula, and closely monitors and evaluates the impacts of each program on the children we serve.
ASTEP collaborates with schools and partner organizations to meet the specific needs of communities. We collaborate with our partners to tailor each program to address the specific risks youth face in their communities, such as substance abuse, gender inequality, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, gang violence, and teen pregnancy.
ASTEP’s artists are the key to our success. The quality of our artists uniquely positions ASTEP among arts organizations. Our volunteers are highly successful Broadway or professional artists and students or faculty from schools such as Juilliard. They become transformative role models in the lives of the youth they serve, delivering arts programming through a variety of artistic mediums, including drama, dance, visual art, music, and creative writing.