Newsletter Issue 7


Arts to Grow Newsbrief – Issue #7

October 24, 2007

Dear Friends of Arts to Grow:

As we begin our third year of programming, we’re very excited about several notable “firsts.” Our first summer program was held July-August, and we welcomed our first new board members since our founding.  This fall, we’ll have our first benefit party.  I’m happy to share all this news and more below.

Inaugural Summer Program

We kicked off our new summer program with a theater arts workshop led by teaching artist Rodney Gilbert at the Academy Street Firehouse in Newark, NJ.  The workshop was offered as part of the Academy Street Firehouse’s Summer Youth Employment Program for teens ages 14-18.  Teens met twice weekly for 6 weeks during July-August.

The goal of the class was to prepare teens for employment by introducing them to theater techniques designed to build confidence and creativity.  At the end of the class, teens presented their work to an enthusiastic audience of staff and family members.

This program was funded by a grant from the Essex County (NJ) Local Arts Initiative as a result of a collaborative grant submitted by the Academy Street Fire House and ATG.

Welcome PS 125, Harlem: New Program Partner

This October, we are excited to be working with the Ralph Bunche School (PS 125) in the heart of Harlem. Because the Ralph Bunche School does not currently have a visual arts teacher on staff, our pilot program has been designed to offer students exposure to the visual arts.  Teaching artist Judy Richardson is working with a group of 4-6 graders.  This program will be supported by our Heart to HeART Benefit taking place this month.

Heart to HeART Benefit: Our First Special Event

We are delighted to have Columbia Business School Alumni Club/NY co-sponsor Heart to HeART, an event to support Arts to Grow on Thursday, November 29, 2007.  This event will be held at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, NY and feature a silent auction of original work by Sheila Isham.

We hope you can join us for this wonderful celebration with a tax deductible ticket of $100 to Arts to Grow.  To learn more about this event and to purchase tickets, please click here.

Strategic Plan for Growth

Having just completed two years of programming, it is an excellent time to create a strategic plan for growth and long term success.  We are very fortunate to have Sophie Lechner, the founder of StratEdge, leading this process as a pro-bono project.  Below Sophie talks about our work together in an interview.

Describe the scope of your work with ATG

I am helping steer ATG through a strategic planning process.  Our objective is to create a framework for growth over the next 3-5 years.  The process will be accomplished through a number of phases: from the initial research work, to interviews with various stakeholders, and culminating in a one day workshop with pro-bono staff, board members, program partners, teaching artists, advisory council members and funders.  Following the workshop, final discussions will be held with key stakeholders and ATG’s Board of Directors will approve a final plan.

What is the key deliverable on this project?

The deliverable is a simple, yet well thought out, set of strategic directions that will guide every single decision ATG makes moving forward.  Any individual who works at, or with, ATG will be able to keep those key principles in mind, as a framework to answer any question they encounter, such as “does this school fit ATG’s partnership model?” or “is this revenue opportunity a match for our organization?”

How do you hope your work will provide value to ATG now and in the future?

From an internal perspective, my work will enable ATG to reach its growth objectives while remaining focused, with all players working in a unified direction. Externally, it will provide ATG with strong credibility when seeking both public and private funding.

Can you briefly describe your company, StratEdge, and what led you to found it?

I founded StratEdge because I wanted to be able to do exactly this type of work, and do it for as many organizations as possible, whether non profit or commercial.  My experiences include legal, financial, marketing, and strategic planning in a range of industries, including healthcare, non profit and consumer products.  I am excited to bring all these skills to the table for each client.

What is your biggest accomplishment in the non profit field?

I negotiated the first corporate sponsorships and joint advertising campaigns for a non profit organization with the result of substantially increasing revenue and obtaining significant press coverage reaching 9 million people worldwide.

How did you connect with ATG, and what motivated you to offer your services pro-bono?

I met Mallory King at a Columbia Business School Alumni event and was struck by the fact that she was approaching the creation of her organization in a highly organized, methodical and well thought out fashion.  Those qualities are not so common, whether in non profit or commercial ventures.  I realized that in such a context my contribution would have an exponential impact.  Also, having two kids in elementary school, I can totally relate to the need for arts activities to open up their world, so the idea that I could help make that happen for more kids, albeit indirectly, was very appealing!

Our strategic planning process will be complete by the end of 2007 and we look forward to sharing this with you in the upcoming year.

Welcome New Board Members

We are delighted to welcome two new board members to ATG!

Joseph E. Godfrey III

Joseph joined ATG this summer and is spearheading the Heart to HeART Benefit.  Joseph says about joining ATG, “There is a special place in my heart for providing kids from the inner-city with rich educational opportunities. The arts are an essential part of a complete education and Arts to Grow has tremendous potential to impact kids locally. I want to give back by making is possible for more kids to learn through the arts in ATG’s programs.”

Joseph is a nationally renowned authority on estate, insurance and trust planning; executive compensation; employee benefits and retirement plans.  Joseph is the Managing Director of Advanced Markets for Cowan Financial Group/Mass Mutual, New York City.

Edward J. Rashba

As an ATG board member, Edward is focusing on board development and strategic growth initiatives.  Edward says about joining ATG, “The opportunity to work with ATG to expand the impact of the activities is exciting.  I believe that arts education for children and young adults is not a luxury, but essential for their development and ATG is filling that need.  Recent state and local initiatives have underlined the importance of investing now in arts education and ATG is positioned to become an important partner in delivering high quality art programs.”

Edward’s experience includes building a telecommunications start-up (PAULIN Communications in Vienna, Austria) into a leading voice and data provider in Austria.  He is currently the Director of New Business Ventures at the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).

New and Returning Teaching Artists

This fall, we are pleased to welcome Maeve Hoglund to our roster of Teaching Artists.

Maeve Hoglund, Musical Theater

Maeve is teaching “Making History with Musical Theater” for grades K-1 at PS 75 in Manhattan.  Maeve performs regularly around New York City and has taught and performed through the Outreach Department at the Manhattan School of Music.

We would also like to extend a warm welcome back to our returning teaching artists:

Joyce Griffen, Theater Arts and Dance

Vickie Fremont, African Art

Erica Rebollar, Urban Dance

Judy Richardson, Visual Arts

Patricia Runcie, Theater

We are happy to have Joyce, Erica and Patricia return for another semester at the schools/community centers where they have previously taught.

Click here for more information on current programs and our teaching artists.

Second Annual Teaching Artist Training Workshop

In September, we held our Second Annual Teaching Artist Workshop, led by Sara Lise Raff, Arts to Grow’s Program Coordinator.  This year’s attendees included current, past and prospective teaching artists.  Sara Lise led participants through a motivating session of group activities that explored lesson planning, successful classroom management and working with kids in the after school hours.

Thanks to Sara Lise for making this workshop a success and a special recognition to EmcArts for graciously donating their conference space for a second year.

Fall 2007 Internships

Elizabeth Piercey, Marketing/ Development Intern

As a graduate student at Drexel University’s Graduate Arts Administration Program, Elizabeth joined Arts to Grow in September 2007 as part of her graduate curriculum.  She has been working on several projects including the first common proposal grant, the annual appeal, the Heart to HeART Benefit and website maintenance/ expansion.

Charles Steinberg, Program Intern

Charles began working with ATG in January 2007.  This fall he is participating in our program documentation and evaluation project as a site observer.  He is also photographing ATG classes and creating a slideshow presentation of our work with students.

Please contact ATG at for more information about interning during the winter or spring term.

Thank you for your interest and support.  Our success depends on the involvement of supporters, partners and friends.


Warm Regards,



Photo Credits: Bill Stanton, photos 1, 5

                   Charles Steinberg, photos 2, 3, 4

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