Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) is Back

And we’re excited to meet you.

ASTEP is a nonprofit organization conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and a group of Juilliard students in order 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.

Last year, we got to meet hundreds of extraordinary artists at KCACTF. Some of them, like actor Michael Pfeiffer, we’re so jazzed by what they learned they went on to volunteer for us as soon as their semester ended. Here’s what Michael said about his experience working at the ASTEP site in Homestead, Florida this summer:

“Volunteering with ASTEP last summer truly was life changing for me.  ASTEP prepares you to ‘learn as much as you have to give,’ and I feel as though I learned a lot more than what I gave to the youth we worked with. I would recommend any passionate artist, no matter what your discipline, take the time to experience what ASTEP has to offer. It sincerely is one of the most challenging and gratifying experiences of a lifetime.”

– Michael Pfeiffer

This year, ASTEP will send a representative to every KCACTF Regional Festival in order to spread awareness of what we do, lead workshops — including a brand new one centered on our unique approach to the Devising process — and to interview as many interested artists as possible for potential volunteer opportunities.Currently our artist-volunteers serve in New York City, South Florida, India, and Ecuador.

Also, The Kennedy Center and ASTEP are partnering once again to award two (2) scholarships at the National Festival for students to participate, fully-funded, in one of our five programs around the globe. Here’s what last year’s scholarship recipient, Louisa Hill, had to say about her time with us in Ecuador:

“Greetings from Quito! I’m writing to extend an enormous thank you…for the grant to work with Artists Striving to End Poverty. I arrived in Quito about a week and a half ago to work with Creo Arte, an organization that seeks to inspire and empower kids through artistic expression. I’ve been honored to be a witness to the important work Creo Arte is doing and to make global connections with so many others who see the importance of art education. I hope that this is the start of many other collaborations with them and with ASTEP.

Thank you for recognizing the important work that ASTEP is doing and for offering me the chance to join them. I’m immensely grateful for this opportunity.”

– Louisa Hill

Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting recipient and the inaugural ASTEP Fellow



1)   Check us out online.

Go to and learn about the various communities we serve.

2)   Say hello. introduce yourself and set up a time to meet one of our representatives during your Regional Festival. This is the most direct way to ensure you’re considered for one of our scholarships.

3) Apply

If you already know that you are interested, why wait? Go ahead and apply! Just click on this link, fill out the form and email it to :

4) Find us at the Regional Festival

Come to our workshops; find us at mealtime, or just plain come up to one of us. Whether you are a student or a faculty member, you are more than welcome! If you’re passionate about social justice or if you think Art really can change the world, we want to know who you are.

On behalf of Artists Striving to End Poverty, we look forward to meeting you.

See you at the Festival!

– The ASTEP Team