The mission of Reaching for the Arts is to bring performing and visual arts distinction to youth in and around New York City by affording them the opportunity to learn, practice, and perform with professional artists in order to showcase their talents citywide and beyond.


Reaching for the Arts believes that every child deserves access to high-quality music and visual arts education, taught by qualified and well-trained professionals. Too often, only children with financial access experience the arts beyond elementary school. Our programs work to close that gap and provide arts support for all children. Through our variety of after-school programs, students will gain the education, skills, and confidence in the arts needed to apply to specialized arts high schools and pursue careers in the arts. Additionally, the arts support learning in other key areas, including math, science and language arts. 


Reaching for the Arts was founded in 2014 by accomplished musician and veteran educator Sharon Daley-Johnson. Sharon watched for years as many students who were gifted in the arts fell behind their peers or gave up their artistic dreams because they had no financial means of getting music lessons or joining a choir, orchestra, band or visual arts program. She felt compelled to organize a change and give talented students a "fighting chance" to compete and excel in the arts. Through a variety of after-school programs aimed mainly at the critical-but-underserved middle school demographic, RFA provides access and opportunities for students to learn, practice and perform with professional artists in order to cultivate and showcase their talents.