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. Our program seeks to close the socioeconomic education gap by providing students the necessary education, skills, and confidence in the arts needed to apply to specialized arts high schools and pursue careers in the arts while fostering life skills that will support student learning in other key areas including math, science and language arts.
Reaching for the Arts’ vision is a world where all children will have and reap the benefits of quality arts education regardless of financial status or advantage.
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.
Collaboration: We partner with other organizations and programs to advance arts education. We believe that working together expands our students’ opportunities, and fosters mutual growth through the exchange of ideas and perspectives.
Service: We believe in contributing to the common good, and are passionate about fostering the aspirations of the youth whom we serve.
Diversity: We strive to reflect varied backgrounds throughout our student base and organization.
Integrity: We value the trust of those we serve, and are transparent and ethical in our organization’s operations and practices.
Community: We believe that through strong arts programs, we can bring together the communities we serve and are committed to building strong relationships unique to each community we serve.
Excellence: We aim to provide our students with the highest standards of instruction.
Empowerment: We strive to combat arts inequities due to generations of oppression and discrimination and empower minority communities through the arts in the pursuit of social justice.