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  • Together, we are making a positive impact on young learners

    Our 2022 Annual Report is Here

    Read now

About ArtStarts in Schools

ArtStarts in Schools is a charitable organization that expands the role of art in education to activate learning and nurture creativity in British Columbia's young people.

Since 1996, ArtStarts has collaborated with educators, artists, families and community to promote art as an essential part of learning and life. 

  • Each year, ArtStarts provides over 640,000 unique arts experiences for young people in urban, rural and remote communities across BC.
ArtStarts' key areas of activity include booking school performances, an annual showcase conference for young audience presenters, artist residencies, grants to schools and districts, professional learning opportunities for artists and teachers, gallery exhibitions of young people’s art and free family programming.
From Kindergarten to Grade 12, in public and private schools throughout the province, ArtStarts supports a wide range of arts based experiences that activate learning for young people.
A drawing of a stick figure skipping rocks in a body of water. Under the skipping stone is a series of arrows pointing to the ri

Our Mission

ArtStarts in Schools provides innovative arts programs for young people, practical resources for teachers and artists, and leadership in advocacy for arts in education.
A drawing of a group of seven young people sitting at a table drawn overhead. They are painting round circles on the table

Our Vision

ArtStarts envisions a society where the arts are regarded as an essential part of educating young people and a catalyst for creating innovative, engaged and contributing members of society.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Mission, not just organization: We see ArtStarts as part of a larger web of activity directed towards the common cause of promoting art and creativity in young people’s lives. We work with values-aligned peers to advance our mission, not simply stimulate organizational growth.
  • Everyone is creative: We separate creativity from artistic talent and skill. We believe that everyone is creative and that it must be nurtured in young people as it is an essential skill to thrive in learning and in life.
  • Student agency: We have so much to learn from children—we just need to listen. We need to provide them with space and trust so that they develop confidence in the power of their own agency. Students need choice; a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works for 21st-century learners.
  • Process over product: In a world that over-values product, we create space where process is key. We create and support experiences that focus on how and what we learn through the arts, not only what we make.
  • Consultation and collaboration: We engage with the audiences we serve to gather feedback and input. We commit to incorporating this feedback into the design and delivery of our programs and services to the maximum extent possible. We frequently check our biases and assumptions.
  • Design is key: Recognizing that the arts include aesthetic experiences, we pay attention to the design details of everything we do. From hosting a meeting to submitting a proposal to the way in which we model our space, design is key. By paying attention to design details, we create the conditions for creativity to thrive.
  • Equity and access: We support students who face barriers to accessing art in education. We build capacity for artists who face barriers to the presentation of their work. We support an increasingly diverse range of marginalized artists to work in education so that young people see themselves represented in arts programming at school.
  • Anti-oppression: We are committed not just to anti-oppressive outcomes, but to anti-oppressive processes. We respond to social justice movements in the education system through the arts.
  • Cultural safety: We take cultural safety and cultural appropriation seriously, and work to ensure young people engage with cultural knowledge and stories in context. We explore ways to destabilize and move beyond colonial, Eurocentric ideas about “what is art” and who gets to be an artist.

Anti-Oppression Guidelines

ArtStarts is committed to using its privilege as a well-established organization to address systemic oppression and colonial practices, especially those that we perpetuate. Since early 2018 we have been working towards beingmore intentional about applying anti-oppression frameworks to our core programs and also taking a bird's-eye view of ArtStarts as a whole.

Read Our Commitment

Annual Reports

Between launching gallery exhibitions, disbursing grants to schools, and booking more than 2,000 performances, offering professional development sessions for educators and artists (not to mention all the other stuff we get up to)... a lot can happen in a year! Discover some highlights in our Annual Reports.

Annual Report 2022: PDF
Annual Report 2021: PDF
Annual Report 2020: PDF
Annual Report 2019: PDF
Annual Report 2018: Read Interactive PDF
Annual Report 2017: PDF | Read online
Annual Report 2016: PDF | Read online
Annual Report 2015: PDF | Read online

2020-2024 Strategic Plan

Social justice through the arts is a powerful approach and now an integrated part of our work towards mission impact. This strategic plan is our plan of action to achieve deeper mission impact. Read more


The ArtStarts logo can be downloaded as JPG or EPS.

For questions about logo usage and communications, please contact us at [email protected].
Charitable Number: 89765 8936 RR0001
Registered Societies Number: S-35102