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About ArtPeace


A R T P E A C E, I N C.

Arts, Recreation & Technology Promotion Education and Creative Expression


ArtPeace, Inc. is a 501(c3) not-for-profit organization founded in Rochester , NY that cultivates positive living and working. We are transforming education and creating social change by developing strengths in underserved youth and adults, through the integration of arts, recreation, technology and entrepreneurship.


We envision a rise of the creative class in the 21st Century – a generation of critical thinkers, innovators and responsible citizens of all ages who are prepared for life and work in a global community.


ArtPeace has seen tremendous growth since we became a not-for-profit organization in 2003. We went from being a “tribe of one”, providing creative arts therapy and producing public art works, to employing 90 youth and professionals in 2005, when we ran our first “young entrepreneurs” program.

Kristin A. Rapp, LMSW, a social worker and therapist with a background in the arts, founded ArtPeace. It was an idea that had bubbled to the surface in 2000 when she was working with kids in foster care and figuring out that the traditional ways of handling problems in young people – counseling, medication and mainstream educational methods - were not as effective as they could be. They needed to be engaged in productive activities that were meaningful to them with caring adults who see their strengths.

ArtPeace was founded based on the premise that everyone is innately creative and that expression is the opposite of depression.

ArtPeace originated having therapeutic underpinnings and that continues to be the foundation of what we do, with the goal of creating healthy, well-adjusted and responsible young adults who elevate into peacemakers and agents of social change. We do this through offering innovative education and youth employment that develops entrepreneurs, leaders and more effective workers. By targeting a person’s strengths, interests and dreams, ArtPeace helps young people see that they have a legacy to build and can craft their lives into something great because “all things are possible…” when they use their gifts and work hard.

In fact, developing an entrepreneurial spirit is essential in a flattening world. In order to be employed and marketable in a global economy, young people will need to be creative and flexible individuals who can think on their feet, even if an opportunity is lost due to downsizing or outsourcing. Arts and technology skills further the rise of the “creative class” (Richard Florida).

In addition, ArtPeace instills the “soft skills” that are needed in life and that employers are looking for. These include the ability to listen, communicate, make decisions, work collaboratively, be responsible to yourself and others, resolve conflicts and solve problems. We also build stepping stones to the “hard skills”, including using up-to-date technology and developing math and science skills, in creative ways. We want to develop individuals who take their civic responsibility seriously, give back to others and work together to make their community better, starting with themselves.

Do what you love and love what you do.
(Life is Good)


At ArtPeace, we don’t shy away from working with some of the most challenged youth, including chemically dependent, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, developmentally disabled and those in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. We like to integrate low and high achieving youth. There are gifted and talented youth all along that spectrum and we realize that creativity is inherent for all. The arts and technology reach out to even the most isolated, nonverbal or troubled youth. We make every effort to wrap supports around our kids and to engage their families, realizing that they need support and opportunity as well.

Young people are immersed in a world of media, but we want them to be critical thinkers about what they are exposed to. We provide opportunities for them to be active creators of art and media and not just a passive audience.

The most effective interventions are those that are engaging, positive and practical. The arts and technology are powerful vehicles in this media-savvy world and the quantitative research, as well as qualitative and anecdotal evidence, backs this up.

Young people who participate in some form of artistic expression for at least 3 hours, 3 days a week for at least one year are:

  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math or science fair
  • 2 times more likely to read for pleasure
  • 2 times more likely to perform community service

When engaged at school, truancy is prevented, performance is improved (grades go up), kids stay in school and are promoted. It is proven that the arts improve concentration, math and science skills, reasoning and discipline. Many national arts-based youth development programs site impressive test scores, advancement to college, leadership skills and elimination of maladaptive behaviors. The arts and technology tap into the myriad of developmental assets (outlined by The Search Institute in Minnesota ), higher order thinking and provides authentic opportunities to apply literacy, including visual and media literacy.

ArtPeace is building a model that develops strategic partnerships with successful businesses and in the corporate sector to train our future workforce. We also work with local colleges, in order to prepare diverse young people for higher education and to further develop their skills. Through the advancement of the products that ArtPeace entrepreneurs develop, we strive to become self-supporting, with consistently building revenue. By creating a workplace that is non-hierarchical, based on the “Sanctuary Model,” where power is shared, communication is open and honest input is valued from all, ArtPeace strives to become a top employer.

I was provided a positive work environment and ArtPeace taught me the skills of entrepreneurship.

ArtPeace has been featured...

  • Channel 10 visited our Summer 2006 ArtPeace Young Entrepreneurs as we were giving away 50 refurbished bikes from Second Life Bikes to our hard-working young entrepreneurs from the summer program.

  • City Newspaper wrote an article in Summer 2006 about ArtPeace Young Entrepreneurs. link

  • Simon School of Business magazine January 2006 in an article about community partnerships. This highlighted the Summer 2005 young entrepreneur program. link

  • Kristin Rapp contributed to a story (2006) for the D&C on the use of “creative interventions” in therapeutic settings.

  • City newspaper, suburban newspapers, D&C, local radio stations and TV stations publicized our Comedy and Art Auction with EstroFestComedy Troupe in November 2005.
  • R-News and Fox News did stories on the ArtPeace Young Entrepreneurs in July and August 2005.

  • In the Rochester Business Journal – December 23, 2005
When I go to college, I can say I learned RESPECT, responsibility and independence.