Mission & Values

ArtWell supports young people and their communities through multidisciplinary arts expression, education, and creative reflection to celebrate their strengths, thrive while facing complex challenges, and awaken their dreams.

Since 2000, ArtWell® programs have transformed the lives of more than 35,000 young people facing discrimination, poverty, violence, and the everyday challenges of growing up, in partnership with over 400 schools and community organizations. Through collaborations between local artists and young people, ArtWell fosters thriving, just and peaceful communities throughout the Philadelphia area.

To awaken creativity and spirit in individuals in order to foster thriving, just and peaceful communities.

We envision a future where Philadelphia schools and neighborhoods are safe sanctuaries that nurture creativity and innovation, where arts and creativity are seen as an essential means for learning, leading, and liberation. Youth are equipped to thrive, dream, and lead, and are seen and heard as engaged citizens and creators of change.


We believe the arts are an essential means for discovering our dreams, making sense of our realities, sparking creative thinking and problem solving, and re-imagining what is possible for the future we want to live in.

We facilitate to create a structure and process that invites and nurtures diverse and emergent perspectives, courageous creativity, wonder, collaboration, and bold risk-taking.

We are committed to creative and self-reflective processes as powerful and effective ways to move through loss and trauma, to access safety, connection, and sanctuary, to express ourselves, and to thrive as learners and in life.

We practice trauma-responsive strategies and focus on the process of art-making and sharing to build safety and support connection, reflection, and healing.

Social Justice
We believe access to arts and education is a human right. Knowledge and creation have the power to disrupt injustices and catalyze social change by affirming identities, expressing our truths, and promoting equity, belonging, understanding.

We see ongoing education, conversation, and personal transformation as crucial components to changing oppressive systems and institutions. We invest in our continuous growth and learning, and in intentional partnerships with others who work to affect change and dismantle systems of oppression that impact our young people and their communities. We aim to uplift and support the development of visionary leaders across all ages.

All people and communities are inherently valuable and contain an abundance of spiritual and creative resources within, between, and beyond them. We value the power of inquiry, ritual, and celebration. We appreciate mystery, awe, and beauty as integral to what it means to be human.

We help people connect with their deepest sources of inspiration through art making and reflection. We encourage asking big questions about purpose and meaning. We foster relationships with diverse faith-based and cultural groups, and make room for difference as well as universal experiences.

We know that every community has a deep well of creativity, culture, and strengths, and that we can only overcome the complex challenges of our time through strong partnership, shared visioning, and distributed leadership.

We aim to galvanize the creativity and strength within groups, to listen and support healing, celebration, bridge-building, and creative problem solving with our partners, students, teaching artists, and staff. We hope to create room for all voices and leaders. We strive to create a culture with space for play, joy, collaboration, openness, and reflection.

Love is our bottom line. We are motivated by the reverence, care, and honor we feel for the youth we serve and communities with whom we partner. Our work is anchored in our love and commitment to our city and world.

We cultivate understanding, compassion, interdependence, and joy in all of our relationships.