ArtWell Founder, Executive Director Awarded 2017 Crawford Achievement Prize

Above photo (left to right): Susan Teegen, ArtWell Founder and Executive Director; Pina Templeton, NRF Trustee from PA; and Bob Stuart, President, NRF Board of Trustees. Photo courtesy of the National Recreation Foundation.


In recognition of her service to the youth of Philadelphia, the National Recreation Foundation presented its 2017 Robert W. Crawford Achievement Prize to Susan Teegen on Saturday, November 4 at a ceremony at Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in Baltimore, Maryland. The Crawford Prize includes a $50,000 cash award that will support ArtWell programs.

About Robert W. Crawford
For 60 years, Robert W. Crawford served others through his role as Commissioner of Recreation in Philadelphia and as Executive Director of the National Recreation Foundation. As the Commissioner of Recreation, Crawford established a national model for local government’s provision of recreational services for all citizens. His creativity and innovative ideas won him international recognition. He also played an important role in the development and growth of the National Recreation Foundation during his tenure as Executive Director. Crawford personified those qualities of leadership and commitment that the Foundation seeks to foster, which is why this Prize is named in his honor.

Susan Teegen addresses the National Recreation Foundation Board of Trustees and guests on November 4, 2017. Photo courtesy of the National Recreation Foundation.

About Susan Teegen
From a young age, Susan Teegen felt called to empower youth. From leading listening circles with peers, to working as a group counselor with girls who were adjudicated, as well as with youth living in communities challenged by racism and poverty, she witnessed young people flourish when they felt listened to and were given opportunities to learn, explore and create. At age 23, she was astounded by the power of art while painting her way through the grief and pain of an intense injury, accompanied by a series of losses. These moments of revelation came to fruition when Susan focused her graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary on the intersection of art, healing and transformation. After moving to Philadelphia and completing work in painting and printmaking at the University of the Arts, her experiences coalesced into an idea. In 2000, Susan founded ArtWell.

ArtWell’s mission is to support young people and their communities through arts education and creative reflection to discover strengths, face challenges and awaken dreams. Under Susan’s leadership, over the last 17 years ArtWell partnered with over 400 private, public and charter schools, as well as community and faith-based organizations, to engage more than 35,000 young people in reflective and academically engaging arts programs across Greater Philadelphia. Susan is adept at fostering partnerships with local artists, schools and educators to help young people and communities thrive. ArtWell has received many community accolades, including the Violence Prevention Initiative Community Award from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the George Bartol Arts Education Award from the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, both in 2015, and Community Service Awards from the Council for American Islamic Relations in 2010 and 2016.

ArtWell’s arts education programs utilize art as a tool for deep reflection, enhanced communication and greater academic achievement. ArtWell transforms the lives of young people facing discrimination, poverty, violence and the everyday challenges of growing up. Through collaborations between local artists and young people, ArtWell fosters thriving, just and peaceful communities throughout the Philadelphia area. ArtWell programs are made available to those who need them most, in ways that engage students and their communities, without the burden of expense.

About the Prize
Awarded since 2003, the Prize recognizes a living person who has dedicated him or herself to enhancing recreation opportunities for youth, making it possible for more young Americans to live healthy, participatory lives. Each year, the Prize is awarded to an individual, whether professional or volunteer, who has made an extraordinary contribution in advancing recreation programs for at-risk youth.

The prize consists of a $50,000 cash award. These funds must be dedicated to recreation programming for at-risk youth at the nonprofit selected by the prize winner. The award is presented at the annual meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Former Crawford Prize winners include:

2016: Michael “Spike” Lobdell, Stonington, CT
2015: Khary Lazarre-White, New York, NY
2014: Jackie Joyner Kersee, East St. Louis, MO
2013: Harrison Steans, Chicago, IL
2012: Lieutenant General John B. Conaway, Bethany Beach, DE
2011: Eleanor M. Josaitis, Detroit, MI
2010: Melissa T. Harper, Boston, MA
2009: Robert J. Kohel, Westfield, WI
2008: Sidney Epstein, Chicago, IL
2007: Kent Hutcheson, Denver, CO
2006: Margaret C. Daley, Chicago, IL
2005: Ronnie Lott, Redwood City, CA
2004: Peter A. Witt, College Station, TX
2003: Jane G. Pepper, Philadelphia, PA
2002: David McLone, Chicago, IL

About the National Recreation Foundation
Founded in 1965, the National Recreation Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the role of recreation as a positive force in improving the quality of life of youth. The Foundation invests in recreation programs directed at those who are economically, physically or mentally disadvantaged. Based in Lake Forest, Illinois, the Foundation has awarded over $18 million in grants nationally over the past 10 years. The Foundation celebrated 50 years of grant-making in 2015.

To learn more about National Recreation Foundation, visit: nationalrecreationfoundation.org

About ArtWell
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. ArtWell’s vision is to awaken creativity and spirit in individuals in order to foster thriving, just and peaceful communities. ArtWell adheres to the following core values: imagination, healing, social justice, spirituality, community and love.

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 learn more about ArtWell, visit: theartwell.org