The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.


(Re)Understanding Creativity

Betsaleel “Bets” Charmelus, CEO, ArtistYear

It’s easy for us, as teaching artists, to believe that all humans can access creativity. As the leader of ArtistYear and a practicing teaching artist myself, I understand the inclination. Any notion suggesting otherwise seems to challenge fundamental beliefs about our purpose—if there are people who can’t access creativity, then a place exists where teaching artistry is rendered ineffective. With this line of thinking, however, some nuance in the conversation is lost.


Art Heals: Arts as a basic need in humanitarian settings

Samar Bandak, Global Communications Manager, Community Arts Network

I have worked in the humanitarian sector for almost 15 years, in both Jordan and Lebanon, which have the highest refugees per capita in the world. In that time, I’ve learned thousands of life stories: of people who lost their homes, their possessions, and their established lives; of traumatized children and departed loved ones; of extreme health crises, both mental and physical. Yet, despite the hardships they reveal, these stories have always been more about bravery, strength, resilience, faith, and love.


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