WHAT IS ARTISTS FIRST?
Artists First is a nonprofit organization that provides aspiring artists of all abilities access to quality materials, expansive studio space, respectful guidance, and a friendly, supportive community. At Artists First, individuals are offered a platform to grow through creative self-expression socially, intellectually and emotionally.
Artists First's open studio programs promote arts, community involvement, education and wellbeing for adults with disabilities, youth with and without disabilities and current and former Armed Service members.
Using a creative approach genuine community integration, personal and financial growth of disenfranchised individuals is furthered.
ARTISTS FIRST: In Living Color
Who Does Artists First Serve?
Artists First serves adults with disabilities, children and youth with and without disabilities and Veterans in the greater Saint Louis, Missouri area. Artists First accepts all participants regardless of age, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity. Artists First maintains an inclusive and accepting environment.
What Does Artists First Do?
Artists First is an especially unique and multifaceted community resource that provides economic opportunities, fosters self-sufficiency and promotes cultural and artistic enrichment in the community. Artists First's Open Studio programs promote arts, community involvement, education and well-being for adults with disabilities, youth with and without disabilities, and current and former Armed Service members.
Art facilitators utilize a minimal touch philosophy, meaning facilitators only touch participants' artwork when it is necessitated by the needs of the individual artist. Facilitators are always present to assist artists, though their aim is to encourage artists to create independently in order to promote their own personal growth.
The minimal touch philosophy does not bar facilitators from helping artists when they require more one on one assistance, but it guides the facilitators in assuring that the participants' artwork is created by the artists themselves and not through a collaborative effort with the facilitators. This philosophy also encourages artists to create independently, fostering a greater sense of self-worth and self-confidence.
Artists First's culture is one of inclusion, from program development to program implementation. Artists First intentionally targets disenfranchised individuals and takes steps to ensure participation such as reduced fees and scholarships. All programs are centrally located and take place in accessible buildings. Artists First staff have extensive experience working with disabled populations, individuals with different learning styles and abilities. Artists First staff have all successfully completed in-service training as it pertains to working with people with disabilities.
Artists First accepts all participants regardless of age, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity. Artists First maintains an inclusive and accepting environment.
Values and Principles
Artists First values reflect the behaviors that shape the tone of how we work with each other, participants and with the larger community:
Acceptance, Respect, Trust
ARTISTS FIRST's principles articulate our approach to conducting work every day:
We show respect for all individuals
The interests of organization and the individual are inseparable
We are strategically focused on our work
We value personal mastery
Mutual interdependency is a way of life
Meet our Staff
Meet our Board of Directors
The board of Directors is comprised of community members who volunteer their expertise, knowledge and passion to further the mission of Artists First.
Artists First Agency Partners include: