Arts Strike (n): A targeted event in which celebrated artists engage educators and students, schools and communities, highlighting and sharing the unique power of the arts to empower, enrich, and educate.

ArtStrikes give artists a chance to put their unique abilities to work in contexts beyond performance. They are a means to take a short period of time and put it to use in a school, healthcare facility, or community center to make a positive intervention in the lives of others. They are opportunities to step off the stage and transcend the boundaries of their art.

ArtStrikes were piloted by Damian Woetzel and Yo-Yo Ma, the idea springing from their joint service on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, specifically with the Committee’s Turnaround Arts Initiative, whose mission is to help narrow the achievement gap in schools through uses of the arts. Both Ma And Woetzel saw an opportunity—and a need—for artists at the tops of their fields to celebrate the essential work that local artists and arts organizations do every day, and to contribute to community building on a local level.

ArtStrikes have taken place in public schools in Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, New York City, and Detroit.