They gave us “remote learning”? We became Zoom-Masters to connect with brilliant artists around the world.
Oh, they’re doing Global News “research”? DA would love to see their search history.
They postponed in-person theater? We produced The Disaster Dreams & did The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues – TWICE.
They won’t listen to Greta? We'll sing her message loud.
They make decisions about other people’s bodies? New York could never.
They're actually making changes in incarceration reform? Oh wait, good job guys!
Did they really come at us with – A global pandemic, insurrection, lies, wealth inequality, taking away reproductive rights, climate disasters, racism, fake news, gender biases, police brutality, and all the phobias? We’ll heal you with art.
"No matter what you throw at us, we will overcome it, no matter what.
Like superheroes, good always beats bad.
And we’re good. Very good.
Scratch that, extremely good.
So no matter what happens, DA will always come out on top"
– Roman Ellery (14)
DONATE to help us crawl out of the dark corners from the pandemic and into the spotlight!
Developing Artists was founded in 1999 with a simple act of protest against youth discrimination. Following Artistic Director Jill DeArmon's numerous years of experience teaching performing arts in NYC public schools and established studios, she was astonished by the lack of freedom and empowerment students were given to create and felt they were censored rather than amplified and trusted. She was threatened to either stay and stick to the status quo or be fired. Jill told her class that she was leaving, because she could not accept ageism. Every student decided to follow her out and the first Developing Artists Ensemble was born. In collaboration with her new ensemble, Jill offered classes where teens could be heard, with support to create original work that tackles important social issues. She committed to empowering students through art by giving them practical tools to express themselves and learn to collaborate.
DA offers rigorous theater education to underserved high school students (aged 13-19) in the New York City metropolitan area. Our goal is to provide young people with professional performing arts training that will equip them with valuable artistic and life skills, and the confidence to take action in their lives.
Core programs are DA’s year-round theatre classes and the REBEL VERSES Festival launched in 2001. Through the years, DA has directly served over 2,400 students and thousands of audience members. DA fostered a community of diverse artist citizens and maintains ongoing connections with our alumni network, some of which return as Teaching Artists. We help DA students get into notable high school and college performing arts programs, and some have gone on to study at prestigious institutions such as Yale School of Drama. One such alumnus, Julian Elijah Martinez, recently made his Broadway debut in NETWORK starring Bryan Cranston and is one of the stars of WU-TANG: AN AMERICAN SAGA on Hulu. Another alumna, Jessica Asch, Program Creator and Lead Clinician at Shine MSD, Inc, became a licensed arts and drama therapist whose work with at-risk youth has included developing and implementing a creative arts therapy program around collective healing in Parkland, Florida.
The last three years also helped solidify the identity of DA: Our ensemble engages with individuals on the frontline of important social issues then utilizing various performing arts, we bring to light these issues to a broader audience as we seek allies along the way to impact positive social change. DA was tapped to perform in numerous events including: We Rise: A Celebration of Resistance at the Delacorte Theatre (Public Forum in Collaboration with Resistance Revival Chorus), New York Women’s Foundations Celebrating Women Breakfast 2019, City Hall rally hosted by New York 4 Culture and Art to protest the proposed 6 millions dollar cut in cultural and arts funding. Developing Artists’ trajectory is leading us to connect and work with many social justice organizations for our future projects.