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Impact Story

Working Together Though Art

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At a school in an under-resourced area in Pittsburgh, there was a violent altercation between African and African American students.  Many students, even those not directly involved were affected by the actions of their fellow students.  Through MGR’s Arts in Action, both groups of students worked together to create a spring showcase that included fashion, music and storytelling.  This opportunity gave the two groups of students a chance to work on resolving differences through art, to get know each other and to build relationships.  They now understand and appreciate their unique cultural backgrounds in a more meaningful way.  Sovren, a student who observed the altercation, participates in MGR’s Arts In Action program.  In addition to gaining a better understanding of how two groups with opposing viewpoints can work together and create art, he has learned many other important skills. He says, “I learn lifelong skills like sewing and tailoring. And I get to let my creative juices flow and create my own outfit from scratch. Art or being an artist isn’t always the usual musician, actor or painter. In fact, art is everything we do, through the way we do it.  The MGR program is great!”
Through music, art, drama, dance, and media, youth advocate for social change in their communities.


  • Access to Programming:

    Youth have access to high quality arts education programming in their schools and community.
  • Immediate Impact:

    Youth choose to engage in the civic process as creative leaders and community organizers.
  • Change in Condition:

    Youth consistently use the arts as an empowerment tool to advocate for societal change.
  • Access to Programming:

    MGR is the only youth empowerment organization working with incarcerated youth in Allegheny County including the City of Pittsburgh.
  • Immediate Impact:

    Last summer, over 500 youth learned how to use the arts to advocate for community peace. As a city-wide culminating event, these youth demonstrated what they learned at the annual MGR Youth Peace Rally.
  • Change in Condition:

    Youth in Pittsburgh used the arts as a tool to organize students across the state to end education cuts that were disproportionally hurting students from low income communities.

Examples of Impact

How Have Youth Been Empowered?

  • Youth create a sculpture out of school trash to raise awareness about the school not having a recycling plan followed by youth-driven action steps to put a policy in place.
  • Youth create a dramatic presentation for community members and leaders to demonstrate the effects of gun violence in their community that sparks discussion to make real change.

Sample Initiatives

  • Arts in Action After school
  • Arts in Action Classroom Residencies
  • Arts for Adjudicated Youth
  • Summer Art Activism
  • WillPower — Teen Pregnancy Prevention