About Us

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Statement Arts is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the creative visual & performing arts to underserved and/or low-income individuals. We channel creativity to educate, to enhance intellectual performance, to empower and guide, and to build self-esteem. Statement Arts is committed to giving our students an intercultural and interdisciplinary arts experience to which they do not have access. Statement Arts believes in the power of art to inspire social, cultural, and environmental education to further a legacy of responsible global citizenship.

It all started when…

Statement Arts was conceived at the High School for Environmental Studies (HSES), an underserved public high school in New York City's Hell's Kitchen in 2003. Inspiration for our current youth programming: The College Prep Program and Empower Youth, stemmed from the success of our work at HSES. In 2010, we left the New York City public school system to help level the academic playing field for disenfranchised kids through the exploration of their artistic talents. We reach young people at the most critical time in their development.  We encourage them to believe in themselves, and are there with the practical resources to help them to achieve their goals.  Our alumni network extends the positive support, offering guidance and encouragement as our students navigate their college years. 

 
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Where Our Students Come From

Where Our Students Have Gone To School


Mission & Vision

Our Vision

to help vulnerable youth create new statements about themselves and what is possible through performing arts

Our Mission

Statement Arts is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the creative visual & performing arts to underserved and/or low-income individuals. We channel creativity to educate, to enhance intellectual performance, to empower and guide, and to build self-esteem. Statement Arts is committed to giving our students an intercultural and interdisciplinary arts experience to which they do not have access. Statement Arts believes in the power of art to inspire social, cultural, and environmental education to further a legacy of responsible global citizenship.


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The Team

LIZA POLITI - Founder & artistic Director

Liza is a producer, photographer, actor and teacher. As a freelance producer, her documentary and narrative full-length feature films have won a prestigious HUGO award, toured the festival circuits, and have been broadcast nationwide on PBS. Liza has produced “Impact On The Gulf,” a multimedia, action-oriented human rights festival that debuted in NYC for the world-renowned Culture Project; and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, her USO-style Gulf Coast tour, “Broadway on the Bayou”received national attention and was featured on MSNBC. For the past 10 years, Liza has worked with National Geographic and their legendary photographers, producing expeditions and photography workshops in more than 45 countries around the world. 

She founded Statement Arts (2003), a New York City based non-profit that brings arts education and mentoring programs to marginalized urban youth. Designed to help them build the self-confidence and resiliency needed to realize their fullest potential, Statement Arts has received grants from Morgan Stanley, The Disney Corporation, The NY Department of Cultural Affairs, The Manhattan Borough President’s Office, The Rudin Foundation and has been featured on MSNBC, ABC News, and Fox 5.

With a strong background in crisis management, Liza spent nine months at Ground Zero as a volunteer rescue and relief worker with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. And in 2000, The Screen Actors Guild presented her with the Joseph P. Reilly Award in recognition for her efforts in resolving a national strike.  Comfortable on both sides of the camera, she is also an award-winning actor and photographer. Liza graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, winning the Lee Strasberg Award for acting in her final year. She spent 15 years working as an actress in New York City and was a spokesperson for Sensodyne, Volvo, Gerber’s, Olive Garden, and has appeared in Martha Stewart Living, O!The Oprah Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Good Housekeeping.

ZAHAIRA CURIEL - project director

A native of Washington Heights Zahaira Curiel is a shining example of what some encouragement and opportunity can do for the people living in this neighborhood. She is a graduate of Hunter College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Music. An extremely talented baker Zahaira created her own baking business Sassy’s Sweets, a company very much her own that focuses on creating fun, delicious and creative desserts. One of Statement Arts first students she knew first hand the benefits the program had to offer children which is why she feels blessed to return to Statement Arts as its project director. She hopes to help inspire students the same way Liza Politi and Georgia DeFalco inspired her. She is the embodiment of how Statement Arts can help change a child’s life and we are fortunate to have her. Zahaira is currently starring in the Off-Broadway show PLATANOS, COLLARD GREENS Y CALLALOO. She is honored and thankful for her wonderful family, friends, and teachers that have continuously supported all her decisions through this journey. Most importantly she is truly thankful to everyone who has helped make this dream into a reality!

DANIELLE HERNANDEZ - design strategist & program coordinator

Danielle Hernandez is a proud multiracial feminist and artist. She is currently an MFA Candidate in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts, a graduate program that makes use of the design process to bring about social change.  Prior to joining the Statement Arts team, Danielle was driven by a desire to address social issues and practiced as a graphic designer and art director in the advertising field. She is particularly passionate about issues faced by women and people of color. As the oldest of seven children, she has always been keenly aware of the need to design collaborative learning environments both with and for young students in order to prevent lost potential. Her BFA in Graphic Design is from Iowa State University. In her free time, she keeps busy by crafting her own unique volunteer experiences and illustrating.  

 
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The Board

LIZA POLITI
Founder, Artistic Director, and Board Treasurer
Statement Arts

ALEXIS TENER PETRUS
Board President
Tener Petrus Associates, PLLC

KEITH PETRUS
Board Vice President
Morgan Stanley

ZAHAIRA CURIEL
Alum, Project Director, and Board Secretary
Statement Arts

MATTHEW DECROSTA
Morgan Stanley

ASHLEY GARRETT
Ashley Garrett Photography

MARCUS RICHARDSON
Director, CUNY Brooklyn College

MINELLY DE COO
Senior Advisor, NYC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Operations