The program reaches more than 2,500 K-12 students in South Seattle and South King County each year.

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James Miles

What do you do? I am the executive director of [Seattle-based] Arts Corps, where we revolutionize arts education by igniting the creative power of young people through culturally engaging learning experiences.

How did you get started in that field? I started out as a TV/theater actor, and started teaching arts education classes between acting gigs. I soon turned down acting roles to teach more and more classes to young people all over New York City. That led to running my own very successful program, which led to running Arts Corps.

What’s a typical day like? I walk around in circles all day. Just kidding. I attend many meetings every day with people representing different parts of the organization. When I am not in the office, I am meeting with a supporter or partner, to build collective impact, and increase equity in, and out of, the education system.

What surprises people about what you do? People are surprised that I actually enjoy my work, and that I encourage fun and creativity, in all aspects of my work. Some people are also surprised that I left my life as an actor, to work towards a more equitable future for our young people.

What’s the best part of the job? Young people and the energy they bring to the work. Watching a student perform, reading an essay that they have written, or chatting with them about their perspectives, inspires me to do my job better.

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