Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community

Asheville Writers In The Schools and Community (AWITSC) is a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization that ignites social change through the power of the arts, culture, and restorative self-expression. Founded in 2011 and committed to social justice and racial equity, AWITSC provides youth and adults with opportunities to voice their experiences and their passions, through innovative arts and creative placemaking programs.

We envision a just and equitable community that amplifies, celebrates and publishes the artistic expression, cultural exchange and voices from Black, Latine, Indigenous and all who identify as BIPOC. We work to cultivate this vision through two program initiatives: a teaching artist residency program and Word On The Street/Voz De Les Jóvenes (WOTS/VDLJ).

Our teaching artist residency program provides training, resources, support and placement for artists of color to work with youth and families at both school and community settings. Residencies involving any number of art forms can be developed by the artist or co-designed with stakeholders from the host site, which have ranged from school classrooms to after school and summer programs for youth.

WOTS/VDLJ is a youth program that centers the leadership and creativity of Black and Latine youth, ages 13-19. Through arts-based programming, participants develop healthy relationships with peers and mentors, while working to make a difference in their community using their voices, talents and imaginations. 

As our community strives to become more racially equitable, we can not underestimate the importance of arts and culture. Arts-based programs improve intercultural understanding, promote civic dialogue, and create a common ground for celebrating diversity and pursuing equity. Our work aims to cultivate a local arts and culture ecosystem that can provide youth from marginalized neighborhoods with arts experiences that build skills for career development, support healthy social and emotional development, and strengthen community cohesion.