In my family, when hard times hit, we say “aquí no se gana, pero se goza.” It’s a way to make light of the challenges we’re facing. And like so many immigrants who came before us, after we have a little laugh about it, we get to work doing what we can to make things better for ourselves and our community.

The same is true for our team. As professional musicians, we’re no strangers to hard work, and community is everything. So together we weathered the storm that 2020 brought, laughed a little along the way, and kept doing what we’ve set out to do since 2011 — lift up the voices of historically underrepresented youth.

I’m proud to share the results of our work (three big new projects!) and to say that for Art as Mentorship, along with the hardest parts, 2020 was a year of growth. Now, as we find ourselves in an active youth mental health crisis, Art as Mentorship is beginning a second stage fundraising campaign so that we can continue to grow our impact.

I guess what we are saying is we need you. Would you join us in meeting this need for our youth?


All the best,

Enrique Chi

Art as Mentorship



Empowering young artists of all backgrounds, through music, to write their own success stories.


In 2020, we launched RSA Live!, the virtual sister program of our Rebel Song Academy. Operating in tandem with RSA, and spearheaded by Making Movies frontman and Art as Mentorship founder, Enrique Chi, we brought in nationally-reknown mentors to work directly with young artists of all backgrounds, empowering them, through music, to write their own success stories.


  54,000 total livestream views
  300 unique sign-ups
  53 young artists from across the U.S.
  27 weekly RSA Live! events


Through our nine years of work in the community, we learned that songwriting and other artistic expressions instill self-confidence, discipline, and entrepreneurial skills.

Artists like Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, Andy Vargas of Santana, Kevin Morby, and others were ready and willing to share their experience with our young artists. Ultimately, we diversified and increased our award-winning team of mentors from across the music industry.

RSA Live! Serves as an accesible link between students and their creative potential, acting as a pathway to our Rebel Song Academy, a more in-depth exploration of students’ young artistry.


“RSA Live was one of the few things I truly looked forward to in 2020”
Julia Reynolds, AM Student


We’ve partnered with 90.9 The Bridge to co-host our RSA Live! streams and feature them on air monthly! The Bridge archives the streams to be enjoyed for years to come.




Come see for yourself! Join us Tuesdays at 7pm CST on Facebook Live or sign up at!





We are intentional about working with nationally-renowned industry professionals that reflect our young artists’ racial, cultural and gender identities.



Working directly with a diverse group of industry professionals gives our students special access to knowledge held only by those who’ve had success in the music industry.

We care deeply about our students’ physical and mental well-being. Working to make the Art as Mentorship community caring, inclusive and empathetic to all is a top priority of the organization.

  83% of students say AM helped ease stress and anxiety.

 100% said AM has help them feel more confident about their personal creative process.

 100% gained the confidence to publicly showcase their art.

 100% have gained a sense of community through AM.


Help us broaden our artistic horizons!




Equipped with professional tools to help young artists gain real-world skills and synthesize their own path to success.


Most young artists don’t have access to professional resources to develop their songwriting in a studio setting. So in 2020, we got to work building The Lab, a music studio in the InterUrban Arthouse in downtown Overland Park, Kansas. The principles behind The Lab are guided by our C.A.R.E. method for empowering students to synthesize their own path to creative and professional success. The Lab will be equipped with professional tools to help young artists gain real-world skills.

The construction is being guided by Scott McEwen, an experienced studio builder who collaborated with the city of Memphis to build Memphis Magnetic studios. The six-hundred square foot space will serve as a proof of concept to demonstrate what a full Art as Mentorship production studio and media lab could do for young artists.

In 2020, Art as Mentorship raised $27,000 toward The Lab, reaching more than 25% of the goal required to complete it. The Lab is scheduled to be completed April 1, 2021 and will begin to host in-person sessions and demonstrations when it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, we offered young artists use of a virtual recording space, where they wrote and performed 14 songs!

Want to help us get to the finish line?

Have your name or organization engraved on a gold or platinum record hanging in The Lab.

Donate today to help us build a studio for all!


Celebrating the diversity of American music.


The pandemic forced us to find new ways to build community with an audience we could no longer see in person. Our answer? AMERI’KANA, a virtual festival celebrating the diversity of American music and its history. Our students would interact with artists from a wide range of genres and backgrounds, hear their stories, see themselves represented, and collaborate with them too. The vision was set and we began collecting performances and stories from musicians in Memphis, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and New York, but after hearing what they had to say we were compelled to find a way to make the festival live beyond one night.


 80,000 total views
 5,200 LIVE viewers via Facebook
 AMERI’KANA returns virtually 9/25/2021
 We aim for a physical festival in 2022!


Through recorded performances of live music, insightful conversation and music education, AMERI’KANA explores the rich DNA within the American music story. The 2020 festival had a real sense of magic around it, sparking many other ways to leverage the content, which led us to calling it a “living documentary,” as the platform and message began evolving: into television broadcasts, live-stream events, radio programs, youth-centered workshops, and ongoing conversations with world-class professionals in the music industry.

In 2021, AMERI’KANA continues as a special radio hour on 90.9 The Bridge with plans for a virtual festival in the fall, and we are looking for more partners as we prepare for an in-person festival at Crossroads KC in 2022.

Celebrating the diversity of American music and letting the next generation participate in the experience moves us closer toward healing the divisions we see today and building a stronger community for tomorrow.


Leave your mark on American music. Support AMERI’KANA here.






BY the community, FOR the community.


Art as Mentorship prides itself on being built BY the community and FOR the community. Our team members are from the tight-knit music community in KC, and help historically underrepresented people raise their voices within and without our organization. Our staff, advisors and board are changemakers in our community.

Since the first music camp nine years ago, our programs have been FREE of charge for young artists and we aim to keep it that way.

As a nonprofit 501(c)(3), we are entirely funded by individual donors and fellow organizations looking to support our cause. Art as Mentorship has broad support from our community ranging from local businesses/foundations including The Kauffman Foundation, Kemper Foundation, and ArtsKC, to local and national music fans simply looking to do good.





Art as Mentorship takes an innovative approach to exploring young artists’ full potential through creativity, mentorship opportunities, and fostering their inherent sense of exploration and achievement.

Our curriculums guide participants through the entire artistic process, building life and career skills as we collaborate through music writing, recording, producing, and promoting — all consistent with modern industry practices. It’s our vision that these skills will project the next generation forward on their personal path to write their own success story.


We C.A.R.E. Deeply


From the initial creative spark, to sharing their art with the world, young artists need a village of mentors and peers to help them find individual success. Art as Mentorship has designed The C.A.R.E. Method to deconstruct the entire creative process in music to include:

 Creation – Harness the fundamental creative spark.

 Alchemy – Find the right elements to make magic.

 Release – Design an intentional plan to share your creation.

 Experiment – Enter the life-long journey of building authentic audiences.


The C.A.R.E. Method is at the heart of all we do as an organization to empower young people, through music, to write their own success story.


We Make W.A.V.E.S.


We are all mentors and students.

Art is imperfect, progress is perfection.

Vulnerability is powerful and to be celebrated.

Encourage those around you.

Self discovery is a worthwhile journey.


Despite the pandemic, our Rebel Song Academy expanded its production in 2020, offering 27 shows/programs for students from across the country. The evolution of our Rebel Song Academy has been bolstered by our ability to virtually connect students directly with a variety of internationally recognized mentors. Our student body grew to more than 263 individuals with 53 of those being out-of-state students. During 2020, fourteen songs were written, performed and recorded in various studios and through virtual recording tools.




In 2020, we added professional advisors from across various industries to our team.

Ben Yonas is a Grammy Nominated Music Producer, Engineer, Artist Manager and Assistant Professor of Music Business.

Ben empowers others to become leaders through music. He has revolutionized his craft, empowering artists in countless ways, thus earning the nickname “el maravilloso.”

Julián Zugazagoitia is the director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Julián uses the museum to allow others to discover true originals, mankind’s greatest achievements, from ancient to contemporary works of art and to feel the power of community.

Sherri Jacobs is the founder of Heartland Art Therapy and former president of the Kansas Art Therapy Association.

Sherri is devoted to assisting people in the cathartic process of unloading their troubles.
She works with Art as Mentorship to integrate therapeutic principles into our curriculum.

Steve Berlin is a Grammy Award-winning Producer and member of Latin band Los Lobos.

Steve has pursued musical excellence for over 40 years, shaping an important part of the american musical landscape. His work in the Latin-music community has made him a legendary figure and valuable advisor to Art as Mentorship.

Gina Chavez is a Latin Grammy Award-nominated multi-ethnic, Austin native, is a queer, Catholic, internationally-acclaimed Latinx pop artist.

Gina appeared as a guest to one of the most loved RSA Live! Sessions which lit a spark and a desire to collaborate more. She joined the advisory board in January of 2021.

Jeff Zimmerman is a lawyer with over 40 years of experience, serving people and using his powers to be a staunch supporter of the Kansas City arts scene.

Over the last three years Jeff has helped Enrique visualize the structure and create the boundaries around Art as Mentorship. He brought his experience with the Owen/Cox dance group and other local arts organizations to us, which has been an instrumental part of helping us grow.

Help us empower young artists of all backgrounds, through music, to write their own success stories. Consider donating today.