Artist and CEO Matt D’Arrigo first conceived of A Reason To Survive (ARTS) in 1992 while his mother and sister both battled cancer.

Painting and music were Matt’s refuge, giving him “A Reason To Survive,” especially after the passing of his mother. Just as the arts helped Matt through one of the most difficult times of his life, he aspired to provide that same opportunity to other youth facing their own personal crises. In 2001, Matt founded ARTS on his philosophy that the arts can heal and transform lives.

Today, ARTS is a nationally recognized, multidisciplinary Creative Youth Development agency offering informal and professional creative experiences to build hope, confidence, and creative life and career skills among youth facing adversity.

Listen to the story of ARTS in Matt D’Arrigo’s 2013 TEDxSanDiego talk: