Welcoming ASAP’s New Executive Director – Armed Services Arts Partnership – Medium
From Brian Jenkins, our new Executive Director
The first time I went to an Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) event — an open mic in 2017 — I knew this community was exceptional.
Veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers of all backgrounds and identities have come together to experience the richness of the arts and contribute to something bigger than themselves.
Through improv, I’ve seen April Goodwin show the strength of sharing laughter even while we face great challenges. Through stand-up comedy, I’ve seen Adam Keys show that disability does not define who we are. Through storytelling, I’ve seen Anne Barlieb show the purpose and hope that comes from sharing our experiences.
Our community is remarkable, and I am deeply grateful to serve as ASAP’s next Executive Director.
To date, more than 800 veterans, service members, military family members, and caregivers have participated in approximately 225 ASAP classes and workshops. Our participants have delivered over 150 shows to approximately 17,000 audience members — including performances at The White House and for President Jimmy Carter — and our alumni have continued their craft to perform for more than 100,000 people.
Even more meaningful are the findings of our impact research, which demonstrate ASAP programs improve participants’ well-being, resilience, self-esteem, and social support. Our study is the most rigorous on community arts programs for veterans ever developed, and it shows that our community has had a real, tangible impact on people’s lives.
Where we are today — and where we’re going — would not be possible without our founder, Sam Pressler. His diligence, character, and vision have been a driving force to create this community over the last five years.
And we’re just getting started.
In the coming months, we will deepen our commitment to Hampton Roads and the Washington, D.C. metro area. We’ll maintain the excellence of our classes and workshops, provide continued opportunities for our alumni to share their talents through performance, and expand the variety of arts disciplines we offer. Our new space in the D.C. area will improve our capacity to host additional programs. The ASAP team will grow, too, providing more support for our thriving communities in both Hampton Roads and D.C.
Still, demand for our programs is national in scope. There are more than 30 million veterans, service members, military family members, and caregivers in the U.S., and our programs are distinctive for providing sustained, meaningful community arts opportunities. Together, we are poised to make a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands more people across our country.
Now, it’s time to take the baton and run the next leg.