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Purple Dreams Gives Voice to the Arts Empowers Mission

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"An Extraordinary Arts Education Success Story"

In 2012, filmmakers Joanne Hock and Robin Grey started following a promising story with no expectation of where it would lead them. Without funding or a clear vision of what shape the story would take, they dove in. As filmmakers, their instinct told them that this story would be special, but they had no idea what a powerful tale of triumph and model for advocacy they had on their hands.


Grey and Hock believe that the arts create transformative experiences. The filmmakers have a history of volunteering and activism in their lives, but they kept feeling a void when it came to making lasting change where it counts the most – impacting youth at the beginning of their lives to unravel the cycle of poverty. Arts Empowers believes that an arts education has the power to transform youth, especially those students in at-risk communities. Finding a true story that demonstrated the influential and emotional impact of an arts program, gave the filmmakers a gift of advocacy and a vehicle for change.


The students in PURPLE DREAMS proved that the arts are an invaluable tool to engage and inspire despite demographics or socioeconomic status. As filmmakers, they were hooked and as humans, they were touched. These students had remarkable poise, talent and drive. They would walk a mile to the city bus and take two transfers to get to school if they couldn’t find a ride. They would go “home” to their family who slept in their aunt’s garage or a motel room shared with four other people. They would help care for their siblings when parents had to work multiple shifts. They would struggle with loved ones being incarcerated or murdered in drug and gang-related crimes. Despite this, they would show up to rehearsal each day, on time, ready to work.

The filmmakers knew they couldn’t stop at capturing these inspiring stories. They had to raise awareness by sharing them and working to implement meaningful arts programs across the country, specifically in underserved communities and schools.


After filming, Arts Empowers began an impact campaign starting with film festivals and adding education conferences, strategic outreach and audience engagement.  With 23 awards and honors, PURPLE DREAMS is working its magic.


But our work doesn’t end there.


Arts Empowers needs your help to initiate national conversations around the merits of arts education, advocating for significant funding and meaningful arts curriculum in all schools. With your help, Arts Empowers will continue outreach and education campaigns by sharing PURPLE DREAMS across the nation, igniting this important conversation about arts in schools. Arts Empowers will open up the conversation, screening at more campuses and community organizations with talkbacks, private screenings with targeted guest lists, and local and national government organizations. Help us advocate and educate by donating today.



Founder, CEO

Producer, Entertainment Lawyer



Music Executive, Producer


Printer, Graphic Designer


Board Member

NWSA School of the Arts



Cinematographer, Writer
  • Natalie Allen Frazier, Arts Advocate

      Chairman, The Arts Empowerment Project

  • Kate Baumwell, Photographer, School Director

      Rosemont School, Kate Baumwell Photography


  • Julie Cohen TheoboldExecutive Director

       Educational Theatre Association

  •  Blair Baumwell, Sr. Vice President

       Hunter Public Relations

  • Elizabeth Shephard, Curator, Festival Director

      Children's Film Festival Seattle & Northwest Film Forum

  • Albert Blackstone, Choreographer

      Choreographer, "So You Think You Can Dance"

  • Jordan Medley, Dancer, Arts Administration

      Wake Forest University

  • Corey Mitchell, Theater Director, Teacher

       North West School of the Arts, TONY award

  • Jillian Mehler, Music Therapist, Owner

      Whole Steps Creative Arts Center​​​​​​

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