Why the ICAF?

Mission: To serve American children as their national arts organization that fosters their creativity and connects them with their peers worldwide through the universal language of the arts to develop mutual empathy.

Vision: Sustainable prosperity and global peace are possible because creativity can be learned and empathy can be taught.

Theory of Positive Change:

  • Children are creators and the architects of the future, not merely pupils or consumers.
  • They are innately creative but must overcome the well-documented "4th-grade slump" in their creativity.
  • Through the arts children can be empowered not only to stay creative but to enhance their creativity every day.
  • Creativity is "morally neutral" but once infused with empathy it becomes positive and advances human civilization.
  • Empathy can be scafolded through art activities such as collective mural making.
  • Art as a universal language can build teamwork and cooperation -- the building blocks for cooperation and collaborative innovation.


The ICAF brings about positive change through its national and global programs, traveling exhibitions, conferences and events, and the World Children's Festival (WCF).

To cultivate children's creativity, ICAF organizes the Arts Olympiad -- a school arts program that has grown since 1997 to become the world's largest. The Arts Olympiad commences in classrooms with structured lesson plans that introduce students to the "Artist-Athlete Ideal" of the creative mind and healthy body. The self-image as "artist-athlete" solidifies when a child renders it into a personal work of art.

To honor the Arts Olympiad winners, ICAF produces the World Children's Festival which has become the "Olympics" of children's imagination. The world festival is curated as a peak experience that infuses creativity with empathy. ICAF's aim is that children become "creative-empaths" who can work togethetr for sustainable prosperity and lasting peace.

A brief on ICAF (1Mb pdf download) WHAT we do.