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: Widespread prosperity and global peace can be attained because creativity can be learned and empathy can be taught.

Theory of Positive Change:

  • Children are creators and architects of the future, not merely pupils and 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 imbued with empathy it become positive and advances human civilization.
  • Empathy can be developed as well through art activities such as collective mural making.
  • As the universal language of children, art activities that build teamwork and cooperation become building blocks for collaborative innovations.


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

The Arts Olympiad is the ICAF's flagship program. Like the Olympics, the Arts Olympiad has a four year cycle. It 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. In the second year, local exhibitions provide communities an opportunity to celebrate the creativity and artistic talents of their children, and to select the winners to represent their school district or country at the WCF. The WCF in the third year provides a global community setting for the development of empathy, so the children grow up to be creative and empathic global leaders. In the fourth and final year, the International Arts Olympiad Exhibition travels to major venues to grow awareness of the importance of fostering creativity and empathy in world, with children as the catalysts.

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