"The vision for C.A.E. is to expand its social model beyond organic growth by replicating services and global solutions that cover the entire spectrum of economic and social development to positively effect systemic cultural change.”


- B.J. Pleasant, Founder & CEO

Community Arts Experience (C.A.E.) 501(c)(3) charitable organization is dedicated to empowering individuals to transform culture.


C.A.E. delivers an alternative learning & training system that provides evidence-based programs and services to equip children ages 7-17, parents, and adults with the education, skills, and moral compass to flourish in their communities across generations.


C.A.E.'s holistic and collaborative systemic approach to learning creates a foundation for students to pursue their career and life goals by aligning and integrating social and emotional learning (SEL), arts-infused education, and workforce preparation efforts through an equity lens. 


C.A.E.’s organizational structure comprises four service divisions to equip students for leadership and societal influence for the common good. The common goal within each division is to empower C.A.E. students to become curators and connectors of knowledge and well-being.

  1. Performing Arts Division

  2. Health & Fitness Division

  3. Media & Technology Division

  4. Education & Development Division

Each service division offers various arts-based learning pathways to achieve a personalized learning experience that aligns with participants' personal and professional goals. Specific models that include trauma-informed practices, cultural and civic engagement, workforce development strategies, entrepreneurial development, character and leadership development, and family engagement capacity building are woven strategically into each service division. These offerings are built on the following four dynamic pillars:


  • Responsive & Positive Interventions & Supports:

    • Offer a positive and fun-filled professional environment.

      • Foster and maintain resilience through school and community collaborative relationships.

    • Value academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs.

      • Implement a cognitive-behavioral treatment model for teaching appropriate behaviors.

      • Address children and youth's mental health issues, including toxic stress, anxiety, and depression, particularly in the wake of COVID.

    • Employ data-driven decision-making on all levels.


  • Holistic Approaches to Learning:

    • Employ combined strategies of arts-infused technical instruction and project-based and service-learning activities to provide unique educational experiences; reflecting the highest standards of excellence and diversity.


  • College Planning and Workforce & Career Development:

    • Focus on college & career exploration activities and experiences.

      • Incorporate multiple pathways to carry young people from elementary school to adulthood through Life and Career Action Plans.

    • 21st Century Skills Development (Adaptability, complex communication skills, non-routine problem solving, self-management, and systems-thinking.)

      • Accelerate students’ ability to develop, apply, respond, interview, search, engage and manage employability essentials for jobs & career opportunities.


  • Parent & Family Engagement Mandate:

    • Provide family capacity-building enrichment activities and access to family-supported resources and services.




Learn more about our history here.

C.A.E. launched in 2008 after noticing a lack of alternative interactive learning programs, poor academic school performance, and increasing violence in Stark County, Ohio. C.A.E. was one of the first local organizations to recognize why underserved children were most impacted and committed to providing an alternative learning curriculum involving a three-prong approach of family, school, and community as the foundation.


C.A.E. began offering the performing arts and business management programming for youth 13 through 18. However, after much research to effectively combat chronic absenteeism, behavioral problems, and low course grades, C.A.E. expanded its reach to impact a broader range of services to children 7 through seniors 55+ with the training and skills necessary to compete in a technology-driven work ecosystem.


After several years, C.A.E.'s program delivery, supported by student performance data, uncovered skill gaps we are uniquely suited to impact within the populations we serve. This data showed an overall combined average increase of 34% in Science, Reading, and Math performance testing results. Attendance rates average increase of 5% and an 11.4% increase in positive student behavior. Building on the achievement and success of program implementation, professional development opportunities for adult learners were later introduced as an additional service.


Our experience with alternative learning led us to analyze how community professionals could work together to create a significant education hub to develop non-traditional strategies that would best benefit individuals in dire need of the training and support services we provide. Over the past decade, C.A.E. developed a coalition-based approach to mobilize community professionals to engage in public action and volunteering to resolve high crime, high unemployment rates, high drop-out rates, chronic disease, mental health, and substance use disorders.

Today, C.A.E. students enjoy several arts-infused online and on-demand services delivered in a flexible schedule and small group interaction. Experienced, professional instructors from our communities work with youth and adult learners to create individual learning plans tailored to specific needs and paces. C.A.E. also provides the assessment and counseling support needed to make sound educational decisions directly tied to academic and career development outcomes to produce economic, cultural, and social change.


C.A.E. partners with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools, and government agencies to provide access to childcare, transportation, affordable housing, mental health and substance support services, food accessibility, and education resources to improve the quality of life, family, and community. 


To honor our rich history and to guide our activities in the future, we, the directors and staff of Community Arts Experience, embrace the following guiding principles:


To be a leader and a model in both programming and operations, we will embrace appropriate risk levels and foster an entrepreneurial spirit informed by inquisitiveness, due diligence, creativity, and responsible stewardship of our assets.


We remain true to our mission and work hard to provide high-quality programs and exceptional service to our participants and maximize our donors' support



We will be an innovative and agile organization; to this end, we will rely on strategic, collaborative approaches to initiate and support pioneering programs and workshops that break new ground.


Lasting Outcomes

We seek to advance new ideas and discoveries that address the root causes of fundamental decline; we will define success by objectives linked to a significantly positive and lasting impact on individuals and the broader society.



We will work with and convene community leaders to develop and implement strategies that support innovation and bring new ideas and information to targeted groups; new collaboration areas will evolve as we continually reevaluate needs.


Core Values

We will bring to our workshops and seek in our relationships with others a commitment to, and belief in, empowering children and youth, adults, seniors, job seekers, and workforce partners to develop the next generation of ethical community leaders.



We will engage in arts-infused education and entrepreneurial approaches of continuous learning, hard work, and reassessment; we recognize that these qualities are essential to our mission's achievement.

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