Christina Delgado at Moravia Park P.R.I.D.E

Identifying P.R.I.D.E.

Christina Delgado at Moravia Park P.R.I.D.E

By Christina Delgado, Young Audiences photographer and visual artist

Digital photography is an art form that provides instant gratification. You can see your progress faster than you would with painting, drawing, or ceramics. Because of the age we live in, people are multimedia-driven and our society works efficiently with cell phones, computers, and the internet. I find that digital photography is yet another way technology has changed our approach to a task, and I believe it integrates well into education. Technology can give relevance to the art of photography, while also lowering a barrier. Easy-to-use digital cameras allow students to see themselves as artists and to express themselves creatively. This is something I wanted to teach my second- to fifth-grade students at Moravia Park Elementary when I began my residency with teacher partner and good friend, Cicely Jones, at the school in January.

I worked with students who were a part of the school’s P.R.I.D.E. program, which supports students with social and emotional learning differences. I started by giving students an overview of cameras and portrait photography. I wanted to teach them how to effectively take pictures and understand a photo’s ability to communicate feelings and ideas. Children aren’t always aware of how they are surrounded by photography every day. When they are looking at magazines or billboards, those are photographs! Getting them to understand how this art form is relevant to their everyday lives was important to their development throughout this residency.

The project I assigned students was based on a book of famous portraits that I found in a local bookstore. It showed all kinds of unique examples of portraiture, including Oprah, President Obama, and Billie Holiday. These pieces not only showed portraits of the individuals, but it also mapped out a collage of drawings, symbols, and words explaining what was important to each subject.

Student work from Moravia Park P.R.I.D.E

I had students build something similar so that they could share their own perspectives. Collaging items from magazines with their own photographs helped them define their sense of identity as they pieced the parts together. Their collages focused upon various aspects of their worlds, including interests, hobbies, and what makes them feel safe.

Some students really connected with each other through this project. One student, Trevor*, took the initiative to help another student who was having trouble focusing by sitting down with him, helping him cut out images, and discussing the project. Together, they were able to complete the work on the project for that day.

With Cicely and our faculty team, we came up with an idea that would give the students some independence. We provided disposable cameras to each of the students so that they could create images on their own time. This allowed the students to share a more well-rounded view of who they were. Giving them that responsibility really made a difference. Students felt important because they were expected to do something at a higher level–it was a very special moment.

Ultimately, the whole experience was wonderful and I appreciated the fact that Cicely brought me in to be a part of their team. During the final residency meeting, I got emotional after hearing what Cicely had to say about the improvement she had seen in her students during the residency. There were less behavioral issues and attendance was up. Hearing that positive change validated what I do. Sometimes it’s easy for artists to feel like the things they do go unseen, but this experience had an enormous impact upon the students I met. They were coming to school and they were staying positive and being productive. As children grow up, there are moments in their lives that they will never forget. I think these memories will go far.

Learn more about Christina’s photography residency programs for schools at yamd.org.

*Student names have been changed to protect their privacy. 

Donor Spotlight: Chris Wallace

The arts were an integral and memorable part of Chris Wallace’s childhood. Her mother, Doris Morgan, an elementary school teacher and learning disabilities specialist, taught both her children and her students with joy, positivity, and an arts-integrative approach. This had a lifelong impact on them all: Chris made the arts a central component in her speech-language pathology work; her sister flourished as a writer; and former students or their parents would often approach Doris, thanking her for the impact she made on their lives and letting her know that they believed she was instrumental in their—or their children’s—success.

Several years ago, Chris was invited to attend Young Audiences’ annual Impact Breakfast, where she was impressed by the extent and impact of Young Audiences’ programs, students’ testimonials, and Executive Director Stacie Sanders Evans. In November 2013, Chris joined the Young Audiences board and, after her mother passed away in early 2014, she and her husband David made a generous, multi-year donation in Doris’ memory. The Doris Morgan Fund supports teaching artists participating in Young Audiences’ Maryland Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts program, a 16-session residency that gives Pre-K students an in-depth experience with an artist as well as providing embedded professional development for teachers, making an impact that extends far beyond the life of the program.

Chris Waallace

At a recent site visit, Chris witnessed her first Wolf Trap residency in action, led by Young Audiences teaching artist and dancer Valerie Branch. On the day of Chris’ visit, the classroom teacher was leading her first arts-integrated lesson, developed after several sessions of collaboration with, and mentorship by, Valerie. Chris was impressed by what she saw, especially the embedded professional development that is an integral part of the Wolf Trap program.

Chris believes that the work that Young Audiences does with Maryland’s youngest learners is essential, and is happy that her mother’s legacy of bringing creativity into the classroom can live on with Young Audiences’ help. We are deeply grateful for the Wallaces’ generosity and are proud to honor Doris Morgan’s life by continuing to supply the resources needed to empower students and teachers in the classroom.

If you have a loved one whose memory you would like to honor, please consider making a donation to Young Audiences in their name, knowing your support will positively impact children’s lives through the arts.

FutureMakers smART Tip_blog header

Use simple circuitry in sculpture in March’s smART Tip

FutureMakers smART Tip_blog header

In March’s smART Tip, Young Audiences visual artists and STEAM experts FutureMakers show how students can use simple and affordable LEDs to make sculptures that light up! Press play to learn more:

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smART Tips is a monthly video series sharing tips for educators who are interested in new, creative ways to use the arts in their classroom with students. See all smART Tips to date here. Interested in a specific topic? Let us know!

Why Do the Arts Matter? Melani Douglass

Why Do the Arts Matter? with Melani Douglass

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From a curator’s perspective, hear Melani Douglass, founder of The Family Arts Museum, share her #‎WhyArts‬ response by focusing upon the importance of family as fine art, home as curated space, and community as gallery.

You can join us in celebrating #YAWeek by creating a video, taking a photo, writing a few words, or sharing a piece of artwork that tells a story of how the arts have impacted your life. Learn how to share your story and other ways you can get involved this week at yamd.org.

Continue checking in with the Young Audiences Blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we post more videos, news, and updates throughout #YAWeek.

Why Do the Arts Matter? Lisa Mathews

Why Do the Arts Matter? with Lisa Mathews

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Lisa Mathews, a singer with Young Audiences ensemble Milkshake and a Maryland Wolf Trap teaching artist, joined our #‎WhyArts‬ campaign by sharing her perspective on why the arts matter to her and to all Maryland children.

You can join us in celebrating #YAWeek by creating a video, taking a photo, writing a few words, or sharing a piece of artwork that tells a story of how the arts have impacted your life. Learn how to share your story and other ways you can get involved this week at yamd.org.

Continue checking in with the Young Audiences Blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we post more videos, news, and updates throughout #YAWeek.

Why Do the Arts Matter? Senator Bill Ferguson

Why Do the Arts Matter? with Senator Bill Ferguson

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We’re continuing our social media campaign asking community members “Why Do the Arts Matter?” to celebrate ‪National Young Audiences Arts for Learning Week (YA Week). Maryland State Senator Bill Ferguson shared his perspective in a #WhyArts video.

You can join us in celebrating #YAWeek by creating a video, taking a photo, writing a few words, or sharing a piece of artwork that tells a story of how the arts have impacted your life. Learn how to share your story and other ways you can get involved this week at yamd.org.

Continue checking in with the Young Audiences Blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we post more videos, news, and updates throughout #YAWeek.

Why Do the Arts Matter? Stacie Sanders Evans

Why Do the Arts Matter? with Stacie Sanders Evans

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During ‪National Young Audiences Arts for Learning Week (YA Week) we’re leading a social media campaign to ask community members “Why Do the Arts Matter?” Young Audiences Executive Director Stacie Sanders Evans shared her perspective in a #WhyArts video.

Join us in celebrating #YAWeek by creating a video, taking a photo, writing a few words, or sharing a piece of artwork that tells a story of how the arts have impacted your life. Then nominate your friends, family, and colleagues to participate as well! Learn how to share your story and other ways you can get involved this week at yamd.org.

Check in with the Young Audiences Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we post more videos, news, and updates throughout #YAWeek.

Happy YA Week!

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National Young Audiences Arts for Learning Week (YA Week) is a time to celebrate the national YA network of affiliates and show support for arts-in-education! For 65 years, Young Audiences/Arts for Learning Maryland has worked to transform the lives and education of Maryland students through the arts. The national Young Audiences network of 30 affiliates was founded in Baltimore in 1950, and reached 5 million children last year alone. In Maryland, Young Audiences served nearly 170,000 students at 450 schools and community organizations throughout all 24 school districts during fiscal year 2013-2014.

Help us celebrate National YA Week here in Maryland by showing your support of Young Audiences and the power of the arts throughout YA Week. There are lots of ways you can get involved–join us!

YA Week 2015

Mark your calendar for YA Week 2015!

YA Week 2015

National Young Audiences Arts for Learning Week (YA Week) is a time to celebrate the national YA network of affiliates and show support for arts-in-education!

We hope you will join us in our celebration of the power of the arts in education during YA Week. Learn about the different ways you can get involved and show your support at yamd.org.

Check in with the Young Audiences Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated as we countdown to #YAWeek 2015. You can also learn more about the U.S. House of Representatives Resolution marking March 15 to 21, 2015 YA Week here.

Donor Spotlight: Barbara and Mitch Krebs

Barbara and Mitch Krebs are both firm believers in the importance of the arts, even though their backgrounds are very different. Barbara holds a BFA in Theater and utilizes drama techniques to get into character when approaching her work as a corporate writer. Mitch is a business banker and claims to have two left brains, but he makes sure to balance his number-heavy career with a variety of arts experiences when not in the office.

The Krebs were surprised to learn that Young Audiences/Art for Learning had been providing professional development training to the teachers at their daughter Colette’s school, as well as artist-in-residence programs, for many years. They were intrigued by our work and started learning more. They saw first-hand with Colette that when the arts are integrated into the learning process as a result of the professional development training, it makes a huge difference in how kids learn and retain knowledge. The caliber of Young Audiences’ artists impressed them. “When I see these artists pour their hearts into their jobs,” says Barbara, “and how they get kids fired up about learning, I just want to make sure more and more kids get this experience.”

The scope of Young Audiences’ work in schools across Maryland is what moved the Krebs to join Young Audiences’ Sunburst Society, a multi-year giving society. “We wanted to offer our support because, throughout our lives, giving back to the community has been very important to us. And our focus for supporting groups has always been either in the arts or in education. And here was an organization that combined both of our favorites!”

The Krebs believe that, in an age of school budgets facing reduced arts funding, it will require public-private partnerships–like those that Young Audiences fosters with public schools across the state–to ensure that our children get the chance to continue learning in an environment that enhances the educational process. “It’s no surprise that when we think about our own school experiences, we always recall the teachers who did more than recite boring facts,” says Barbara. “We remember the teachers who incorporated memorable, arts-oriented teaching techniques and who made us think and create for ourselves.”

Young Audiences is grateful to Barbara and Mitch, and other members of the Sunburst Society, who make it possible for thousands of students to imagine, create, and realize their full potential through the arts.

Our Sunburst Society is made of generous donors whose high-level, multi-year pledges help to build a legacy of learning in, through, and about the arts. These contributions give Young Audiences the financial confidence to plan strategically for tomorrow’s educational needs, while meeting the demand for today’s programs. Join them.

Donor Spotlight: Barbara Howard

“Our main purpose in life as human beings is to help others,” believes Barbara Howard, special education teacher at the William S. Baer School in Baltimore. “When we do that, the blessings come back to us, ten-fold.” Barbara’s journey to teaching was a long one, but she knew, once her mother introduced the idea, that it was exactly where she needed to be.

As evidenced in the 2014 video “Beautiful Surprises,” Barbara is extremely dedicated to her students and cares deeply about helping them realize their full potential, and this is why she became not only a teacher partner, but also a donor. Young Audiences’ acclaimed Maryland Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts 16-Session Residency, with embedded professional development, helps teachers like Barbara to develop arts-integrative teaching skills with proven outcomes. Designed to serve students ages three to five, this program has been a wonderful way to also serve children with disabilities. Working with Wolf Trap has helped Barbara to more effectively reach her students – all of whom learn differently and have unique needs – and build their confidence, while fostering in them a love of learning. As she puts it, “they have a purpose now in becoming successful in whatever they do.”

One student, Raymond, has continued to blossom since Wolf Trap came into his classroom and the Beautiful Surprises video was made. “As soon as Raymond comes into the classroom, he will walk over to the bin of tambourines,” shares Barbara. “He will pull his assigned one out of the bin and begin to play it. He, along with the other six children I teach, is the main reason as to why I rise each morning at 4:30. Sometimes I wonder, who’s teaching whom?”

Barbara Howard Young Audiences is grateful to have the support of dedicated individuals like Barbara, who share with us a vision to help many children flourish like never before.

Join the Solstice Club today by pledging just $10 or more monthly, and your sustaining gift will help Young Audiences to continue to bring exceptional arts programs to students and offer professional development for both teachers and artists.

Credit Jeff Roffman Photography

Donor Spotlight: Maryland State Arts Council

For more than 40 years, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) has supported artists and arts organizations in their pursuit of artistic excellence, ensured the accessibility of the arts to all citizens, and promoted statewide awareness of arts resources and opportunities. Due to the MSAC’s support of both regional and statewide arts organizations, the arts community in Maryland is thriving. We are so proud to be a part of this community, and are grateful for the leadership of the MSAC.

As our single largest funder, the MSAC has helped Young Audiences provide high-quality arts experiences to hundreds of thousands of children across the state of Maryland, many of whom otherwise would not have had such experiences. It has also supported our work to offer exceptional artists the employment opportunities and salaries they deserve, and to underwrite costs for schools with limited resources through its Arts in Education Programs. In partnership with Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance, the MSAC also supports professional development for teaching artists through the Teaching Artist Institute (TAI), Maryland’s only state-wide artist training program that is made possible by the partnership of Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, MSAC, and Young Audiences.

“The MSAC has chosen to partner with Young Audiences,” writes Theresa M. Colvin, Executive Director, “as they are uniquely qualified to carry out this important work because of their unwavering commitment to artistic excellence, their long-standing reputation across the state, and their tireless commitment to securing funding for underserved communities.”

The MSAC’s partnership with Young Audiences spans decades, and the impact is astounding. In the past 10 years, the MSAC has doubled its support, allowing Young Audiences to expand its number of services from 1,798 in 2004 to 12,509 in 2014–a 596% increase! We are proud to share the MSAC’s goal of investing in the arts across the state of Maryland, and are grateful for its continued support.

Student access to regular arts instruction and enrichment has greatly declined in the last 10 years. Help us change this by becoming an advocate for the arts today!

Help us keep Maryland’s arts community as vibrant as possible by becoming an advocate for the arts today! The MSAC not only supports Young Audiences in bringing the arts to thousands of students each year, but also ensures that the arts are accessible to all citizens in Maryland.

Visit the MSAC website.