Volunteering to Support YA Artists and Arts Integration in the Classroom

Getting Involved: Volunteering to Support Artists and Arts Integration in the Classroom

Volunteering to Support YA Artists and Arts Integration in the Classroom
Pam and I in her studio stitching in a few finishing touches on a student-made embroidery project.

Co-written by Barbara Kesler, an active Young Audiences board member, volunteer, and retired Baltimore County Public Schools teacher and YA Visual Artist Pam Negrin. During Barbara’s 39-year teaching career, she instructed third through sixth-grade students and spent the last 23 years at Franklin Elementary where she taught fifth graders in all subjects.

After attending a Young Audiences informational “Impact Breakfast,” six of my friends and I were intrigued by visual artist Pam Negrin’s embroidery and weaving with students. Pam’s residencies transform classrooms into collaborative handwork studios, with countless ways to connect textile art with core subjects.

We learned that Pam’s hours of preparation, finishing work, and providing one-on-one attention in a classroom of 25-30 students was challenging. With just one teacher and one teaching artist, the need for more hands, heads, and hearts presented a natural opportunity for volunteering with Pam.

add-headingOur volunteering experience happened both in the classrooms and at Pam’s studio. Throughout the experience, new friendships have developed and inspirations shared. Meeting at Pam’s studio, we help while learning; rolling yarn, threading needles, and helping finish collaborative projects. In the classroom, our presence helps individual children feel successful in their completed works—sometimes by giving extra help with a new skill, sometimes by organizing materials, and other times just by listening while they work!

During a Spring residency at Commodore John Rodgers Elementary in Baltimore City, two English Language Arts third-grade classes were exploring character traits of a recently read Judy Blume novel. Expanding this textual element to their own character traits, the children designed self-portraits. The designs started on paper and were then embroidered onto fabric. Pam instructed them to explore color values, textures, and shapes.

Three volunteers accompanied Pam to the school to assist the very enthusiastic children in creating their self-portraits. The results were amazing.

Volunteering to Support YA Artists and Arts Integration in the Classroom

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One particularly shy boy proudly presented his self-portrait and said, “I did it!” Another told us how he was teaching his poorly behaved six-year-old cousin to ‘draw with yarn.’ “It calms him down, and we all need that!” he proclaimed. Another student told us that he had taken over the household chore of mending torn clothing for his brothers and sister. “No one else in my house knows how to use a needle like me.”

Volunteering to Support YA Artists and Arts Integration in the ClassroomChildren were working together at sewing tables, chatting amicably about the novel that they were reading in class, their sports activities, and their weekend plans. All were engaged in a very peaceful and friendly manner, helping each other when necessary. No doubt presenting their finished projects to their families on Mother’s Day was a beautiful culmination of this artistic endeavor. And it left three very happy volunteers with a feeling of purpose in assisting these youngsters in a meaningful project that will surely be an unforgettable experience.

Young Audiences' Sun

You can get involved, too!

At Young Audiences, we constantly see the arts inspire, engage and change lives. We are reminded of this power every day through our work providing more than 7,000 arts learning experiences a year to children in Maryland classrooms. And the benefit extends beyond the children, impacting the providers, observers, supporters and, yes, volunteers.  Learn more about how you can get involved with Young Audiences through volunteering.

Donor Spotlight: The Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation

The Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, Inc. was established with the mission to help support organizations to increase arts, music, and culture in the community, as well as education and human services. For thirteen years, the Foundation has impacted the Southern Maryland and Greater DC area thanks to founder and President Nancy Peery Marriott, who is fueled not only by the area’s needs but by her own passion for the arts.

Mrs. Nancy Peery MarriottOriginally from Palo Alto, California, Mrs. Marriott is an accomplished lyric soprano who received her B.A. from the University of Utah and continued her vocal studies at the LONGY School of Music and the University of Maryland. Mrs. Marriott has performed at the highest level in some of the most prestigious venues across the United States, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston’s Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. Young Audiences is both grateful and excited to work with Mrs. Marriott and the Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation.

In 1950, Young Audiences’ founder Nina Collier hosted a well-known violinist, Yehudi Menuhin, to play for and talk with a group of children in her Baltimore home. Noticing how much the children enjoyed the experience, she organized a series of 20 chamber music concerts for Baltimore City elementary students, launching an organization that now provides diverse and inspiring arts experiences to over 183,000 students throughout the state. Like the Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, Young Audiences was founded on a belief in the power of music. This has made the Foundation an ideal partner as we work to give all children the opportunity to learn in, through, and about the arts.

During the first year of partnership with the Foundation nearly a decade ago, Young Audiences reached 20,809 students in southern Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Since that time, the number of students reached has grown by over 40%, and we now annually give nearly 30,000 Montgomery and Prince George’s County students opportunities for artful learning. Young Audiences is deeply grateful for the support of the Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation.

Donor Spotlight: T. Rowe Price Foundation

Since 1950, Young Audiences of Maryland (YA) has significantly expanded the availability of educational and culturally diverse art programs for Baltimore City youth. YA’s programs are delivered in multiple settings including schools, libraries, and community centers. In 2013, YA grew its capacity to serve our youngest students by becoming the sole Maryland affiliate of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. Wolf Trap, the National Park for the Performing Arts, has spent the last 30 years developing the 16-session arts-based residency model, which supports improved literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills in early learners.

During the residency, trained teaching artists work with classroom teachers through a comprehensive modeling and collaborative co-teaching approach to build teachers’ arts-integration knowledge and skills and enable them to incorporate new practices in their classrooms. A 2006 Wolf Trap study¹, supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Education, showed that preschool students whose teachers participated in Wolf Trap residencies grew in every measured area and strengthened their math, literacy, creativity, and social and emotional skills.

In 2014-15 alone, Young Audiences served 52 teachers—and 1,163 Baltimore City pre-k and kindergarten students—through the Wolf Trap residency program. The T. Rowe Price Foundation has been a longstanding supporter of YA and, more recently, the Wolf Trap Early Learning classroom residency program. Since its founding in 1981, the T. Rowe Price Foundation has worked closely with nonprofits to identify innovative solutions that improve educational outcomes for youth and enrich community life. YA is grateful to the T. Rowe Price Foundation for supporting our work for nearly 20 years and for helping to launch the Wolf Trap initiative in Baltimore.

T.Rowe-Price-FoundationAccording to John Brothers, the Foundation’s president, “We have been pleased to support YA and its mission of integrating arts into the educational process, particularly for children who have limited exposure to the arts. The classroom residency program is backed by research and the Wolf Trap Institute’s ongoing commitment, and it aligns with the Foundation’s desire to support innovative practices that enhance educational opportunities and outcomes for youth.”

Through the combined efforts of YA and the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Baltimore City’s youngest low-income students have a greater opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed in school and in life.

Learn more about how our Wolf Trap classroom residencies can motivate and empower early learning teachers and their students!

For more information about the T. Rowe Price Foundation, please visit their website.

¹Klayman, D. (2006). Executive summary of the final evaluation report for Fairfax pages professional development project: An effective strategy for improving school readiness. Potomac, MD: Social Dynamics.

Meet Our Artists: Scott Patterson

Scott Patterson

Young Audiences’ roster of artists continues to grow to encompass new artists, ensembles, and art forms, from slam poets to improvisers to Capoeira masters. We’ll be regularly posting interviews with our artists, giving them a chance to share more about themselves and their experiences bringing their Young Audiences programs to schools.

How did you first hear about Young Audiences? What made you decide to become a roster artist?

A colleague told me about the Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance, and I found information about Young Audiences on the AEMS website. My reasons for deciding to become a roster artist are twofold. First, I have fond memories of the school assemblies I attended as a child. Whether the assembly was about public safety or a performance, the message always stuck with me. Assemblies were presented as something special, a time to get out of the classroom and see information presented in a fun and interesting way. It is my hope that Outer Space Improvisations leaves the same kind of positive impression on students as the assemblies I attended as a child. Second, I place a high value on professional development, and when I learned about the Teaching Artist Institute (TAI), I realized that Young Audiences does too.

How does your art form help connect students to what they are learning in school?

When composing music I utilize basic math concepts. Additionally, I rely on my skills as a writer to create song lyrics and devise hypotheses. As I experiment with new sounds, I recall historical events and scan my current environment for inspiration.

Through music, I encourage students to see the convergence of academic disciplines, rather than single out one in particular. In using improvisation activities, I invite students to pull from what they know about math, literature, science, and history to create something entirely new and unique.

Scott Patterson

We love your concept of connecting live, improvisational music with the theme of space exploration. Can you tell us more about your program “Outer Space Improvisations”?

Outer Space Improvisations” is a program designed to stoke students’ imaginations. The students and I take a musical space journey, leaving our day-to-day existence on Earth to travel to far and distant places, both charted and uncharted. It is the uncharted place that most excites me because students have to use their imagination to create what these places look, feel, sound, taste, and smell like; this is where the improvisational aspect of the program comes into play.

Through sound design, I welcome students into the performance with the sounds of space. When I play, students are immersed in original space-themed compositions inspired by composers and musicians like Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Earth, Wind & Fire, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Thundercat. Facts about space are woven into the program to deepen their intergalactic experience, and improvisation activities connect students to the infiniteness of their imagination.

How do the lessons/skills you teach students about or through your art form apply to and affect their everyday life outside of the classroom?

An important aspect of my work as a composer is improvisation; however, it is through my imagination that I can improvise. The ability to create something that has never existed before is an essential skill that all people must have. Without it, the ability to solve the simple and complex problems that pop up in everyday life would be impossible.
It is important to me that students feel confident in their capacity to think through and learn how to present a new idea. The problems children are solving today and those they will address in the future require a strong imagination, critical thinking, and courage.

Scott Patterson

Why do you believe it is important for every student to have access to the arts?

I am committed to arts education. It was through the arts that I learned how to improvise, communicate, and imagine. The arts education I received as a child helped shape the person I am today. Seeing that I had a passion for music, my parents enrolled me in arts programs. In high school, I attended a performing arts magnet program where I had the opportunity to interact daily with teaching artists. They challenged me to think creatively and critically about how to contribute to the world around me through my art.

What is the most rewarding aspect of becoming a Young Audiences roster artist?

Performing in front of students who at first don’t know what to expect when they see me, and then seeing the impact my music has on them as their imaginations light up is exciting. I believe the ability to use imagination, to see beyond one’s circumstance or everyday reality is not a privilege, but a necessity. To see students grasp this concept, and then watch them use it to do something that has never been done before is my greatest joy.

Learn more about Scott Patterson’s assembly “Outer Space Improvisations”

Uncle Devin

Meet Our Artists: Uncle Devin

Uncle Devin

Young Audiences’ roster of artists continues to grow to encompass new artists, ensembles, and art forms, from slam poets to improvisers to Capoeira masters.

We’ll be regularly posting interviews with our artists, giving them a chance to share more about themselves and their experiences bringing their Young Audiences programs to schools. 

How did you first hear about Young Audiences?  What made you decide to become a roster artist?

I first heard about Young Audiences at a children’s artist conference in Brooklyn, New York. Someone had mentioned the opportunities that the arts-in-education network provides for teaching artists. What attracted me to Young Audiences was the opportunity to learn how to apply and incorporate my music into educational settings for children. Learning about Young Audiences stood out to me because it brought me back to my own childhood memories. I can still distinctly remember performing artists coming into my elementary school when I was child. If you could believe it, to this day, I can still recite many of the concepts I learned from the artistic educators then.

When you were young and those artistic experiences influenced your educational development, did you know that you would pursue a similar career?

I knew that music would be in my future, but I have to admit, I did not think about it from the standpoint of becoming a children’s artist just yet. The idea did not come to me until about 8 or 9 years ago as I told my young nephews and nieces bedtime stories. If you recite the same stories often enough, you have to come up with creative ways to keep children engaged. That’s when I started to recite the storybooks to music and this sparked the idea of recording it. My niece took those recordings into her school so she could share them with friends and classmates. Her friends loved it so much and they began to pick up on the name “Uncle Devin.” Soon enough, people began to refer to me with that title and that’s how the name came about. So really, it was my nieces, nephews, and family who helped me come up with the idea to work with children’s music!

Uncle Devin

You are already a professional artists. What specifically made you choose to join Young Audiences as a roster artist?

I needed professional development in certain areas of my work. I wanted to grasp Young Audiences’ process of curriculum development, arts integration, and I needed to learn how to run a workshop or assembly properly. After hearing other roster artists speak about their experiences with Young Audiences, I began to realize that the organization was a top-notch educational network that not only provides artistic services to schools, but also trains artists to provide these opportunities for the schools. A lot of artists may want to take on this process themselves, but I did not have the desire to establish relationships with schools on my own time when I knew could do it through Young Audiences! It’s a win-win situation for everyone and Young Audiences is the perfect environment for me to learn and share my artistry.

Did you feel like the training you completed with Young Audiences made a big difference in your work?

Absolutely! Without a doubt. It was like I was a little kid back in school again at Young Audiences’ Teaching Artist Institute (TAI). I had to re-learn concepts and the curriculum. Through training at TAI, I walked away having learned that when you give school presentations and assemblies, it’s all about the artist, but when you create a school residency, it’s all about the students. I could not hide behind my artistry when it came to working with children–I had to know the curriculum and the standards as well. It’s been a great opportunity for me to learn how to teach and give back by sharing my passion for music.

What has been the most memorable part of the programs you have brought to students with Young Audiences? Do you have a favorite memory from a program?

I have so many, but I’ll share two great ones. One day as I was packing up my equipment after a great program in a Baltimore school, a little girl came up to me and hugged my leg. She said “Uncle Devin, I don’t want you to leave!” The teacher walked up to us and said “That’s what makes this worth it.” I smiled back and responded, “Yes, it does.”

Another great moment that stands out to me is when I performed at another school in Baltimore. This situation was unique because I didn’t know that my good friend’s daughter attended this school and I didn’t find out until afterward with a surprise. Later that evening, my friend, the young girl’s daughter called me, and over the speaker phone her daughter began to recite some of the concepts she had learned earlier that day during the program. I thought, she’s got it! That was a wonderful moment because I realized I wasn’t just there to perform music, I was there to teach.

How does your art form help connect students to what they are learning in school?

One: Communication. Percussion was one of the first forms of communication that human beings utilized. To be able to show children how to use drums as a communication tool is a very unique way to relate to what they’re learning in school.

Two: Mathematics. I have a song I do called “Count Our Numbers” where we count to five using four different languages. It blends different areas of their studies involving language, mathematics, and music.

Three: Working together. I help children figure out their role in a collaborative team while building musical pieces. It takes a family to build a piece of music together collectively.

Why do you believe percussion specifically is important for every student to have access to?

The heart beat. Everyone has their own beat. It’s about understanding that everyone is unique. Drumming is something that you do every day and many don’t even realize it. It’s in the pace of our walk, the number of times we blink our eyes, or the way we tap our fingers on a table. People naturally make rhythms everyday and it’s an ongoing process. I believe that percussion is so important to society because it is directly connected to our natural rhythms of life. Once we understand it, drumming can enhance our quality of life individually and with one another. I have a new book coming out called ABCs of Percussion,that describes one percussion instrument per letter of the alphabet and includes a music CD that will allow the reader to hear each instrument.

How do the lessons and skills you teach students about or through your art form apply to and affect their everyday life outside of the classroom? 

Outside of the classroom, music helps connects people to culture. Music enriches children’s lives. If we never spoke a word, we could communicate through music. Music brings people together and it never sets us apart. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Young Audience roster artist?

I wish that everyone could experience the feeling of standing before 100 to 200 young people and knowing that you have their undivided attention. Being able to see the smiles that your art form brings to their faces is an indescribable feeling. Knowing that I am touching the next generation and providing children with a positive experience is far more fulfilling than I could ever have expected or describe. Being a children’s artist is essential to developing the type of peaceful world we want to live in. We need more resources and we need more artists. You can never have too many artists. We really need more people to consider carrying on this tradition of teaching through the arts with their skills. The world continues to create a cultural change through music and I am so happy to be a part of it.

Learn more about Uncle Devin’s offerings through Young Audiences.

Visit Uncle Devin’s website.

Quest Visual Theatre

Meet Our Artists: Quest Visual Theatre

Quest Visual Theatre

Young Audiences’ roster of artists continues to grow to encompass new artists, ensembles, and art forms, from slam poets to improvisers to Capoeira masters.

We’ll be regularly posting interviews with our artists, giving them a chance to share more about themselves and their experiences bringing their Young Audiences programs to schools. We recently sat down with Tim McCarthy of Quest Visual Theatre

Why did you decide to become a Young Audiences roster ensemble and how does it align with Quest Visual Theatre’s larger mission?

I had known several artists in Maryland who were with Young Audiences and I began to investigate what the organization was about. It made me think about where Quest Visual Theatre was heading and I thought it was something worth pursuing because we have so much experience working with children.

We are an inclusive company. Deaf people are a part of everything we do everyday and we wish to celebrate the people who are in this world. That’s the world we want to live in and we wish to bring those experiences it into children’s lives.

Quest also uses visual theatre to cut across language and cultural barriers. All of our work is inclusive and accessible. Everything that Quest does reflects the company’s commitment to welcoming to all people. One program that reflects that is QuestFest, which is a biennial international visual theatre festival. Quest partners with area theaters, universities, and agencies to present performances, conduct approximately 20 residencies, and provide training in visual theatre. The QuestFest Community Showcase enables students who have participated in QuestFest residencies to share work that they created.

What has been the most memorable part of the programs you have brought to the students with Young Audiences?

I love what I’m bringing into the schools and seeing how engaged the students are. Quest does little warm-ups before each performance. We play a game like charades with the audience. We have the audience begin to guess what the actors are doing; playing baseball, football, or golf. That really gets the kids involved and excited.

Do you have a memory of when you felt that you has an impact upon a student or class?

Students usually don’t know how to approach our actors because they are deaf, but after a performance or residency, we intentionally spend time and stick around to interact with the children. That’s when the hugs begin to happen. Things really change at that point. They see our artists as people they want to interact with. The communication barrier goes away.

Quest Visual Theatre

How does your art form help connect students to what they are learning in school ?

Our goal is to integrate theatre into the curriculum. We do this by focusing upon two primary areas, including learning readiness and literacy.

How do the lessons that you teach students apply to and affect their everyday lives outside of the classroom?

In addition to learning the art form, the developmental skills we are focus on are communication and interpersonal skills. When you’re creating something and working in collaboration with others, especially if you’re not able to speak, you’re going to have to be clear about what your intentions are. Our lessons teach children how to send and receive information clearly with engagement.

Learn more about Quest Visual Theatre‘s offerings through Young Audiences.

Visit the Quest Visual Theatre website. 

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.

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.

Donor Spotlight: Jamaal Collier

“Our life without the arts can be so empty,” rapped Jamaal Collier at Young Audience’s 2014 Impact Breakfast, “so I’m proud to be a part of YAMD!” A dynamic and engaging Hip Hop artist, Jamaal has been working with Young Audiences/Arts for Learning since 2007 and has served on its artist roster since 2013. His energy and passion for the arts is boundless, and show in the volume of work he does: not only does he offer assemblies and long-term residencies to elementary, middle, and high school students, but he also provides professional development for teachers, in addition to currently being trained for the renowned Maryland Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts 16-session residencies for preschool and kindergarten students.

Jamaal began making donations to support Young Audiences ever since he joined Young Audiences’ roster. This past fall, he became the first roster artist to make a multi-year pledge of support. Asked why he chose to do this, especially since he dedicates so much time to the organization, Jamaal stated simply, “I believe in what we do. We do a lot, and there is a lot to be done.”

Jamaal’s passion for the arts is clear, as is the impact it has had on his life. Today he brings the power of the arts into the lives of students and teachers in Maryland. In every case, the results are remarkable. For example, during a Maryland Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts program in Baltimore, Jamaal witnessed students evolve from using one-word answers to expressing themselves in full sentences!

Young Audiences is truly grateful to donors like Jamaal, whose passion for and commitment to the arts helps students realize their full potential. As he put it, speaking about the relationship between artists, teachers, and students, “We’re the ones who need each other, and we will help each other move forward.”

Schedule a program with a Young Audiences teaching artist today! Browse Young Audiences’ roster of more than 100 professional teaching artists, whose talent spans all art forms, including music, theater, dance, and visual arts.

Donor Spotlight: Wright Family Foundation

Since 2000, the Wright Family Foundation has supported diverse educational initiatives that provide intervention, support, and enrichment programs for at-risk children to realize their full potential. Young Audiences/Arts for Learning is extremely grateful for the partnership of the Wright Family Foundation and its support of our early learning initiative, Maryland Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts 16-session residency program.

Young children have a natural curiosity and a unique love of learning. Young Audiences’ Wolf Trap residencies cultivate and encourage this love of learning in our youngest students by providing joyful, arts-integrated early learning programs in low-income schools throughout Baltimore. In addition to providing exceptional arts programming, Wolf Trap residencies are proven to increase student academic outcomes and improve teacher instructional practice. With the generous support of the Wright Family Foundation, Young Audiences has quadrupled the number of Wolf Trap residencies and increased the number of students served from 276 to over 1,100 – all in just three years.

Wright Family Foundation

According to the Wright Family Foundation, its support of Young Audiences grew out of its desire to provide children with opportunities to have arts-rich experiences. “One of our focus areas is Early Childhood Education,” writes Mari Beth Moulton, Executive Director. “When Young Audiences partnered with Wolf Trap to bring quality arts programs to early learning classrooms, we were eager to support this partnership. This is an opportunity for the Foundation and Young Audiences to have far-reaching impact for many of Baltimore’s children.”

The Wright Family Foundation is passionate about providing educational opportunities for our most at-risk youth in Baltimore. Young Audiences shares this passion, and is proud to partner with the Wright Family Foundation to provide our youngest students, in some of Baltimore’s most impoverished schools, with the opportunity to learn in and through the arts. With the support of generous donors like the Wright Family Foundation, we can offer a better and brighter future to our youngest students.