Pure and simple, our teaching artists are the engine for the inspired learning Young Audiences brings to the classroom and to students. They drive the creativity. They are the inspiration that excites and motivates students. And they give selflessly.
Now it’s our turn to give to them – through the Teaching Artist Emergency Fund.
You can support our partner artists in this unusually challenging time. Classrooms are closed. Programs and schools that contract for our teaching artists are financially challenged. As a result, our artists have lost more than $80,000 in earnings between September and December—and we project greater losses this Spring—and their opportunities to use their craft outside of YA have largely disappeared. Many of our partner artists are struggling, and there is no clear timeline for when they can again return to the classroom and restore their income.
By pivoting to online learning—and also through the generosity of our incredible supporters—we’ve been able to mitigate some of that financial impact. We’ve partnered with our artists to develop incredible online content. We also raised more than $57,000 through the Teaching Artist Emergency Fund launched in the Spring of 2020—all of which was given to our artists. We’ve helped to keep them working and reducing their financial gap.
Prior to the Winter holidays, our Board allocated $30,000 financial relief to artists…but it’s not enough.
Today, we are reopening the Teaching Artist Emergency Fund. Two generous donors are furthering the relaunch of the Fund with an additional gift of $5,000. Knowing that 100% of the money contributed to the Fund goes directly to the artists and their families, we are asking you to offer your support by making a contribution to the Fund.
On behalf of our artists, their families, and the students who benefit from their work, thank you.
Stacie and the YA Team
If you are part of any nonprofit, what kinds of things come to mind that a board member might ask you to bring to a meeting? Is it a budget? The latest donor report?
This is why I love the Young Audiences Board of Directors. Yes, sometimes they ask me for these things. But, prior to our last meeting, the Board Chair asked me, “How are the artists doing?” He wanted to bring a report that spoke to this.
If you are reading this, you likely already know that COVID-19 has hit the artist community hard. Nearly two-thirds of artists and creative workers report being unemployed. Last year, when COVID-19 hit, it was the Board that launched the Teaching Artist Emergency Fund and, between the individuals who donated to that, foundations that allowed us to repurpose grant funds, and the Maryland State Arts Council, YA was able to ensure that those artists who were depending on contracted income last school year received what they were counting on. YA provided over $270,000 in earnings and financial relief to artists in our community. In turn, our artists innovated, and we found new ways to put them to work continuing to inspire and engage children during the pandemic: Check out Arts & Learning Snacks and Arts & Learning Kids, two of our innovations, which continue to positively impact kids.
COVID-19 is still with us. School budgets are frozen, and money typically earmarked for the arts is being directed elsewhere. The result: Our artists lost more than $80,000 in earnings between September and December, and we project greater losses this Spring. On December 18th, when Board members saw this, they agreed to allocate $30,000 in immediate financial relief to artists. Five days later, on December 23rd, this relief hit artists’ bank accounts.
Board members also agreed to relaunch the Teaching Artist Emergency Fund, and swiftly found two donors to kick off the Fund with $5,000. We know our artists want more than financial relief. They want to be put to work, to breathe joy and creativity into virtual learning, and to show up for kids when they could really use us! One hundred percent of the funds raised will go directly to putting artists to work and benefiting children.
Wanna see who these amazing board members are?!? Check them out here.
In closing out this love letter, I am sharing just one example of the outpouring of love from YA artists when they received this unexpected and much needed financial relief:
It brings me to tears but tears of great joy to know we have people like you in support of your artists in these trying times! With the holidays coming up and very low income on our part, we want to say God is good and this blessing is just in time and right on time and much needed. Working with YAMD for two decades has been one of our best journeys, as we are still working to create top quality virtual prerecorded videos and live Zoom performances, etc. To have some kind of income flow and we are more than dedicated to staying connected to youth and community which is most important. We love you dearly, Brandon Albright, Illstyle Peace Productions.
We love our Board dearly, too! Be on the lookout for how you can join our board in loving our artists through the Teaching Artist Emergency Fund this Friday.