smARTbeats

Rock and Roll and Learn: smARTbeats returns with Elias Schutzman

smARTbeats returns to WTMD this Saturday, March 10 during the weekly children’s program Young At Heart! On this month’s segment, host Lisa Mathews sits down for a chat with Young Audiences teaching artist and internationally renowned resident rock and roll drummer Elias Schutzman!

For over five years, Elias has been performing interactive story-telling assemblies in public schools throughout Maryland, and in 2016, began enchanting Maryland’s youngest students and enriching learning in Pre-K and kindergarten classrooms through his work with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. Last summer, he joined the ranks of teaching artists in YA’s groundbreaking Summer Arts & Learning Academy, immersing Baltimore City children from Title 1 schools in an engaging arts-rich program that sends children back to school in the fall ahead, inspired, and ready to learn.

“Music is a universal language that touches us all. It’s food for the soul,” says the artist. “Through song, rhythm, and storytelling, I hope to release the young imagination to explore here, there and everywhere.”

When not in the classroom, you can find Elias playing drums in venues all over the world with The Flying Eyes and Black Lung. The Baltimore native attended the Baltimore School for the Arts and went on to receive a BA in Theatre from the University of Maryland, College Park, leading him to work with local theatre companies such as Center Stage, Everyman Theatre and most recently the Baltimore Rock Opera Society.

Young At Heart airs weekly from 7 to 8 am on Saturdays, featuring music that appeals to parents and children alike. Previous shows have featured music by Wilco, David Bowie, Andrew & Polly, Weezer, and others.

Listen to YA teaching artist and musician Elias Schutzman online now!

YA Teaching Artist Elias Schutzman (standing, center) leads his students in their culminating performance at the 2017 Summer Arts Learning Academy.

Jamaal “Mr Root” Collier Talks smARTbeats on Young At Heart

smARTbeats is back this Saturday, January 13 on WTMD during the weekly children’s program Young At Heart! On this month’s segment, host Lisa Mathews sits down for a chat with Hip Hop performer, YA teaching artist, and Maryland Wolf Trap Artist, Jamaal “Mr. Root” Collier.

A dynamic and engaging Hip Hop artist, Jamaal has been working with Young Audiences/Arts for Learning since 2007, has served on its artist roster since 2013, and was named Artist of the Year for 2016. His energy and passion for the arts is boundless, and show in the volume of work he does, not only offering assemblies and long-term residencies in schools, but also providing professional development for teachers.

By incorporating rapping, vocal percussion, and dynamic stage presence, Jamaal articulates his passionate appreciation for his artistry every time he teaches and performs.

During the segment, you’ll hear how the artist, who is also half of the family-friendly beatboxing duo Baby Beats, invites students to learn, listen, and participate.

“(Mr. Root’s program) was a true testament of how you can take learning and make it fun,” said Ms. Hines, Principal of Villa Maria School after the artists’ residency. “He was able to get some of the most resistant kids engaged.”

Jamaal uses rapping, freestyling, and beatboxing to appeal to a variety of learners. His students craft rhyming couplets and non-traditional quatrains to analyze and summarize their course content, gaining a deeper understanding of lesson material through elements of Hip Hop.

Take a look for yourself:

Staci Taustine, Fifth Grade Teacher at F.L. Templeton Preparatory Academy said that through her class’ residency with Mr. Root, students didn’t just advance academically, but socially.

“My students learned how to be vulnerable with one another, brave enough to share their feelings, and empowered to use their voices to express everything they learned,” she said. “Each and every one of my students came away with a unique perspective on who they are as individuals.”

Jamaal’s passion for the arts is clear, as is the impact it has had on his life. “Our life without the arts can be so empty,” he has said. Thankfully, the artist shares the power of art, music, and rhyme with students and their teachers across the state of Maryland every day.

Young At Heart airs weekly from 7 to 8 am on Saturdays, featuring music that appeals to parents and children alike. Previous shows have featured music by Wilco, David Bowie, Andrew & Polly, Weezer, and others.

Hear Jamaal “Mr. Root” Collier online now:

Mr. Root’s Summer Arts Learning Academy students took the stage at Artscape 2017 and rocked the crowd!

Maryland Wolf Trap Residency with Katherine Lyons

Mrs. Lee and Ms. Lyons
Katherine Lyons and Mrs. Lee

Unique and innovative arts-based strategies are captivating young audiences in Maryland classrooms. At Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City, the very youngest students are excited to connect to literature with actress and master teaching artist Katherine Lyons through movement and theater as part of a Maryland Wolf Trap residency.

Students pin predictions on a clothesline

Katherine creates what she describes as “hands-on, multi-sensory story experiences” by having children actively participate in the telling of the story. Physical motions are assigned to important objects and costumes help illustrate characters. To prepare for Katherine’s arrival on this day, Pre-K teacher Mrs. Lee asked her students to draw what they think will happen in the story. They hung one prediction on a clothesline.

Now, at the front of the room, between Katherine and Mrs. Lee sits a ‘story box’ filled with clues describing the characters in the story. One by one, a student pulls from the box a tool or an article of clothing, then the class takes turns guessing who the clues belong to.

a chef and an artist
a mail carrier

As each character is identified, one student hangs a picture representing the character on the clothesline and another student becomes the character. The students use each of their senses to connect to the story, made ever more lively through the introduction of gestures, chants, and props. “Costumes help bring the story to life,” Mrs. Lee said. “The class is more interested and invested in story time when they get to use props and act it out.”

Farmers Digging and Planting
Mimicking the movements a character makes (digging and planting)

Once story time is completed, Katherine and Mrs. Lee begin planning lessons that they will co-teach. Every Wolf Trap program includes embedded professional development to build teachers’ skills and confidence in arts integration techniques. Teaching artists work with classroom teachers to learn effective ways to engage students in participatory activities that involve all the senses and encourage critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. This ensures that the arts remain a strong part of the classroom teachers’ lessons long after the residency ends.

Mrs. Lee plans to continue to use these new strategies during an instruction block that includes literacy, social studies and science, but she’s excited to try them out in other areas of the curriculum as well. “I may use the story box with some counting stories and to help illustrate word problems in math!”

assigning a gesture for a box with a top

Eighty-five percent of brain development occurs during the first five years of a child’s life. Participation in the arts encourages positive growth in a child’s emotional, physical, intellectual, creative, and social development. As the Maryland affiliate of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Young Audiences expands access to the arts for Maryland’s youngest students during the critical early learning years. Bring a Maryland Wolf Trap 16-Session Residency into your school.

YA and Wolf Trap Present ‘Beautiful Surprises’ at 2016 Arts Education Partnership National Forum

Beautiful Surprises
A scene from “Beautiful Surprises,” a short documentary highlighting how arts-integrated learning can have a powerful —and sometimes unexpected— impact on students and educators through the Maryland Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts Program.

The Arts Education Partnership, a national network of organizations, is dedicated to advancing the arts in education through research, policy, and practice. Its annual conference, Arts Education Partnership National Forum: The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success, Oct. 5-7 in Denver, Colo., draws some of the nation’s most influential arts and education leaders. Attendees convene to explore arts-centered solutions as states across the country implement higher learning expectations aimed at ensuring America’s young people leave high school ready for college, careers, and citizenship.

The AEP National Forum provides a valuable platform for examining rigorous research, promising education policy, and effective practices designed to significantly improve student outcomes, both during the school day and out-of-school time. Young Audiences/Arts for Learning of Maryland and Arts for Learning/Miami are joining the Wolf Trap Institute to present Beautiful Surprises: Reaching Learners with Special Needs through Arts Integration to attendees of this year’s conference.

During the session, panelists from Wolf Trap and Young Audiences will share the short-film “Beautiful Surprises,” explore the substantial benefits of early childhood arts integration for learners with disabilities, and provide ten steps to designing an inclusion program. Panelists include:

Jennifer Cooper
Director, Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts

Kurtis Donnelly
Director, Maryland Wolf Trap
Chief Operating Officer, Young Audiences of Maryland

Betsy Mullins
Director, South Florida Wolf Trap
Artist Services Director, Arts for Learning, Miami

Sue Trainor
Master Teaching Artist, Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts

Arts integration is a valuable tool for reaching multiple learning styles across the curriculum and is linked to enhanced academic outcomes and social/emotional development, including for children with special needs. Wolf Trap Institute affiliates Young Audiences/Arts for Learning of Maryland and Arts for Learning/Miami are both making great strides in their communities by providing intensive inclusion training for teaching artists.

Learn more about our work in early childhood education through the Maryland Wolf Trap program. Get more information on the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) National Forum: The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success and join the conversation online with #AEPNF16.

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.

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.

Why Do the Arts Matter? Lisa Mathews

Why Do the Arts Matter? with Lisa Mathews

[youtube https://youtu.be/ShmRroV0dso]

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.

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.

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.

Meet our new artists: Valerie Branch

valerie

During the last two years, our roster has grown in size to encompass new artists, ensembles, and art forms. From slam poets to improvisers to Capoeira masters, these new artists are undeniably unique.

To introduce audiences to our new artists, we’ll be posting interviews with those who recently joined our roster, giving them a chance to share more about themselves and their experiences with Young Audiences so far.

What is your background as an artist?

I graduated from University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. Since graduation, I have been at the forefront and background of different dance organizations and have traveled around the world as a result of my passion for dance.

The first company I danced with was Lesole’s Dance Project, a traditional South African dance company where I was able to hone in on my leadership, creativity, organizational skills, and learn and appreciate a new form of dance. I served as rehearsal director, administrative and fundraising support staff and learned how to make a dance company successful. The Director and I worked together to create and organize an edu-dance program for young students in South Africa, which we were successful in implementing two years in a row.

In 2011, I was invited to Copenhagen, Denmark as a visiting artist to explore the country’s culture and art. As a result, REVISION dance collaborative (a company in which I co-directed its first season) had the opportunity to perform in and be part of the Kids Euro Festival where we performed in locations throughout Washington, DC.

How did you hear about Young Audiences?

I heard about Young Audiences through Laura Schandelmeir, who had partnered with Young Audiences through the Maryland Wolf Trap program as a teaching artist. Laura was one of my professors at UMCP and is a wonderful dance educator, and someone whom I have had the opportunity to be inspired by.

You recently completed the Teaching Artist Institute (TAI) Seminar this spring. What was your favorite part of the program? How has that experience changed your approach to a program or your teaching practices?

Saying that I loved the TAI program is an understatement. Though I have been working with students within and outside of the classroom for years, I felt that this program truly changed the way I think about and approach my lessons, teachers, and students. I really appreciated Karen Bernstein, the dance facilitator on staff. Karen truly guided and provided me with advice so I could grow. I felt that Karen was the true support that I needed. She gave me feedback when I needed it; let me struggle in order to figure out what I needed to do; and was there when I needed encouragement. So often in programs like this, artists just receive a generalization of arts education/arts integration and then have to figure out: “What should I do with my art form and where do I start?” It was helpful to receive a plethora of examples from different artists. I enjoyed that the staff was fun and made the experience fun.

What made you decide to become a YA roster artist?

I initially joined Young Audiences as a Maryland Wolf Trap Teaching Artist serving preschool classrooms. In my first year on the Young Audiences roster, my opportunities have grown tremendously to reach older students and I am appreciative of that. Being part of the Young Audiences organization, I truly feel like I am growing and developing as an artist–where I am right now in my career is exactly where I want to be. Taking this journey has allowed me to focus on my career, taking everything that I have learned and witnessed throughout the early stages in my career, and create something new.

valeriesummer

Have you had any programs through YA yet? If yes, what was the most memorable part? If no, what are you most looking forward to?

I love teaching within the classroom and working with the teacher and the students to explore learning and understanding subject matter through movement. I am really looking forward to assemblies!

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

Children need to be allowed to think creatively and develop their own opinions. They need to develop their critical thinking skills at an early stage so that they have a clear understanding of why they think the way they do and why they feel a certain way about different situations. They have to develop their own understanding of how to accomplish tasks. The arts provide a creative outlet by allowing them to explore, imagine, and test new ideas. The arts target a different area of their brain, and once students have this experience it opens them to new possibilities. It allows them to take risks in the classroom that they may have been shy to before an arts experience. The arts help to develop self-confidence.

What does your art form in particular teach students?

Self-confidence, patience, respect for self and others, and focus. It also gives them an understanding of their own bodies–they find out new and exciting things that their limbs can explore, plus they learn their own limitations and to appreciate what others can do.

Learn more about Valerie Branch Dance Ensemble’s offerings through Young Audiences.

Keep an eye out for more interviews featuring our newest roster artists! See past new artist interviews here.

Donor Spotlight: Jen and Michael Sachs

As a former preschool and kindergarten teacher, Jen Sachs often used music and theatre to engage her students. Although Jen lacked formal training in the arts or arts integration, she sang and used costumes and characters to encourage her students to participate in lessons. These small changes made a big impact.

“The benefits for my students were amazing,” Jen said. “They learned and obtained concepts quicker. They were able to express themselves better. They loved coming to school and appreciated new experiences.”

Seeing the impact of the arts on students is one of the reasons Jen was drawn to Young Audiences and became a Sunburst Society member in 2010.

Jen is particularly excited that Young Audiences has expanded into early learning classrooms as the Maryland sponsor of the Wolf Trap Institute’s Early Learning Through the Arts.

“The arts programs that include music, visual arts, and theatre are extremely important for developing minds,” Jen said. “Children are learning as they are doing. Whether they are building vocabulary through music and theatre or demonstrating the acquisition of knowledge through dance and movement—they are gaining vital skills for life and learning.”

Using Wolf Trap’s respected residency model, Young Audiences is bringing programs to Baltimore City preschool and kindergarten classrooms by off-setting the cost with community support.

“Low-income students often have limited opportunities to experience the arts in school,” Jen said. “Young Audiences’ programs fill this void and do more than teach students how to sing, act, dance, or play an instrument—they teach them to believe in themselves.”

Read about the work Young Audiences supporters have helped make possible in our 2013 Annual Report.