Despite Challenges, YA is Innovating
First, the reality of COVID at Young Audiences…
We are feeling a severe impact. YA’s venues and partners are schools where teaching artists offer performances, residencies, professional learning, and family programs. Since March 1 when schools closed, despite efforts to reduce fixed expenses and eliminate all non-critical spending, we are experiencing:
- Cancellations of 952 programs,
- Lost wages to artists of $400,000, and
- An estimated organizational deficit of over $200,000 for June 30, 2020.
As we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, we are strategizing scenarios that consider a loss of access to school venues, drastic cuts or elimination of arts funding, and loss of contributed funds from donors.
Now the good news…
Despite these challenges, our mission continues to inspire us. We are determined to support students, teachers, and teaching artists, while finding innovative ways to connect children with arts experiences wherever – and however – their schooling is taking place.
☀️Soon after schools transitioned to remote learning, we launched ARTS CONNECTION, a weekly interactive, student-focused video series that allows teaching artists to continue to be a bright spot in every child’s day. Every Monday, we release engaging new assembly program content, free on YouTube, to help children across the region stay connected and inspired by the arts while learning from home. Thanks to the popularity and sharing of the video series, we’ve seen a 50% increase in new YouTube subscribers and a 220% increase in views over the past month.
☀️We are developing student-focused Live Virtual Arts Experiences, with assembly performances and workshops offered through Google Classroom, Flipboard, and Zoom. Staff is working closely with an initial cohort of teaching artists to develop, rehearse, and implement virtual school programming to be available to schools in June and next school year.
☀️With teaching artists facing losses of $400,000 in wages, we’ve collaborated with funders and donors to offer artists financial support. Generous individual donors and foundations were flexible in providing unspent grants funds that we allocated to artist relief.
☀️To further support artists—and innovate—we launched the Artist Innovation Fund. The Fund’s first initiative is an RFP to teaching artists with grants of $500-$2,000 to create online resources to get students, teachers, families, and fellow teaching artists through the period of school closures and beyond. To date we’ve funded 21 programs…more to come soon.
Thank you for your steadfast support of Young Audiences during this challenging time. Stay healthy and safe.