Looking Forward – Bringing Light, Courage, and Joy to Students ☀️

Updated April 4, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy and that you will have all you need in the coming weeks.

The spring is usually our busiest time with teaching artists performing, leading students in hands-on artmaking residencies, and working side by side with teachers to support creative teaching strategies. When schools close, Young Audiences loses its “venue.” In a matter of days, we found our entire Spring suite of programs cancelled—over 230 performances and 120 workshops, reaching over 60,000 students. And, like so many other organizations, we postponed our signature fundraiser, Dazzle. We are feeling the loss so common right now. But our sadness and concern does not keep us from looking forward.

We know that the arts are an essential component of a child’s education, regardless of how they are being educated. We are inspired by endless sharing of the arts that people are doing now, as we adjust to this new normal. Everyone is an arts lover now, because we all need the warmth and connection, the energy and expression, that the arts offer.

While we may not be in school buildings right now, we are continuing our mission to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts. We want to share all that we are doing now:

☀️ Prioritizing the well-being of the YA team, we committed to paying all YA artists 100% of their lost wages through June 30th, in addition to preserving 100% staffing through June 30th. This was made possible by generous donors and funders, and the YA board designating funds from our Operating Reserve.

☀️ We have launched a free series of mini assembly performances, Arts Connection. Every week, we will release two new videos of YA assemblies, designed to engage, enliven and excite children, teachers and families.

☀️ We launched the YA Artist Innovation Fund, to support artists’ innovative remote/online arts education experiences.

☀️ We’re talking with educators and school partners about their needs right now–we’d love to hear from you! Connect with our staff via email.

☀️ We’ve added a COVID-19 Resource page to our website, which we’ll update with relevant resources for teachers, students, parents and artists.

The road ahead will likely present more unexpected challenges. Nevertheless we are committed to creating bright spots and moments of connection during this difficult time. We know that imagination and creativity are our greatest tools for weathering this crisis. We go forward inspired by the possibilities that the arts offer,  and ask you to join us in the spirit of creativity.  Tell a story, sing a song, dance in the kitchen, doodle, pick up your old flute/guitar/drum, learn to juggle, take a photo…however creativity speaks to you, listen.  We’ll be doing the same!

Wishing you health and light,
Image of Michele Russo's Signature
Michele Russo
President & CEO