YA Honors Artists and Arts Supporters at the 2021 Virtual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education


Date: May 20, 2021


Denyce Mylson

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania

609-243-9000 x202

[email protected]

Young Audiences Honors Artists and Arts Supporters at the  

2021 Virtual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

PRINCETON, NJ; May 20, 2021 — On Saturday, May 22nd at 5pm, Young Audiences Arts for Learning NJ & Eastern PA (YA), the area’s largest arts education non-profit, will honor artists and arts supporters at the 41st annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education in a virtual awards ceremony. The prestigious Governor’s Awards are co-sponsored by Art Ed NJ, the New Jersey Department of Education, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. YA is on the Steering Committee of the awards, which are hailed as the highest honor in arts education in the state. Initiated in 1980 the awards recognize the creativity, talent, and leadership of those impacting arts education in the region.

The award ceremony will include remarks from state officials, messages from alumni, and performances from past and present award recipients. All are welcome to attend this free event by registering at www.njgaae.org

Young Audiences Arts for Learning Awardees include:

  • Corporate Philanthropy Award
    • Enrico A. Della Corna, Regional President, PNC Bank, New Jersey
  • Distinguished Service Award
    • Diane Genco, The Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities (NJSACC)
    • Everett Kline, Young Audiences, Trustee
    • Josh Robinson, Young Audiences, Teaching Artist
    • TAHIRA, Young Audiences, Teaching Artist
    • Sharon White, Young Audiences, Trustee
  • Arts Education Award
    • 123 Andrés, Andrés Salguero and Christina Sanabria, Young Audiences, Performance Artist Group

Enrico Della Corna, PNC Bank New Jersey Regional President

“PNC has a long history of supporting the arts organizations in our state, like Young Audiences Arts for Learning New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania,” shared Enrico Della Corna, PNC Bank New Jersey Regional President. “The arts not only bring us together but also contribute the economic health and vitality of the places where we live, work and play.”

Diane Genco, Executive Director of NJSACC

“I am honored to accept this award,” expressed Diane Genco, Executive Director of NJSACC. “The arts opened my eyes to experiences and feelings I could never have imagined. My school provided opportunities to attend a symphony, see a live play and dance performances. In my out of school time, my Brownie troop attended a Van Gogh Exhibit when I was 7 years old. All children should have the opportunities I had to experience the arts. In school and afterschool, Young Audiences is a driving force in the delivery of these experiences.”

Everett Kline, Young Audiences Trustee

“I am humbled and deeply appreciative of this personal honor,” said Everett Kline, Young Audiences Trustee. “More distinguished, however, is the service that the State’s art organizations have provided as they confronted the challenges faced over the last 18 months and planned for the very real social and emotional needs young people will have as they emerge from the isolation of the pandemic. No organization better represents this commitment than Young Audiences. The staff led the artists to create newly configured programs to ensure that all students, while isolated, still had engaging access to transformative experiences in the arts. I am proud to have been a part.”

Josh Robinson, Young Audiences Teaching Artist

“I am grateful to be receiving this award, which I see is a result of years of meaningful work serving children in a state that truly values arts education and integration, shared Josh Robinson, a professional percussionist, teaching artist, and drum facilitator. “I feel fortunate to be living my passion for drumming and music while helping and inspiring others along the way. I am grateful to Young Audiences for the now 17-year (and counting) collaboration that has nurtured my creativity and growth as an artist while providing countless opportunities to lead workshops, assemblies, and professional development in schools. We represent a safe and accepting space where children can learn, explore, and create without judgment or test scores. The arts are learning and growth disguised as fun while making true connections to each other and the world. I am excited to continue this journey and promise to lead with my heart, be authentic, and share my art and passion with as many communities as possible.”

TAHIRA, Young Audiences Teaching Artist

“My great joy is seeing how storytelling sparks the imagination and nurtures all parts of the human experience,” expressed, TAHIRA, an award-winning storyteller, performing and teaching artist. “It enables young people to connect with each other and the world around them but most importantly it is a vehicle for them to see themselves and honor their unique voices and perspectives. This award affirms for me that my work as an artist and arts advocate is valued. I am so grateful to Young Audiences for providing me with immeasurable opportunities to use my talents to positively impact the lives of our youth.”

Sharon White, Young Audiences Trustee

“I am thrilled to receive this award,” shared Sharon White, Young Audiences Trustee. “It is an honor to serve an organization dedicated to bringing the arts to every child; committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion; and supportive of its outstanding teaching artists in challenging times. I know that visual and performing arts will continue to thrive in a post-pandemic world and continue to bring joy and future creativity in us all. Thank you, Young Audiences.”

Andrés Salguero & Christina Sanabria, 123 Andrés, Young Audiences’ Performance Artist Group


“When we performed in-person, students would come up to us after the performance and say things like ‘My dad is from Guatemala’ or ‘I’m learning Spanish from my grandma,'” said Andrés Salguero of 123 Andrés. “Now that we are virtual, that is still happening – even if they have to remember to unmute first! Through arts experiences, we can provide cultural affirmation for students, and opportunities for other students to experience something new.”

“In the days leading up to the pandemic shutdowns, in March 2020, we were performing in schools in New Jersey. Now, over a year later, thanks to YA’s support and to the tenacity of school staff everywhere, we continue performing in schools virtually, and bringing the best aspects of this new virtual medium to what we do,” expressed Christina Sanabria of 123 Andrés. “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized for our efforts as teaching artists.”

Michele Russo, Young Audiences President & CEO

“Young Audiences is grateful to Arts Ed NJ for their leadership of the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education,” shared Michele Russo, YA’s President & CEO. “With the ongoing challenges we face it is so important to pause to celebrate, experience the joy that the arts bring, and to recognize those who, through their actions and work, create a vision for the future.”


About Young Audiences Arts for Learning

Founded in 1973, Young Audiences Arts for Learning NJ & Eastern PA is the premier arts education partner in the region, collaborating to provide high-quality performances and artist-in-residence programs to schools in all 21 counties of New Jersey and the 7 easternmost counties of Pennsylvania. Young Audiences’ extensive professional teaching artists represent all art forms—from dance and theater to music, language, and visual arts. YA programs are designed to be child-centered, outcome driven, and measurably effective, providing children with the opportunity to experience quality art; understand the art form and its cultural context; create their own original art; and connect art to their own life and learning. Since its founding, the organization has reached over 15 million children with essential arts education experiences.

A not-for-profit organization, Young Audiences’ mission is to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts. As an organization that brings arts education into schools, we understand that our work exists within systems that perpetuate inequities and bias. We are committed to creating safe spaces and delivering programs that are inclusive of race, gender, ability, family structure, religion, and other lived experiences. We developed a policy and action plan for our antiracist, anti-oppression work and incorporated it into our strategic plan.

Young Audiences is the first arts education organization designated as a major service organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and, as part of the national network of Young Audiences, Inc., was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.

Young Audiences programs are made possible in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. Additional funding comes from foundations, corporations and generous individuals. To learn more, visit www.yanjep.org. To be “social” with us, join us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and Twitter at @yaaflorg.

About The Governor’s Awards

The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education program is presented by NJ State Council on the Arts and Arts Ed NJ. The program goals include: increasing public awareness of the high level of excellence in arts education in New Jersey’s schools, providing public recognition for the schools, agencies, and school districts represented by the award honorees, and increasing public awareness of the state organizations that support and recognize high-quality arts education. The program is a partnership of the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, and the Department of State. Additional support is provided by the Planning Council including: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Forensic League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania. The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education is a major collaborative effort of across the arts, education and state government. – See more at: www.njgaae.org/gearing-up-for-the-governors-awards-2021/