Press Release: More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide Includes $20,000 awarded to Young Audiences


More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide

Includes $20,000 awarded to Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern PA

PRINCETON, NJ; June 27, 2017 — National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $20,000 to Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania to continue the Creativity Consultant Project that brings professional learning opportunities in arts integration to educators and artist residencies to students.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Young Audiences in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

Young Audiences President & CEO Michele Russo expressed, “We are honored to be the recipient of this grant from the NEA. Since 2011 the Creativity Consultant Project has supported classroom teachers to incorporate arts integration strategies into their teaching. We’ve seen firsthand how impactful this kind of teaching can be on student learning. This grant will allow us to expand our work and continue to develop best practices.”

Creativity Consultant Project Teaching Artist and EducatorYoung Audiences Creativity Consultant Project is a professional learning program that trains and empowers classroom teachers to integrate the arts (visual, dance, media, theater, visual and literary) across the curriculum. Participating schools identify classroom teachers that become a creativity team. The team is paired with a master teaching artist, called a Creativity Consultant. This group works throughout the school year to cooperatively plan lessons, model innovative techniques of arts integration, co-teach lessons, and de-brief. By giving educators the tools, knowledge, and confidence to regularly embed the arts into their practice, teachers increase student learning by developing methods of reaching all learners, enhancing student engagement, fostering problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and promoting creativity in every aspect of student learning.

Arts integration strategies help teachers meet students’ needs. The Creativity Consultant Project is an individualized professional development program that helps teachers learn to address pedagogical challenges and increase student learning through arts integration strategies. The project’s goal is to teach skills and empower teachers to integrate the arts and the creative process with other curricula after the Creativity Consultant has left. Through this comprehensive professional development model, teachers are better able to meet Core Curriculum Content Standards and 21st Century Skills by fostering creativity and innovation, supporting effective communication, enhancing problem-solving skills, improving critical thinking skills, and encouraging flexibility and adaptability.

Patricia Albertson, Educator at Mercer County Special Services Elementary School shared, “Several years ago I was given the opportunity to participate in the Young Audiences’ Creativity Consultant Project, a collaboration to implement student centered arts experiences where teachers work one-on-one with teaching artist to support personal teaching goals and enrich student learning experiences in the arts and in other subjects. It was a breath of fresh air. Working with the amazingly supportive, knowledgeable, creative YA Creativity Consultants rejuvenated and reinforced my belief that the development and implementation of arts centered work wasn’t a ‘luxury’ but a necessity. What started out with a handful of teachers was gaining momentum. For many teachers, the project returned us to our roots. Collaborating with a Creativity Consultant inspired activities that enabled all learners to participate in their own way – the experience was truly invigorating and contagious.”

NEA funding with matching funds from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and additional funding from The Victoria Foundation will support 13 schools, 30 teachers and their students.

PHOTO CAPTION: Young Audiences teaching artist Triada Samaras and educators working together in a Creativity Consultant Project workshop.


Founded in 1973, Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania is the premier arts-in-education resource in the region, providing high-quality performances and artist-in-residence programs to nearly 700 schools each year. Young Audiences’ extensive professional artist roster represents all art forms—from dance and theater to music, language and visual arts. The organization annually reaches nearly 500,000 children pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

A not-for-profit organization, Young Audiences’ programs are accessible to all socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and geographic communities, and are designed to strengthen the arts in schools, meet local and state curriculum standards, involve families in arts activities, and enrich cultural life in New Jersey and Pennsylvania communities.

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania 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 To be “social” with us, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @YANJEPA and on Instagram @young_audiences_njepa.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to


Denyce Mylson

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania

609-243-9000 x202