Putting the ART in HeART


“I can’t think of a better time than Valentine’s Day to thank our donors and share the impact of your donations on the children and educators of our region.”

-Michele Russo, President & CEO

We’re launching this e-newsletter to keep you up-to-date (and inspired) about the transformative work of arts education happening in classrooms everyday. YA ♥ our donors!

The Roll Challenge

As you might remember, in December our Board Chair, Belinda Roll, and her husband, Ferrill, offered a $100,000 matching challenge. You rose to the challenge and helped us exceed the $100,000 goal, raising a grand total of $210,940. The success of this challenge is a milestone for Young Audiences and will help us develop new programs, partner with new schools, and bring us closer to our goal of reaching every child, every year.

Thank you for doing something beautiful: bringing arts experiences to students throughout the region.

Program Spotlight: The Adopt-a-School Initiative

Students learn Chinese calligraphy

Students learn Chinese calligraphy

Donors have supported Young Audiences’ Adopt-a-School Initiative every year since 2006 and have helped grow the program to serve thousands of elementary and middle school students each year. Funds provide schools with performances and hands-on art making with professional teaching artists. For many of these students, Young Audiences programs are their first time seeing a live performance. While we served just four schools in Trenton during the first year of the program, we now serve thousands of students at over 30 schools in cities and towns throughout the region.

In support of the 10th anniversary of the Adopt-a-School Initiative, our donors joined with our corporate and foundation sponsors to support the Initiative. Donors who attended Dazzle donated to help YA expand the Initiative to serve more schools, including several in Camden. At the next Dazzle in April 2017, students from Camden’s Wiggins Elementary School will perform hip hop dance they are currently learning during a residency with Hip Hop Fundamentals.

Click here to learn more about Dazzle or to get tickets to see Wiggins students perform.

Poetry and Percussion in Philadelphia

Students work on drumming with Josh Robinson

Students work on drumming with Josh Robinson

Teaching artists bring a passion for an art form that often wakens creativity and interest from students who are bored or disconnected in the classroom. This spring, students at James Lowell Elementary School in Philadelphia will work Young Audiences artists Jacob Winterstein and Josh Robinson during a Poetry and Percussion residency.

The residency will start with a school-wide performance by Josh and Jacob, exploring how rhythms and spoken word can awaken the inner artist. Students experience both verbal and non-verbal ways to express themselves, while being inspired to develop their own unique voices – one word, one beat at a time. During following workshops, students explore the power of rhythms and words, combining these tools to tell their own stories. Students will learn how to play percussion instruments and compose their own “Rhythm Poems,” or rhythms made from the syllables of words.

“I believe that we all have a lot to teach and learn from each other. During my workshops I encourage participants to write from a place of expertise, usually their lived experiences. My workshops focus on getting participants to generate ideas and focus on the people, places, and memories that are important to them.”

-Jacob Winterstein, teaching artist

At the end of the program, students will perform their rhythm poems and collaborative poems for the whole school community.

See Young Audiences Teaching Artists in Action

Learn more about the impact arts education has on students by visiting a Young Audiences program at a school near you. Contact Ann Betterton at abetterton@yanjep.org or 609-243-9000 ext. 205 for more information.