We inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts

A Letter to Our Community During COVID-19

Young Audiences has always been a connector, bringing together artists, schools, and communities through our core programs and The Right Brain Initiative to produce powerful creative learning experiences for students. We are working hard to continue to do this in a time when so many of us are suddenly disconnected.

Our primary goal is to continue to deliver high quality arts learning experiences to young people. Kids in our community are experiencing a massive change in their day-to-day life, and that change might be difficult or even scary for many of them. The joy of creativity can help us overcome fear, sustain hope, and build resilience; it’s something to look forward to, and it’s something that can carry us through difficult times. Now, more than ever, we want to make sure young people have access to all the magic and joy the arts have to offer!

When it comes to arts learning, we are fortunate in that the arts have always had the power to connect people across national borders and generational divides. Our programs have traditionally placed artists and kids in the same room, but as schools and districts begin to unveil their plans for the coming months, we are pivoting toward supporting students at home, and we are excited to learn and grow alongside our community as we explore different ways for creativity to blossom.

Teaching artists on our rosters are already doing amazing work to bring arts learning to kids where they are, and we are working to support these efforts and to get the word out so every child can benefit. We are also collaborating with teaching artists to bring their lessons online so that the arts can continue to be an integral part of learning, no matter where that learning takes place. We are even working with schools to set up alternative Run for the Arts events, with students running in place or having a dance party at home instead of “laps!”

We have been doing all we can to support our Young Audiences and Right Brain Initiative roster artists, and we will continue to do so. We are working with our teaching artists to reschedule their cancelled programs or find alternative solutions that work for artists and schools. We are also working with donors, school partners and districts to try to make sure artists are paid for the sessions that have been cancelled due to school closures.

We encourage you to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter (which will temporarily be weekly rather than monthly). We will be regularly sharing awesome arts learning opportunities and resources for kids, parents, teaching artists, and our whole arts education community. This will include online and mail-delivery arts learning content from our roster teaching artists, ideas and prompts from the Brain Food activity deck, community resources and ways to support one another, and much more!

Most importantly, we hope you will spread the word to parents and caretakers—we want to make sure our resources and the support of our community is reaching as many people as possible. You can also share your own ideas, opportunities, and resources with us so we can help get the word out to the rest of the community.

If you are looking for other ways to help, please give to the Portland Area Artist Emergency Fund if you are able, and spread the word. This fund is not limited to Young Audiences roster artists and is being distributed to a wide range of freelance and independent artists suffering from a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Young Audiences supports these relief efforts, but if you would like to give to Young Audiences directly, you can make a contribution at ya-or.org/join-us/donate.

Thank you so much for your understanding and support in this time of uncertainty. We know that with such a wonderful community, we can use the power of the arts to not only carry us all through, but also create something amazing along the way!

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