Young Audiences and The Right Brain Initiative: FAQs » Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington

Young Audiences and The Right Brain Initiative: FAQs

On Tuesday, January 28, 2020 the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) announced organization-wide changes to reflect a new vision and priorities. Part of those changes include moving management of The Right Brain Initiative, an arts integration program, to RACC’s long-time partner Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington. Below are FAQs about these changes. 

Read the joint announcement from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington here.

Key Contacts
Kim Strelchun, Right Brain Initiative Director, kstrelchun@therightbraininitiative.org, 503-225-5900 x.229
Contact Kim about district contracts, bringing The Right Brain Initiative to your school or district, fund balance statements, the operating committee, artist residency contracts, school liaisons, professional development, and Arts Integration Specialists.


Cary Clarke, Executive Director, cary@ya-or.org, 503-225-5900 x. 228
Contact Cary with press inquiries, district contract questions, Operating Committee schedule, and bringing The Right Brain Initiative to your school or district.


Josephine Kuever, Program Operations Manager, josephine@ya-or.org, 503-225-5900 x. 231
Contact Josephine about fund balance statements.

General Information

Is The Right Brain Initiative closing?

No. The Right Brain Initiative is still going strong to serve our region. The Right Brain Initiative has always been a collaborative effort among many partners including school districts, nonprofits, artists, government, business, philanthropy and community leaders. The change to the program structure announced on 1/28/20 is that Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington, an arts education non-profit organization which has been a key Right Brain partner since the initiative’s inception, will now be the Managing Partner moving forward instead of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). RACC is restructuring to focus on its core missions of grant-making, public art and advocacy for the arts, including arts education.

Why is RACC making this change?

This change in structure allows RACC and Young Audiences to focus on their core missions and doing what they do best. For Young Audiences, that is providing the programs and services needed to bring together our community’s students and artists. You can read more about RACC’s current focus and direction here.  

Who is Young Audiences?  Why are they managing the program now?

Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington is our region’s cornerstone arts education organization, guided by the mission “to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts.” Young Audiences (YA) has been serving our region since 1958 and has been a key part of The Right Brain Initiative since its inception. We provide services of many kinds to support artists, educators and youth, and the focus of Right Brain – arts integration (i.e. using the arts to help kids learn about other subjects) is one of our focuses. We also believe – and research shows – that creative learning opportunities can help with all sorts of positive skill development and outcomes for young people. Each year we serve around 70,000 young people in about 200 school and community sites throughout our region. We are longtime proud partners in The Right Brain Initiative and take our new role as manager of the program with great seriousness (and fun, too!).

What will happen next year?

The Right Brain Initiative will continue to serve children and classrooms across our region. The initiative will also continue to evolve as it always has. This winter and spring, Young Audiences leadership will meet with Right Brain school districts to discuss how the initiative and arts education can best support their communities’ goals and needs moving forward. We will also meet with teaching artists and other community stakeholders to bring their voices into the process. We are committed to this program being responsive to your needs and look forward to collaborating on the evolution of Right Brain and how to ensure its sustainability.

District and School Information

For districts, who will manage our contract?  Who is our point person?

Your current contract, or work order, with RACC is in effect through June 30, 2020. YA will issue your next work order in the summer of 2020 for the 2020-21 school year. Kim Strelchun at Young Audiences will be the district liaison for The Right Brain Initiative to develop this with you.

What about my upcoming residency?

All residencies will continue as planned.  Schools should remain in contact with their teaching artists.  If you have not booked your residency yet, you will continue with the Residency Request process on the Right Brain website. 

Where are our funds?  Will we lose our carryover funds? How do we access them?

Your district Right Brain funds are safe and sound and ready to be used. Your funds will transfer from RACC to Young Audiences this spring. You will not lose your carryover funds. Your Right Brain monthly balance fund statements have been generated by Young Audiences and will continue to be. Questions about your fund balance statement can go to Kim Strelchun or Josephine Kuever at Young Audiences. You will continue to access your residency funds in the same way.  Young Audiences will continue to manage residencies. Your residency contracts will be processed in the same manner. Questions? Contact Kim Strelchun.

Will the Operating Committee continue to meet? When and where?

Yes, your partnership in this program is critical. We will keep the dates previously scheduled for this school year. We will remind you of the dates as they approach and provide updates on meeting locations and agendas.

Will Summer Symposium happen this June?

We will not continue with Summer Symposium at this time as we work with the Right Brain community to plan for the future. In addition to Right Brain professional learning opportunities, Young Audiences provides a rich calendar of professional learning opportunities for teaching artists and arts-engaged educators that you can learn more about here as well as workshops for classroom teachers.

What if we want to join or expand The Right Brain Initiative in our district?

We would love to speak you and learn more about your needs. Please contact Kim Strelchun or Cary Clarke to discuss.

As a school liaison, will I still receive my stipend?

Yes, stipends for your additional work will still be available this school year.  Please submit invoices to Kim Strelchun.

What if we don’t want to continue with The Right Brain Initiative?

We value your partnership and the opportunity to discuss your needs. Please contact Kim Strelchun or Cary Clarke to discuss.

Who is my Arts Integration Specialist?  Who is my contact at The Right Brain Initiative?

All staff support for The Right Brain Initiative will now be housed at Young Audiences. The staff member assigned to your school will be in touch with your principal and Arts Integration Leadership Team member. We have a great staff at Young Audiences who know  artists, schools and districts well and are excited to support them. We have been supporting teaching artists and educators as part of Right Brain since its launch and know the initiative well. For now, you should direct all questions to Kim Strelchun.

Will there still be professional development offerings this year?

Yes, we hope to honor all professional development commitments.  In late January, early February, we will be transitioning staff and reviewing the calendared commitments for the remainder of this school year.  Please contact Kim Strelchun if you had something calendared with an Arts Integration Specialist.  While we plan to honor all previously scheduled events, we anticipate a period of transition and rescheduling in February.

Teaching Artist Information

Am I still on the Right Brain roster? Am I being added to Young Audiences roster?

All teaching artists on the Right Brain roster are still on the Right Brain roster, and all artists on the Young Audiences roster are still on the Young Audiences roster. There are no changes to anyone’s roster status at this time. We look forward to continuing to support you.  

Will Summer Symposium happen this June?

We will not continue with Summer Symposium at this time as we work with the Right Brain community to plan for the future. In addition to Right Brain professional learning opportunities, Young Audiences provides a rich calendar of professional learning opportunities for teaching artists and arts-engaged educators that you can learn more about here as well as workshops for classroom teachers.

Do I still have a Teaching Artist Specialist to support me?

Yes, Young Audiences staff – including the Teaching Artist Specialists you have been working with this year – will continue to provide support to The Right Brain Initiative teaching artist roster.

Are you adding new artists to the roster?

Young Audiences will review the artist application process in the spring.  Until that time, requests for information about joining the roster can be sent to Kim Strelchun or Maia McCarthy, Artist Program Specialist (maia@ya-or.org or 503-225-5900 ext. 234)

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