As with so many non-profit organizations, the final days of the calendar year are big ones for fundraising and calls to Watch our Video! and Donate HERE! The truth is, an essential part of our funding comes from individual donations. These flexible funds allow us to not only cover operating costs (paper and lightbulbs), but also to take on creative ways of fulfilling our mission “to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts.” As an organization we do a lot of story telling: who we are, who our program reach, why it matters. With this year-end giving campaign, we’ve also heard from a few staff members about why Young Audiences matters to them: not as employees, but as people, as the young people they once were. Here are just a few excerpts.
Allison Tigard, Programs Director:
As a professional actor, people often ask me if I have a “day job” and I proudly tell them about my non-profit, Young Audiences. Although my my work here takes place during the day, it is not a place that I just clock in to. I have the privilege of getting to show up here, as I have now for over 5 years, because I was that kid that NEEDED the arts. Painfully shy, I sat in a corner and didn’t talk to anyone until 4th grade when I got to do the school play. And, subsequently, I became a voracious reader. Before drama class, I struggled to finish books. Afterwards, the library became a mecca of dramatic possibilities. There are lots of those kids out there. If you are planning to give in the next few days, please consider Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington. There’s no way to predict the tremendous impact that the arts can have on a young soul.
Briana Linden, The Right Brain Initiative Teaching Artist Program Manager:
I remember when I was a kid at Boise-Eliot elementary and we ran for the arts… and Obo Addy came to our school and performed due to the $ we raised. I felt pretty darn proud that I helped make that happen. Fast forward to my nephew running for the arts, and making an amazing clay birdbath with an artist brought in with the funds they raised. HE felt pretty darn proud. Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington brings creative experiences to kids… Run for the Arts is just ONE of the many ways, and such a great one… I love that we empower kids to receive arts experiences; but shouldn’t creativity be an ongoing, everyday part of their world? Please consider YA in your year-end giving. I did!
Christi Crowley, Development Director:
Growing up I was lucky enough to be surrounded by art. I was encouraged both at home and in school to create and explore music, theatre, and visual arts. At the time I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have music in school, to have an art teacher on staff, to be able to attend classes at Grandstreet Theatre, and to have a family that valued and encouraged creativity. There is no way to quantify the impact that the arts have had on me and on my family see. But I do know that without music, theatre, and the arts I wouldn’t be as empathetic, inquisitive, expressive, confident, or creative and those are things I would not want to give up.
Things are different today. Schools are cutting the arts across the board and young people no longer have the opportunities I did. Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington is working incredibly hard to change that. We want ALL kids in our community to have inspiring and engaging arts experiences, and with your help we can make it happen!
And from me, Julie Hammond, Grants & Marketing Coordinator:
From my first play at age 5 (I was an elf) to carving and printing wood block cards in elementary school, making ceramics as a high school freshman and playing tuba as a senior (yes, this is true), the arts have been an essential part of my life. Learning how to create art gave me a way to explore the world — not only through music and books but also through study, collaborations, and tours to Hungary, England, Mexico, Poland, and across the US. As a member of a professional ensemble theatre, art continues to show me what possiblities there are to build bridges and make connections among people and peoples. For the last 55 years, Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington has given kids across Oregon a chance to discover who they are and what they can become through the arts. In these last few days of 2013, I hope you can support this amazing organization that is sparking the brave new artists of the coming decades.
Please share your stories of why they arts matter to you today or the impact they had on you as a child. And of course, it’s not too late to make 2014 a big year for young people across our region. Click here to give, and thanks.