In 2017, 15-year-old pianist Matthew Whitaker released his debut album, Outta the Box!, all thanks to his experience with Young Audiences Arts for Learning. Founded over 65 years ago in New York City, Young Audiences is a nonprofit that promotes creativity, critical thinking, and cultural awareness for students ages 4 to 18 nationwide. The organization partners with nearly 7,000 schools to curate after-school programs and summer camps, and reaches more than 5 million students each year.
With a focus on an arts-rich education, Young Audiences began by producing chamber musical recitals for children. Now the organization has expanded to include several curriculum-based initiatives in music, dance, theater, literature, media, and visual arts.
Among them are a partnership with the American Place Theatre that uses live performances of classic American literature to encourage the exploration of modern social issues; a program that brings parents into schools and allows them to participate alongside their children and educators; and resources that connect high school students with real-world professionals in digital media, music production, and visual arts.
All workshops are spearheaded by professional New York City artists and are available to students of any socioeconomic background, geographic area, and ability. And the skills that the children develop are only collateral to the program’s core benefit—the confidence to succeed in school, work, and life.
Young Audiences New York is now just one chapter among 31 affiliates sharing a common vision throughout the country. The national conglomerate welcomes volunteer work in any capacity, from participation in school programs to fundraising, as well as simple donations.
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