Mission & Objectives: It is the mission of Young Audiences of Connecticut (YAC) to make the arts an integral part of the lives of children in school and community settings, to enhance their development as creative and productive human beings. YAC believes that these educational programs are essential components of a comprehensive educational framework and integral to a complete curriculum, which will benefit and fulfill the educational needs of all Connecticut’s children. The objectives of YAC are:
1. To ensure the arts are included as an integral part of all school’s curriculum;
2. To provide resources and services to schools, libraries, and community organizations, which assist and facilitate the provision of high quality arts education program;
3. To involve and encourage students to participate actively in the study of all art disciplines.
History: Young Audiences of Connecticut was established in 1979 as one of the current 35 state chapters and affiliates of Young Audiences, Inc., the largest not-for-profit, educational arts organization in the country. An essential element of the YAC mission is the assurance that the arts will be an integral part of the curriculum of all schools, not simply an inconsistently applied supplement. By using the arts as a catalyst, students are more readily able to explore and express emotions, discover diverse cultures, expand their creative imaginations and utilize independent thinking skills. As a result, their educational experience becomes richer, more meaningful, and retained longer. YAC believes the arts assist the learning process of all students and recent studies have shown them to be over 30% more essential to the learning process of disadvantaged youth by making the learning environment more impartial and providing an outlet for the frustrations that may accompany a low socio-economic status.
YAC offers a range of programs broad enough to benefit and appeal to students and teachers in grades K-12 throughout CT, for all learning levels, cultures, and ethnic and socio-economic groups. The success of YAC programs is due to the roster of 53 highly professional artists whose educational and interactive performances, classroom workshops, residencies, and teacher in-service workshops help to demonstrate the importance of inclusion of the arts on a daily basis. YAC is the only arts-in-education organization in Connecticut that blankets the state in this manner and whose sole mission is to provide the very best in arts programs that will dovetail with classroom learning and educational curriculum.
Current Programs and Accomplishments: For 25 years, YAC has grown from an arts organization providing exclusively artistic school assembly performances to a comprehensive arts-in-education resource. YAC builds on the arts experiences in schools by working with libraries, museums, arts and community centers, after-school programs, and youth correctional facilities to provide a continuum of creativity. Over the last five years, YAC has seen significant expansion. The 2003/04 year of school programs and workshops has topped all previous years so that YAC now serves more than 86% of CT towns, reaching approximately 350,000 K-12 students and teachers each year. Five years ago, YAC scheduled 182 workshops. In the 2003/04 academic year, YAC scheduled over 900 workshops and 1,300 performances. The growth can be attributed to eh high standards of artistic and educational excellence as well as the emphasis YAC places on the value of intimate, engaging arts experiences.
YAC, as Connecticut’s single largest provider of professional artists, has a roster that represents more cultural and ethnic groups than ever before. Because of their own diversity, YAC’s artists are able to connect with children whose language or culture derives from Africa, Brazil, China, India, Japan, South America, Spain and peripherally many other countries and cultures. Their presentations and workshops address the needs as well as the positive similarity and differences of students of all races, nationalities, socio-economic backgrounds, and physical and cognitive abilities.