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Thank you for all you do to support Arts Learning
Because program fees alone cannot keep us running, we are asking you to choose arts learning as your cause on this day of giving by making a contribution to our #GivingTuesday fundraiser.

Will the arts be available to the next generation of students? It’s up to you.
Young Audiences of Massachusetts is a small non-profit with a statewide mission. Your arts learning resource, we can only bring children of all backgrounds and abilities the best learning-focused arts programs in every genre, from cultures around the world, with the financial support of Arts Champions like yourself.
Thank you for keeping arts in our children’s education.


The arts teach me…
“…expression in a different way”
“…to show your core values and never give up”
“…that when somebody needs help I can step up and help them”
-Students in a yearlong YAMA arts residencies


Youth Arts Coordinator Summit

On May 16, a dedicated and inspiring crew of youth arts coordinators, both new and seasoned, came together in Weston with YAMA staff, volunteers and artists,  for inspiration, networking, training, resources and great conversation. Thank you to all who made this event such a success!

YAMA artists and staff told stories about how arts learning shaped our lives.

YAMA teaching artists led coordinators in impromptu arts workshops. Participants told us this was “a great way to get to know artists and other coordinators” and that they “liked being put in the student’s position to gain perspective on their experience.”

Coordinators and artists shared their thoughts about what goes into successful arts programming. Later, the content of each flip chart was emailed to participants.

Coordinators had the chance to mingle with YAMA artists and learn about their programs. One coordinator told us she, “didn’t really understand” one of our programs from reading the descriptions” but that, “after talking with the artist for 20 minutes, I can’t WAIT for him to work with my students.”

While experienced coordinators had a spirited discussion of best practices, new coordinators learned the ropes in our resource-rich “boot camp” breakout.


Participants were treated to a special preview performance by new YAMA artist, Veronica Robles.

Thanks again to all who participated. We look forward to more great conversations and events with our arts learning community!
If you missed this year’s Summit, but would like to see the Best Practices flip charts generated by participants, please fill out the form below.


Boston ArtWeek, April 28 – May 7, 2017

YAMA is proud to participate in our third Boston ArtWeek!

Presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center, ArtWeek is an award-winning bi-annual creative festival featuring more than 150 unique, unexpected, and creative experiences that are participatory, interactive, or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process. Born in Boston, ArtWeek has grown so rapidly since its 2013 launch that it now serves communities throughout all of Eastern Massachusetts.


YAMA’s Free Event:
May 2, 4PM-4:45 PM
Chinatown Neighborhood Center

From Across The Sea

Two instrumental immigrants, the European violin and the Chinese erhu (a two-stringed traditional instrument) meet with the audience in a dynamic, family-friendly 45-minute program led by master musician and Young Audiences of Massachusetts teaching artist Shaw Pong Liu. This interactive performance includes folk music from China, Europe, and the United States, as well as audience-created new music, with the audience participating as singers, composers, and body-percussionists.

This is being performed for the opening of a new art center at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, also an ArtWeek event! Families from all over are invited to come to the heart of Chinese culture in Boston to take this musical and educational journey.

 “From Across the Seas” is an adaption of the Young Audiences of Massachusetts program, “Exploring China: ‘The Middle Kingdom’ Through Music and Story” an arts learning program usually performed for school assemblies during the school day. It teaches audiences about cross-cultural communication through the eyes and experiences of a Chinese-American musician and traveler.

Learn More About Boston ArtsWeek

#ArtsMatter Advocacy Day

On March 28, Young Audiences of Massachusetts is partnering with MASSCreative for Arts Matter Advocacy Day, to show our state political leaders that arts matter in Massachusetts.

Beginning at the Paramount Center in downtown Boston, Arts Matter Advocacy Day will bring together the statewide creative community for a half-day event, featuring speakers, performers, connecting with colleagues, and an “Arts Matter March” to the State House to meet with our legislators.

RSVP to attend Arts Matter Advocacy Day

Expanding Arts Ed in MA Through Title I Funds

Ytitleiou are invited to join the Arts For All Coalition  to hear Laura Smyth from the  California Alliance for Arts Education talk about how California school districts have been utilizing arts programs to achieve the goals of Title I by facilitating student engagement and learning, strengthening parent involvement, and improving school climate and school wide behavior.

Title I provides federal funds to help improve academic performance of under-resourced communities and students. It is the largest single source of federal education dollars.

Join us to hear what we can do here in Massachusetts to expand arts education in schools and districts across the Commonwealth. 

RSVP to MassCreative to join us in Worcester:
Monday, December 5, 2016, 4:00-5:30PM
Worcester Art Museum
55 Salisbury Street, Worcester
The event will conclude with a brief 15-20 minute tour of the new
exhibition by Ed Emberely, renowned children’s book illustrator.  Thank you to the Worcester Cultural Coalition and the Worcester Art Museum for sponsoring this event.

RSVP to MassCreative to join us in Natick:
Monday, December 5, 2016, 7:00-8:30PM
Walnut Hill School for the Arts
12 Highland Street, Natick

Specifically for principals, superintendents and arts education staff:
RSVP to MassCreative to join us in Roxbury:
Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 10:00AM-12:00PM
Bolling Building in Dudley Square
2300 Washington Street, Boston

We look forward to learning with you,

Arts For All Coalition
Arts|Learning, EdVestorsBoston Public Schools, Project LEARN – Lowell, MassCreative, MassINC, and Young Audience of Massachusetts



#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration  Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving  and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

Make Arts Learning Your Cause



YAMA Celebrates #ArtsMatterDay


#ArtsMatter because…

#ArtsMatter because they help us discover who we are and how we can change the world – Melissa Bergstrom, YAMA Program Coordinator, actor and writer.


#ArtsMatter because they are the most powerful tools we have for learning about our selves and one another. -Jason Rabin, YAMA Marketing & Development Manager, writer and musician.

Why do #ArtsMatter to you? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.







PrintWe are thrilled to be participating in our 2nd ArtWeek Boston!

Presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by Citi Performing Arts Center, ArtWeek is an award-winning bi-annual creative festival featuring more than 150 unique, unexpected, and creative experiences that are participatory, interactive, or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process. Born in Boston, ArtWeek has grown so rapidly since its 2013 launch that it now serves communities throughout all of Eastern Massachusetts. This year’s events take place September 30 – October 9, 2016.

For this year’s festival, we are teaming up with the Bostonian Society to bring Nancy’s Bell’s Spinning History: Heroines on the Home Front to the historic Old State House, a stop on Boston’s Freedom Trail.

MaynardOctober 7, 2016, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Spinning History: Heroines on the Home Front
Old Stage House, 206 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02109

Learn about the patriotic women who took to the spinning wheel to help our nation win its independence! In the Old State House, a stop on Boston’s Freedom Trail, hand-spinner and Young Audiences of Massachusetts teaching artist Nancy Bell tells the story of the young female rebels who learned to spin in order to create a new homegrown textile industry in the colonies. Wearing historically accurate hand-sewn dress, Nancy sings the movement’s propaganda songs, demonstrates their spinning techniques and invites audience members to come up for a closer look at the materials and tools of the era.

To gain free admission, register via Eventbrite

4 Ways to Celebrate National Arts in Education Week

Arts in Education WeekSeptember 11 – 17, 2016

The arts are an essential part of a complete education, no matter if it happens in the home, school, or community. Students of all ages benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking, and creativity. Celebrating National Arts in Education Week is a way to recognize this impact and share the message with friends, family, and communities.

Voci Angelica performs World Folks Music for school assemblies

Voci Angelica performs World Folks Music for school assemblies

4 Ways to Celebrate

  1. Read and share House Resolution 255, which articulates why Congress values Arts Education
  2. Register for YAMA’s Fall 2016 Performing Artist Showcase, held September 22 at Lowell Community Charter Public School. This free event offers  preview performances of more than 30 dance, music, theater, storytelling, literary and visual arts programs designed especially for schools and other learning centers. It’s a great opportunity to plan your arts learning programming for the year.
  3. Donate to Young Audiences of Massachusetts. We are MA’s non-profit arts learning resource and need your help to reach youth throughout the Commonwealth in schools, libraries, museums, community centers, hospitals and homeless shelters with arts programming that opens minds, awakens perceptions, unlocks potential, expresses culture and brings curriculum vibrantly to life.
  4. Share your own stories about the transformational power of arts education on social media using #ArtsEdWeek


From our Afro-Brazilian Drum and Dance Parade on Boston Common with Grooversity

Click photos to enlarge:


YAMA is thrilled to be part of ArtWeek Boston.

ArtWeekLogoPresented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by Citi Performing Arts Center, ArtWeek is an award-winning bi-annual creative festival featuring more than 100 unique, unexpected, and creative experiences that are participatory, interactive, or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process.

Friday, May 6, 2016
12:30 PM – 1:30PM
Brazilian Drum & Dance Parade

Timbau FlagJoin Young Audiences of Massachusetts drumming ensemble Marcus Santos and Grooversity for a Brazilian street festival experience. With their thunderous and joyful rhythms, these vibrant street percussionists start an impromptu party everywhere they go. Now they are bringing the Brazilian street to the public park, and revelers of all ages are invited to join them. Show your flare, dance to the party beat, and join the parade! The drumming will commence at the Boston Common bandstand and will travel throughout the park.

Meet at the Boston Common bandstand or join the parade wherever you see it!



Melissa BergstromFor Day 6 of National, Young Audiences, Arts For Learning Week, meet one of our Faces of YA.

Melissa Bergstorm is an actress, writer, teaching artist and founding member of the Perpetual Visitors Theater Company, a documentary theater company with a social justice mission. She serves as YAMA’s Program Coordinator.

It’s definitely fair to say that early experiences in arts learning shaped my life’s direction. One of my earliest arts experiences came courtesy of my 6th grade teacher in upstate New York where I grew up, who organized a trip to Toronto where we got to see The Phantom of the Opera. We had studied it for weeks beforehand in class, so by the time I sat in the theatre, I knew the story, some of the songs, and the basic plot. What I was not prepared for was the breathtaking experience of seeing a live performance of professional theatre for one of the first times in my life. I remember thinking “Wow, I had no idea you could grow up and be an actor!”

This experience broke open so many things for me–permission to dream of a creative life, the ability to exercise my imagination through art, and finding connection with others around me who were also aware of the power of performance. I am so grateful to my sixth grade teacher and our parents who helped organize the trip to see Phantom because it inspired me to play the french horn in my school band, join chorus, and keep auditioning for my high school musical, again and again, until I got a part. My pursuit of the arts led me to friends who shared my passion, and together we explored the human experience through art. There are few things in life more satisfying than this.

The arts helped me to gain confidence in myself and discover a community of artists and educators with whom I find kinship. In this way, I cannot imagine my life without the arts, because so many things I treasure most were born of this discovery–of how much art can change us as people, and the way that we can work together to build the kind of world we want to live in. It’s a gift to be able to give that gift back to the young people of Massachusetts.
I really see my work at YAMA of helping to select and develop high quality arts education programs and coordinating performances and workshops at learning centers throughout the state, as a furthering of my personal mission to foster community and individual positive change through the arts.  One profession highlight for me so far was helping to bring an ImprovBoston program to a group of young brain cancer survivors at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Having worked with patients at Dana Farber for a few years in an administrative role, I know the importance of social support and complementary art therapies, and was so grateful to have the chance to see these two pieces of my life collide in this way. I’m excited to see where arts learning takes me next.


For Day 5 of National Young Audiences, Arts For Learning Week, let’s meet another one of our Faces of YA:

Jason Rabin is a musician, a writer and
YAMA’s Marketing & Development Manager.

I am incredibly lucky to have had the benefit of Young Audiences of Massachusetts as a child. There is no doubt that YAMA’s programming helped to shape me as a learner and to make me the person I am today.

I grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and when I was in elementary school, my mother was what we now like to call an “arts champion.” She was on all of the school committees that helped choose arts programming and, when I was very little, would take me to the preview performances. I still remember hearing live classical music for the first time, and listening to the musicians explain how they learned, practiced and performed; seeing an actress tell me about a historical event as if she had been there; and seeing my first play, all in school auditoriums near where I grew up. I even remember a mime performance from the great David Zucker, whom we’re lucky enough to still have on our roster.

It’s no coincidence that after these experiences, I tried my hand at acting, sang in choruses and in bands, and wrote stories throughout my school career (and beyond). Linking these experiences with school was very important for me. For one thing, I have always passionately loved and pursued learning, but there was often much that challenged me about formal education. I didn’t always love the rigidity, the rote memorization without stopping to ask the important “whys,” the emphasis on test results over process, things of that nature. But having arts in school made it a place I was excited to go for different, exciting types of learning, and what’s more, seeing theater, and dance and storytellers made me realize how much all learning is about storytelling, and that I could  grasp academic subjects with far greater ease when I learned to process them narratively.

In time, I became a better and a happier student as well as a life-long performer, writer, and audience member. For a few years, I even worked as a freelance arts journalist, profiling and promoting artists, attending theater openings and concerts every week and happily laboring over how to capture the experiences in words and mine the insights for my readers. When I learned about the opportunity to do something similar for Young Audiences of Massachusetts, the organization that had ignited the sparks for me all those years ago, I jumped at the chance. Now, with your help,  I work everyday to bring the invaluable experiences I had as a student, to children throughout Massachusetts.

For more stories, news and arts advocacy, check out our Facebook Page and our Twitter account, and join the conversation #yaweek.


For Day 4 of National Young Audiences, Arts For Learning Week, let’s meet another one of our Faces of YA:


Corey DePina is a poet, hip hop musician and teaching artist who grew up in Roxbury, MA.

I started doing this work because of my own deep connection with music. Hearing the stories of others from my own community and around the world amazed me. It made me feel connected during a time when I felt lonely growing up.

[Music education] saved my life. It allowed me the access to opportunity and the support I needed to reach my vision and turn my dreams into reality. I became a part of a bigger community that was a lot different than the one I was used to and it provided a place where I had a voice and my vision could be heard. This was true empowerment.

Now I give others the opportunities that were giving to me and more. I first cared about being heard when others cared that I cared. Music is an incredibly powerful tool to share, explain, connect and move on. It is deeply rooted in communities worldwide and those connections are universal.

When I was a freshman in high school I played hooky in gym class because I was obese and could not imagine myself ever standing in front of my classmates in a bathing suit so I skipped for months. My guidance counselor noticed my routine and held my T pass making it virtually impossible to go to school so…I didn’t.

Weeks passed and Bob, [a founder of Zumix, a local community music organization], asked me what was up and I told him. I explained how embarrassed I was about insecurities and how happy I was to finally have someone who listened. Bob came to my high school to represent me and work out a solution. Together we decided that during gym I would hang out with my friends who also skipped to rap and explore Hip Hop. The counselor, Bob, and I worked out an agreement that I would write out a proposal to facilitate a Hip Hop workshop next term. My proposal was accepted and when the next term started I had 20 students taking Hip Hop instead of gym. This was the moment when my life’s work really began.

Why does Arts Learning matter to you? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter #yaweek.


MASSCreative_LogoFor Day 3 of National Young Audiences, Arts For Learning week, we’re highlighting our partner in arts advocacy, MassCreative. This wonderful resource empowers arts organizations and arts champions throughout the Commonwealth to encourage community leaders to support the arts. MassCreative’s current platform and agenda includes calls to:

  •  Increase direct state investment in local, creative communities by increasing the FY2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council budget by $3 million to $17 million.
  • artsmatterEncourage municipalities to support their local creative community by matching the state allocations to their Local Cultural Councils.
  • Develop program to invest in and support the Commonwealth’s 30+ “Cultural Districts”, the centers of creative activity across the state
  • Support one year of high school arts education as an admission requirement to the Massachusetts state university system, while ensuring access for students from low income communities.
  • Encourage investment in arts and cultural programs that benefit youth in need, through identifying new avenues of support
  • Support legislation to develop a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, ARTS, and math) Task Force to include arts into ongoing STEM initiatives

Want to join MassCreative in advocating for the arts? Here’s a great way to get involved:

Now, to get you inspired, some arts in action. Check out this performance by Chhandika at TEDx in Natick:

For more arts in action and arts advocacy, join us on Facebook and Twitter and share your stories.


For Day 2 of National Young Audiences, Arts For Learning Week, let’s meet one of our Faces of YA:

Sarah LH LinkedIn 10-15




A Boston-based classical pianist and arts education advocate, Sarah Leaf-Herrmann has served on the board of Young Audiences of Massachusetts for nine years.

I joined the board of Young Audiences of Massachusetts to raise awareness of the intrinsic value of art education for students of every ability and in every setting. A free, easily accessible arts education is needed to enable students to be full contributors to our 21st century society and economy.

During my early education, Detroit public schools had several choirs, bands, and an orchestra. These classes were part of the curriculum, free and full of energetic students (taught by frazzled teachers!) By the time I was 14, I was studying four instruments, singing in three choirs and performing in two award-winning ensembles.

Although I didn’t have the intrinsic talent to be a professional musician, my teachers and conductors helped me build the self-discipline and the long-term focus needed to excel. I have used these skills throughout my life; I am grateful that I had such a supportive setting to develop my artistic voice.

It is our duty to provide every child in Massachusetts with such an opportunity; to build self-confidence and explore individual gifts while learning with other students about new modes of artistic self-expression.

In classrooms across the state, YAMA teaching artists present thoughtful, curriculum-based, engaging visual and performing arts programs. Please join me in supporting this critical work, to empower and engage the next generation through transformative artistic expression.

Why does Arts Learning matter to you? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter and consider letting your representatives know as well! #YAWeek.

Ready to check out some arts learning opportunities to your students? Take a look at our previews.


Washington DC; USA: The Capitol Building, legislative branch of the US governmentPhoto copyright Lee Foster Photo # 3-washdc83009

Arts partnerships matter for arts learning! For Day 1 of National Young Audiences, Arts For Learning Week, below follows a short video about why #ArtsMatter that we made with this year’s Workshop Showcase host, The Field School in Weston.

Tell us why Arts Learning matters to you on our Facebook page and Twitter account #YAWeek, and consider letting your representatives know, too!

YA Week is also a great time preview arts learning assembly, workshop and residency programs for your school, library, community center or museum.


Washington DC; USA: The Capitol Building, legislative branch of the US government Photo copyright Lee Foster Photo # 3-washdc83009

YA Week is national celebration of Young Audience’s work bringing arts for learning to young people certified by a declaration from the U.S. congress.

-Join us for free previews of YAMA programming.

-Share your highlights from the year of YA progamming with us on facebook and twitter #YAWeek

-Let you local representative know why arts learning matters to you and use #YAWeek

SmARTalk Webinar

Thank you to all those who attended our first SmARTalk Webinar: Successful Arts Programming In Your School. You can download materials from this presentation, here: Webinar Materials

Watch this space for information on more webinars throughout the year.

Is there a topic upon which you’d like us to present? Let us know.