Seven New Executive Leaders Appointed Across the National Young Audiences Arts for Learning Network  

August 19, 2021 |

Young Audiences Arts for Learning, the nation’s largest arts in education network, is proud to introduce seven new executive leaders who have recently been appointed to head YA affiliates across the country: Anya Aslanova, Arts for Learning Indiana; Sheffia Dooley, Center for Arts-Inspired Learning; Cathy Hung, Young Audiences New York; Lauren Jost, Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington; Laura King, Young Audiences of Abilene; and Richard Bates and Jenny James, Young Audiences of Louisiana.


“We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding new leaders to the national Young Audiences Arts for Learning network,” said David A. Dik, National Executive Director of YA. “They join us at a crucial time for arts in education; their leadership will play an important role in ensuring that the arts remain an integral part of students’ lives and learning during the coming school year and in the post-COVID era.”


ANYA ASLANOVA, Arts for Learning Indiana (Indianapolis, IN)

The Indiana affiliate of Young Audiences, Arts for Learning Indiana, is pleased to welcome Anya Aslanova as its new President. Anya joined the organization on July 6, bringing over 20 years of experience working in arts administration and leadership, marketing, fundraising, and program development. Anya was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, and came to the United States as a high-school exchange student. Before joining Arts for Learning Indiana, she served as Director of Educational Development at the Indianapolis Art Center and oversaw database management at Indianapolis’s Park Tudor School.  

Anya Anslanova headshotm white woman with light hair and dark suit with hand on her hip

SHEFFIA DOOLEY, Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (Cleveland, OH)

Sheffia Randall Dooley was appointed the new CEO and President of The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (CAL) on July 1. An experienced arts administrator and leader, Sheffia has been cultivating creativity, innovation, and inclusivity in Northeast Ohio for over 20 years. Dooley is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and a 2019-2020 recipient of the Cleveland Public Theater Premiere Artist Fellowship.  

Sheffia Dooley, woman with dark skin and dark hair with a blue background and animal print shirt

CATHY HUNG, Young Audiences New York (New York, NY)

Young Audiences New York (YANY) is thrilled to welcome Cathy Hung as Executive Director, who joined the organization on July 12. Cathy brings deep experience in the New York City and international arts education arenas, notably as former Executive Director at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (Queens, NY) as well as the New York Chinese Cultural Center. A pianist and native of Taiwan, Cathy serves on the Board of the New Yorkers for Culture and the Arts and is a mayoral appointee of the New York City’s Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Tourism Advisory Council. 

Kathy Hung, woman with light skin and short dark hair

LAUREN JOST, Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington (Portland, OR)

On May 3, Lauren Jost became the new Executive Director of Young Audiences Arts for Learning’s Portland-based affiliate. Lauren brings lived experience of being a teaching artist, as well as expertise in successful grant writing, program development, and more. Having developed both a depth and breadth of skills as an arts education consultant, Founding Artistic Director of Spellbound Theater in NYC, and as the current board president of the Association of Teaching Artists, Lauren will help guide the organization into its next chapter.

Lauren Jost headshot, woman with light skin, short dark hair, and glasses

LAURA KING, Young Audiences of Abilene (Abilene, TX)

Laura King was appointed as Executive Director of Young Audiences of Abilene in August of 2021. With a background in education, she spent 17 years as an elementary school teacher and enjoyed YA of Abilene’s programs with her students. As a lifelong education enthusiast, she is dedicated to serving Abilene's youth through her new role. 

Laura King Headshot - Woman with light skin and long dark hair

Meanwhile, Young Audiences of Louisiana (YALA) recently announced two appointments to the organization’s executive leadership: Jenny James and Richard Bates will co-lead the organization as Executive Directors. 

JENNY JAMES, Young Audiences of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

Since 2008, Jenny James has worked in a variety of capacities at Young Audiences of Louisiana (YALA). As Director of Education, she designed and implemented innovative programming and community partnerships to meet the ever-changing needs of children and families. With the guiding principle that all young people deserve access to a well-rounded, arts-rich education, Jenny is committed to weaving diversity, equity, inclusion, and access into YALA’s DNA. Her co-leadership of YALA will focus on community programs and services. 

Jenny James, woman with shoulder length blonde hair, light complexion, and a floral shirt

RICHARD BATES, Young Audiences of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

A native New Orleanian, Richard Bates began his career with YALA in 1999. As Associate Director, he has supported the organizational growth of YALA’s programs and operations. In addition to supervising federal funding for arts-based youth development programs in the region, Richard has been active in national and state policy related to afterschool and extended learning. As Executive Director, Richard will continue to grow and support YALA’s operations.  

Richard Bates, man with light skin, blonde hair, wearing a dark suit and purple tie

About Young Audiences Arts for Learning

Founded in 1952, Young Audiences Arts for Learning is the nation’s largest art-in-education network, serving more than 5 million young people each year. Young Audiences works to support its diverse network of affiliated organizations that are each dedicated to playing a decisive role in young people’s personal, artistic, and educational development. Learn more about Young Audiences and its mission to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts at