Young Audiences Arts for Learning Supports Three Equity-Focused Initiatives Through FY22 Affiliate Development Fund

October 05, 2021 |

Young Audiences Arts for Learning (Young Audiences) has awarded three Affiliate Development Fund (ADF) grants for FY22 to support initiatives across the national Young Audiences Arts for Learning network (YA Network) that address issues of racial justice impacting historically marginalized communities.

Each year, the ADF supports innovative projects and initiatives that advance the organizational development of individual affiliates and build capacity across the YA Network as a whole. As part of Young Audiences’ commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA), FY21 and FY22 ADF awards are focused specifically on developing racial equity-centered projects.

We commend the winning organizations for their leadership, vision, and commitment to advancing equity through this important work. Read below for details on each ADF-funded project.


Young Audiences of Louisiana - Community Conversations for Transformative Change (CCTC)

With ADF support, YALA will launch Community Conversations for Transformative Change (CCTC), which will extend its DEIA initiatives to focus on the most important educators in children’s lives: caregivers, parents, and guardians. Through the program, YALA will use an appreciative inquiry process to move from making assumptions about the needs of our constituents to amplifying family voices in co-defining what culturally relevant programs and services are developed for an individual school community. CCTC will unfold in three parts: (1) soliciting ongoing feedback from students’ families through formal surveys and informal dialogue; (2) conducting three family discussion forums led by community culture-bearers; and (3) in partnership with the New Orleans Public Library, offering free passes to cultural institutions, building awareness and access to local artistic offerings. CCTC will build YALA’s capacity for meaningful dialogue and responsiveness with the diverse families they serve, ultimately creating a replicable framework for family engagement at other schools across the YA network.


Young Audiences of Maryland - Collaborative Growth Project

The Collaborative Growth Project seeks to cultivate a community of Teaching Artists that is accountable to each other, and to Young Audiences of Maryland (YAMD), through a Teaching Artist practice that is anti-racist and rooted in racial justice. Ten participating Teaching Artists will participate in a series of workshops and accompanying one-on-one mentorship sessions, designed and led by YAMD Teaching Artist collaborators, to reimagine their classroom practice through an anti-racist lens. Participants will choose either to work on building their Teaching Artist material from the “ground up,” or by investigating, questioning, and unpacking their current work to explore how it can be transformed. The Collaborative Growth Project is committed to building a critical consciousness among teaching peers, and furthering the longevity of artistic teaching careers grounded in justice, humanity, and healing in the classroom. The resulting workshop curriculum could be adopted by fellow Young Audiences affiliates throughout the country, leading to a wider network of engaged roster artists committed to liberation-led learning for all.


Young Audiences of Northern California - DEAI Professional Development for Teaching Artists

Young Audiences of Northern California (YANC) will launch a multi-pronged initiative centered on Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) for its roster of Teaching Artists. Through the project, YANC’s staff and Artist Allies Group will together host a series of professional development sessions for YANC’s Teaching Artists. Consulting with The Justice Project, the Artist Allies Group will demonstrate and model the infusion of DEAI practices within Teaching Artist residency programs. With further consultant support, Teaching Artists will receive one-on-one coaching around adapting their work through a DEAI lens. The goal is to connect arts for learning to students’ lives and surrounding communities where they live, learn and play. Using qualitative and quantitative data to assess the impact of the initiative, YANC will refine a model of DEAI-centered peer-to-peer mentoring and feedback that may be shared more broadly across the network.


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

Emily House
Young Audiences Arts for Learning