We have a rich history that goes back to 1955 in Virginia. From our humble beginnings with a single string ensemble and a handful of volunteers, our organization has grown to become a nonprofit with scores of professional artists in various artistic disciplines who perform and teach hundreds of programs a year.
In our first decade we worked in the Hampton Roads area with the Feldman String Quartet and visited 20 schools. In the 1960s, the Norfolk Chapter of Young Audiences was independently incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and our programming increased to 90 hours per year. During our third decade, the 1970s, we hired our first professional staff and our programs doubled. Our organization changed its name to reflect our entire service area, and we became the Virginia Chapter of Young Audiences, Inc. In the 1980s, our programs expanded extensively into Central, Southwestern, and Northern Virginia, as well as North Carolina and West Virginia. During this productive decade, our board of directors elected to change our name to Young Audiences of Virginia, Inc.
In the 1990s, our organization expanded significantly, and we provided more than 900 hours of programming in schools throughout the state as we began to integrate our arts curriculum with the Virginia Standards of Learning mandated by the Virginia Department of Education. Our national organization, Young Audiences received the National Medal of Arts, which President Bill Clinton presented to one of our national board members, Yo-Yo Ma, at the White House.
Our work in schools, libraries, and community centers continued to grow and evolve in the next two decades; in response, in 2019 we changed our name to Arts for Learning, the Virginia affiliate of Young Audiences, which more clearly communicated what our organization does, while honoring the rich history and dynamic connection we have with the Young Audiences’ network across the country. Since the pandemic hit in 2020, we have developed innovative new services, from arts-integrated virtual learning to bilingual art activity kits, as we work to reach more children in new and meaningful ways.
OUR MISSION IS TO INSPIRE AND ENGAGE STUDENTS IN AND THROUGH THE ARTS!
At 68 years young, we have impacted the lives of more than 10 million Virginia students. We look forward to continuing to provide the very best in arts-education programming service to students, educators, and families throughout Virginia. Each year we strive to positively impact the lives of more youth than we did the year before as we integrate the arts into education through performances, workshops, residencies, and virtual learning.
Every day, this organization does what the classroom teacher may not have the time or the resources to do – we engage the imagination and spirit of children through the life-changing power of the arts!
Young Audiences of Virginia, Inc., doing business as Arts for Learning, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EIN 54-6063377, eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. We have earned the highest ratings possible from Charity Navigator and GuideStar/Candid.