Young Audiences of Virginia first brought arts-in-education programs to Virginia in 1955. From its humble beginnings with a single string ensemble and a handful of volunteers, the organization has grown to one with more nearly 200 professional artists in various artistic disciplines.
In our first decade we worked in the Hampton Roads area with the Feldman String Quartet and visited 20 schools. In the 1960’s the “Norfolk” Chapter of Young Audiences was independently incorporated 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. YAV 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, the organization expanded significantly and we were doing over 900 hours in schools throughout the state. As part of a national network, Young Audiences, Inc. received the National Medal of Arts, which was presented by President Bill Clinton to one of our national board members, Yo Yo Ma, at the White House. During this critical decade of our history, we began to integrate our programming fully into the Virginia Standards of Learning mandated by the State Department of Education.
Now, over 61 years old, we are proud to say that we have impacted the lives of over 10 million Virginia students in the past 60 years. A significant diversification of our programming in the past few years includes the creation of year-round after school residencies and a deepening of our ability to fully integrate the arts into curriculum.
Everyday, this organization does what the classroom teacher may not have the time or the resources to do – Young Audiences engages the imagination and spirit of children through the life-changing power of the arts.