Youth in Arts is a San Rafael-based nonprofit dedicated to providing arts learning for children and teens of all ages and abilities. YIA celebrated its 45th anniversary this year.

I have served on the YIA Board of Directors for the past 9 years. Two of my children participated in ‘til Dawn, the award winning youth a cappella group. Both of them continued on to sing in a cappella groups in college, and my daughter Allie is currently a professional singer in Los Angeles. I’m proud of the education YIA provides to a diverse group of students in Marin, and I want to share information about this vibrant and important arts nonprofit with my MCBA colleagues.

Founded to ensure that local children could have ac- cess to music, dance, theater and visual arts—even as funding for school arts programs declined—YIA now reaches over 20,000 students in the North Bay, and has served an astounding one million children over the past 45 years.

Working with an artistically and culturally diverse roster of mentor artists, YIA offers arts programs that link with other classroom curriculum. Although a wealth of research underscores the value of arts education in enhancing student learning, California public schools are consistently underfunded in the arts. A study by SRI International found that two thirds of Marin’s principals reported that the lack of funds acted as a barrier in providing arts for their students. YIA programs help bridge this gap.

YIA is a long-time partner with the Kennedy Center’s program for in- dividuals with disabilities, providing “Arts Unite Us” residencies tailored for special needs students. This program is the ONLY local arts’ program for special education students.

Dynamic Executive Director Miko Lee, confirms: “It is a core principle that we reach ALL learners through the arts. This means not only our “Arts Unite Us” program for students with special needs, but also programs for the most advanced arts students in our community.”

YIA a cappella group ‘til Dawn is well known throughout Marin for its talented young singers and its performances at community events like the Marin County Fair, as well as for inspiring audiences at most of Marin’s public and private schools. YIA recently founded “C Street Project,” a parallel program for advanced teen visual artists. Alumni of these groups have continued to advanced music and arts study, and have successfully launched careers in the arts, thereby building a new creative generation.

Youth in Arts is proud to have served so many of Marin’s students for the past 45 years, and looks forward to enriching the lives of children for many more.

For more information about Youth in Arts programs, including current classes and events for youth and families, click on the button below.