The grant was spent as originally proposed on personnel (Teaching Artist payroll – wages and taxes). Some professional development activity for Teaching Artists which was to have been funded by a Getty Education and Community Investment Grant had to be postponed until August, after the June 30 deadline to spend their grant funds. We secured permission from staff at the Yakima Valley Community Foundation to use the remaining funds for these professional development activities in August and from Getty to use the equivalent amount of their funds for payroll costs prior to June 30. These activities included a Dalcroze workshop and a non-profit administration ‘boot camp’ hosted by faculty of the Arts Leadership Program at Seattle University.
The Yakima Symphony Orchestra requested Foundation funding in order to continue to contribute substantively to the growth of a community collaboration that addresses the needs of children and families in Yakima in a way that also supports our ability to fulfill our own mission of providing symphonic performances of the highest quality and exceptional educational programs. Despite a significant administrative transition over the past summer, from their original status as a program of OIC of Washington to interim status as a subsidiary program of YSO (en route to independent non-profit status), YAMA has launched programming for the 2015-16 academic year with 66 students from ten schools (grades 3-8), with a stronger administrative infrastructure and with a staff of Teaching Artists that is more committed than ever to the success of the program. Integration with the Longy-WolfBrown National Sistema Evaluation Project has already begun for 2015-16, and this should yield increasingly helpful data in planning for future growth; our hope is for expansion in 2016-17 to better serve older YAMA students as they begin to ‘age out’ of the elementary school environment.
Our newest YSO Teaching Artist moved to Yakima from the west side of the state in part because of the existence of YAMA, and another elected to drop plans for medical school in order to commit more fully to the program. This is entirely consistent with YSO’s long-term goal to create a culture of community engagement that serves to attract like-minded musicians to live and work in the Yakima Valley. The professional development activity that was funded by YVCF supports two areas of growth: a healthy relationship of personal artistry to pedagogy, and the capacity for Teaching Artists to contribute in meaningful ways to the management and growth of YAMA into an independent non-profit entity. As we work to rebalance YSO’s Teaching Artist funding from primarily grants toward sustained multi-year local support (another goal mentioned in our proposal), Memorial Family of Services has signed on as our lead YSO Teaching Artist Sponsor for 2015-16. YVCF support has provided a crucial bridge as YSO’s administrative and funding infrastructure has become strong enough to secure new community funding for this program.
You can learn more about Yakima Symphony Orchestra on their website.