Where We Live: Reaching Children Where They Live & Play

As part of our goal to reach children where they learn, live, and play with meaningful arts engagement, Young Audiences of Northern California (YANC) has launched Where We Live: Community Housing Workshops to bring arts experiences into the homes of San Francisco Bay Area children and their families.

Partnering with Eden Housing, an organization that provides low-income housing to families around the Bay Area, YANC launched the pilot program at Eden’s newly opened Alta Mira Family Apartments in Hayward this past fall. Professional teaching artists conducted hour-long visual arts workshops on-site, on weekends and after school, at no charge to residents. As part of the program, art created by children at the workshops was collected, professionally photographed, and printed on canvas to display as artwork in hallways and other common areas of the apartment complex.

Alta Mira Family Apartments opened at the end of October 2016, shortly before the workshops began. By coming into a brand-new apartment complex, YANC’s workshops served as a powerful catalyst to establishing community; families and children met each other for the first time while creating shared artwork for their new home. The workshops became an event that children and families looked forward to, with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings joining in to create artwork together.

With the completion of these workshops, now the families all enjoy and take pride in the beautifully crafted canvas reproductions of their children’s work that hang throughout the apartment building. At the formal grand opening of the Alta Mira Family Apartments in April 2017, Barbara Halliday, the mayor of Hayward, was gifted one of these canvases to hang in her office.

The Where We Live pilot program has proven to be a great success and has generated interest from other housing developments around the Bay Area, including other Eden Housing complexes. We are excited for the future of this program as we continue reaching children where they live and play through meaningful arts engagement.

Key Outcomes:

  • Expanded out-of-school programming to reach more East Bay young people where they live and play
  • Increased accessibility to arts learning and arts engagement for low-income communities by scheduling on-site workshops with input from residents and staff
  • Conducted 9 visual arts workshops, with 30 children attending each session, ages 2 to 14
  • Teaching Artists Lisa Bradley Haaga and Lucia Leal led visual arts sessions that produced watercolor, oil pastel and paper collage artworks
  • Offered entirely free workshop sessions, including art supplies, for all residents

To learn more about this program, or to get involved, please contact Program Manager Christell Lewis at christell@ya-nc.org or (415) 974-5554 ext. 7262.

Attention Middle & High Schools!

I Am/We Are

Young Audiences of Northern California works with AXIS Dance Company, New Conservatory Theatre Center's YouthAware, and San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus to bring powerful and socially-relevant assembly performances to Bay Area middle and high schools with our "I Am/We Are" program. With timely and necessary exploration of the challenges facing teens in today's America, these three performing arts groups showcase honest and diverse perspectives through theatre, dance, and music. 

Participating Arts Organizations: 
AXIS Dance Company showcases contemporary dance choreography that emphasizes collaboration among people of all physical abilities. Performances promote tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance. Students leave with a broader definition of what dance can be and what a dancer looks like and are empowered with the message that anything is possible.
New Conservatory Theatre Center’s YouthAware program features Outspoken, a fast-paced and often funny play for middle and high school students. Realistic, young characters tackle a range of teen concerns—gender expression, sexual identity, body image and self-esteem, labeling and stereotyping—demonstrating interactions from the productive to the utterly dysfunctional.
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ RHYTHM (Reaching Hearts of Youth Through Hope and Music) program presents choral performances by their 18-30 member ensembles that reflects diverse voices and faces. Each performance includes choral singing, sharing of anecdotes from ensemble members with the audience, and a Q&A opportunity.  Relying heavily on the “It Gets Better” national campaign, RHYTHM unites allies in solidarity against the pervasive climate of bullying and teen violence.
Please note: These new programs are now available with some scheduling limitations.  If you are interested in learning more about this project, don’t hesitate to call Christell soon: christell@ya-nc.org or call her directly at (415) 974-5554, ext. 7262 for more information about this program.