Defending Childhood – Using the Arts to Protect Children from Violence

October 12, 2011

Young Audiences had the honor of presenting at the Defending Childhood training conference on September 23rd.  The topic was “Together, We Have the Power to Stop Violence.” The purpose of the conference is to ensure that children are protected and healed from exposure to violence.

Why would Young Audiences, an arts education organization, be invited to speak at the Defending Childhood conference?

Kristan Rothman and Jimmie Woody

To answer that question, we invite you to read the following comments presented at the conference by Kristan Rothman, Special Projects Manager at Young Audiences:

Young Audiences is not a social service organization. We do not have social workers or therapists on our staff. We do not only seek to serve disadvantaged or at-risk populations.  Those are not our areas of expertise.

However, we ARE experts at the arts. We are skilled at working with partners to find solutions for whatever issues they are trying to address. We believe that the arts are for everyone. That the arts are powerful and effective tools which break through social, emotional, and physical barriers that may separate people from learning, healing, and connecting with one another.

Children may experience trauma for a variety of reasons. Death of a parent or sibling, natural disaster, loss of their home, etc. And in many cases, children may be subjected to ongoing forms of trauma like neglect, physical and emotional abuse, and multiple changes in foster care settings.

The arts are nothing but sensory. They are a means of communicating, often without the need for language, allowing children to express what they experienced in the way they first experienced it – through touch, sound, and images. Because the arts are limitless, and because there are no wrong answers, they can be used at any developmental level to build relationships between children and adults and open the lines of nonverbal communication.  Everyone can find success in the arts, regardless of their circumstances, and finding that success can create hope and promote self-confidence; two elements absolutely necessary for building resilience. Using a combination of creative interventions and developmentally appropriate psychotherapy can be a first step in moving a traumatized child along a continuum of healing.

ArtWorks dancers

ArtWorks dancers

As children progress from relying on the art forms that do not require verbal communication, they can be engaged in creative interventions such as poetry, storytelling, and songwriting.

Despite all our planning, there are often times when we have little or no information about the background and experiences of the children we’re serving.  But we know that the arts can empower children by teaching them alternate methods of expressing themselves.

Young Audiences theater artist Jimmie Woody and Sonia Ferencik, LISW-S, MSSA, Child Trauma Services Coordinator, Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center spoke to attendees about how the arts are currently being used to reduce trauma, build resilience, and promote healing. Two dance performances titled Chaos and Stuttering were presented by the Young Audiences ArtWorks Dance Apprentices. In addition, Young Audiences presented two digital stories created by students that showed how that art form can be used as a way for children to express their experiences.


Artist of the Month — Young Audiences Is Giving Away a Free Program!

October 4, 2011

Win a Kristen Cliffel Program
Enter a drawing to win a free Kristen Cliffel program. Send an email to with the following informationKristen Cliffel:

  • first and last name
  • school or organization name
  • email and phone number
  • your connection to the school or organization (principal, teacher, student, parent, librarian etc).

Submit your entry by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7th. The winner will be announced on Monday, October 10th on the Young Audiences website home page One entry per person please.

Discounted Programs All Month Long
During the month of October Young Audiences is offering a 10% discount on any Kristen Cliffel program. The program(s) must be scheduled by the end of the month and must take place before June 30, 2012. Call 216-561-5005 or email to bring Kristen to your school or organization.

Kristen CliffelKristen Cliffel is a ceramic sculptor who loves working with children of all ages to create beautiful, three dimensional works of art.   Click here to more about Kristen Cliffel and the Artist of the Month program.

Stay Tuned for More Free Programs from Young Audiences 
Each month this school year Young Audiences will feature an artist. A drawing will be held for one free program and discounts offered on the monthly featured artist. You can find information about the monthly featured artist in blast emails from Young Audiences or on our website. To sign up for Young Audiences’ blast emails, click here.

Free Grant Writing Workshops This Month

October 4, 2011

Want to bring a Young Audiences visiting artist to your school but lack funds? Don’t give up — consider applying for a grant!

Young Audiences is offering two grant writing workshops to help teachers, parents or others interested in learning how to secure funding. This free, one-hour workshop will help you understand how foundations make awards as well as how to plan a fundable project and write a convincing grant proposal. Anyone is welcome to attend but note that the focus of this workshop will be on grant writing for arts education projects in partnership with Young Audiences.

Two dates and locations for your convenience:

Tuesday, October 18, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Lee Road Library

2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. Meeting Room A

Monday, October 24, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Westlake Porter Public Library

27333 Center Ridge Road, Westlake. Dover Meeting Room B

The workshop is free, but please register.  To register for the Cleveland Heights location, click here.To register for the Westlake location, click here.