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Youth In Arts

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Youth in Arts builds visual and performing arts skills through innovative and in-depth programs that foster confidence, compassion and resilience in students of all abilities. We develop capacity among educators and teaching artists, advocate for equitable access to arts education and offer opportunities for youth to share their creative voices.

Results: Youth in Arts was founded in 1970 by local arts advocates dismayed by diminishing resources available for arts education in California schools. In the decades since, our arts programs have served over a million students in their classrooms throughout the North San Francisco Bay Area. Our students have ranged in age from preschool to College of Marin. Youth in Arts became an affiliate of VSA arts (formerly Very Special Arts) in 1981 and we remain the only consistent provider of arts for special education students in Marin. Youth in Arts founded the Italian Street Painting Festival in San Rafael in 1994 and was the sole producer of the Festival for 16 years. The Festival was suspended in 2011 for financial reasons and has since evolved into Italian Street Painting Marin, a separate organization. Since 2011, we have featured an art gallery in downtown San Rafael’s Cultural Arts District dedicated to celebrating youth artists. We have served over a million students since our founding.

Target demographics: youth of every background and ability have the creative skills, compassion, confidence and resilience to share their voices and achieve their goals.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 8,500 students

Geographic areas served: the North Bay Area of California

Programs: Artists in the Schools and Arts Unite Us that provide residencies in music, theatre, dance, new media and visual arts to students of all abilities and Intensive Arts Mentorship programs (`Til Dawn and C Street Project) which provide opportunities for advanced teens to grow their artistry.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

Youth in Arts, what a wonderful organization!!
I was on the board for 12+ years in the 90's-early 2000's. I still volunteer on occasion and I am a donor.
Youth in Arts fills so many positions in our community. There are art classes in many schools, there are art shows at the gallery, curriculums have been created, there is monthly participation in the San Rafael 2nd Friday Art walk, there are performances by the acapella group Til Dawn, there are special projects at schools such as studying architecture and more. If Youth in Arts did not exist there are many schools that would not have art at all.
Youth in Arts has a long track record, has changed with the needs of the community and with the times, and is an extremely significant part of the fabric of Marin County.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Youth In Arts is a unique and very special organization in terms of its invaluable commitment to supporting young student artists attending public schools. Too many students from disadvantaged communities across America are often-overlooked despite the proven academic gains that schools with arts programs have proven to supply. Youth In Arts curriculums are wonderful, with in-depth and exciting lesson plans that result in impressive award winning exhibits of paintings, photography, sculpture, and more. Thanks to Youth In Arts many students lives are touthed and changed by Art forever! I wish greater funding would allow more schools to participate in their essential programs.