We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Young At Art Museum. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Young At Art below.
Young At Art, appreciate you joining us today. What’s been the most meaningful project you’ve worked on?
Young At Art Museum’s (YAA) Community Initiatives! Art supports our intellectual and emotional needs and should be accessible to all with no boundaries or limits. As a nonprofit, YAA’s mission is to enrich our community through artistic, interactive experiences for all ages which inspire creativity and encourage an understanding of the world in which we live. Our love and support for our community surpasses the divide from geography, ethnicity, economics, and disability to bring the transformative power of art to all. Young At Art Museum was founded in 1987 to fill a void in arts education in South Florida public schools. Founded by Esther and Mindy Shrago (mother and daughter visionary duo), YAA traveled South Florida for two years as a Museum Without Walls, opening in 1989 in a 3,200 sq. ft. storefront in Plantation, Florida. Now after a few moves we have found a new location just a few blocks from first brick and mortar. Getting back to our core mission we are now in a more accessible location and have launched a new community initiative the Mobile Art Museum. Utilizing our YAA on the Go! mini bus not only as transportation for free art workshops in underserved communities but also as an exhibit space with interactive installations to provide transformative art experiences for all. Art is meant for all and all are artists at heart.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Young At Art Museum is an interactive art museum for all ages in Plantation, Florida founded in 1987. It’s located within Broward Mall at 8000 W Broward Blvd, Plantation, Florida, USA, in the Greater Fort Lauderdale region. YAA offers immersive exhibitions, artistic adventures, art education & experiences for all, and support for underserved communities in need of Art. We serve our community through our art initiatives. ArtREACH (Art –Reconnecting and Educating homeless Adolescents through Creativity and Hope) established in 2004, is a nationally recognized initiative that has served over 1,000 homeless children and families in Broward. ArtREACH provides free, after school arts and academic enrichment to children and teens residing with their families in Broward emergency & transitional shelters or independent transitional housing. ArtREACH is a partnership among Young At Art Museum, Broward County Public School’s Homeless Education Assistance Resource Team (HEART) and Broward shelters. Our goal: To provide a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment that uses the creation of art, academic tutoring and behavioral support to improve the educational and emotional welfare of homeless youth. CALL (Creative Arts, Literacy & Language Arts) For Early Learners targets the most impoverished community in Broward, zip code 33311, through the development and delivery of visual arts, literacy and language instruction for Early Head Start and Head Start children attending low-income early learning centers. CALL for Early Learners has impacted 215 Early Head Start and Head Start students ages 3 and 4, 215 parents/caregivers and 40 teachers/teaching assistants annually since 2018. The program supports Florida’s Early Learning & Developmental Standards and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework strengthening classroom learning, teacher instruction and parent involvement across all domains. YAA for ALL (Access to Lifelong Learning, through YAA’s partnership with the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD), has modified museum galleries to decrease visual stimulation and sounds; developed picture signage, maps, visual cues and social stories; developed specialized art programs; and trained staff to work effectively and compassionately. Our goal: to create an inclusive museum environment that provides extraordinary learning and social experiences for children and adults with autism and other sensory integration sensitivities, with the potential to build a community of tolerance. YAA is honored to be the first UM-NSU CARD Autism Friendly Partner. We also host Sensory Saturdays celebrate inclusivity and diversity through art every second Saturday of the month. All are always welcome to explore, get creative, and connect in a safe and inclusive environment! Girls Empowered is an arts-based, gender-empowerment, credited course conducted by YAA at the PACE Center for Girls, Broward, a non-residential program and high school for at-risk girls. Since 2007, YAA has served 40 teens, ages 13-18, in this weekly program, annually. Girls Empowered addresses the underlying issues of low self-esteem, poor self-image and delinquent decision-making – using art to empower a healthy self-confidence and positive self-worth. Girls Empowered grow into confident women, graduates and become a productive member of the community. Each April to celebrate Earth month, Girls Empowered takes part in YAA’s NY style Recycled Fashion Show showcasing and modeling their handmade, eco-friendly garments made in the program, for over 200 guests. Success has been significant for this program as well. 93% of PACE teens and Girls Empowered participants graduate annually. YAA On the GO! is the newest community initiative of Young At Art Museum. This art-mobile increases access to visual arts experiences and education for homeless and low-income children and families throughout Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. YAA On The GO! will be visible as it travels to parks, festivals, communities and schools in cities and neighborhoods across South Florida. The intent is to spread the joy of art far and wide and unite communities through the art-making process. YAA At Home is a new digital art initiative providing free art resources online to keep children, families and art enthusiasts artistically engaged at home. Young At Art Museum now brings virtual tours of our interactive art galleries, downloadable art activities and instructive art videos from our YAA Institute to the comfort of your home. Making art more accessible to all. YAA’s team is working closely with artists locally and nationally to create prompts inspired by the art of each guest artist. YAA at Home will keep creative juices flowing anywhere!
Has your business ever had a near-death moment? Would you mind sharing the story?
After having to close the museum for almost a year because of limitations from the pandemic. We then had an immense challenge of moving a 55,000-foot museum with large scale “permanent exhibitions” while operating with only 7 working staff from over 70. With the help of a strong core team of amazing staff members and volunteers we were able to find a new home and move. It wasn’t easy but it was important to keep art alive in the community especially during this time when it’s needed the most. Even while the museum was closed, we continued to support our community by distributing free masks from the state to keep our local families protected. We also supplied low-income families with free art activities to keep their young ones engaged and active while not in school. Through all this we found a new home and are running our programing at 100%, this is all made possible from the support of our community, passionate team, and state, county, & local sponsors.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
Seeing actual growth and development in our youth through art… knowing the impact made by Young At Art Museum and watching it grow within the community. As children turn into young leaders, who evolve into entrepreneurs and shape our future for better with a thoughtful purpose. The power of art connects us all!
- Website: https://youngatartmuseum.org/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/youngatartmuseum
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YoungAtArtMuseum
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/young-at-art-museum/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/YAAMuseum
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/youngatartmuseum/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/young-at-art-plantation-2
Gabe Vanegas @gabeseesthings & Karli Evans @allseeingmedia