YALA, Helis Foundation Expand Free Baby Artsplay!™ Program
NEW ORLEANS – Young Audiences of Louisiana (YALA) in partnership with The Helis Foundation announced plans to expand their successful early learning program, Baby Artsplay!™, to eight cultural institutions across the city of New Orleans. Beginning this Spring, Baby Artsplay!™ will be offered as a series of six free 30-minute workshops held weekly to engage young children ages 12-24 months and their caregivers in research-based performing arts experiences that support their cognitive, physical and social development. The Louisiana Wolf Trap Baby Artsplay!™ teaching method taps into children’s innate desire for active, multi-sensory learning through purposeful singing, dancing, and movement.
Free Baby Artsplay!™ workshops presented by The Helis Foundation will be offered at:
• New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St Claude Ave.
Saturdays, March 4 – April 8, 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
• Hermann-Grima House
820 St. Louis St.
Saturdays, April 15 – May 20, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
• The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center
1225 N Rampart St.
Saturdays, March 4 – April 8, 2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Additional free six-week sessions will be held in the Spring and Summer at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Longue Vue House and Gardens, Newcomb Art Museum, as well as at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), where Baby Artsplay!™ workshops have been conducted for the last two years.
“The support of The Helis Foundation allows Young Audiences to reach a new, broader audience of next generation art-lovers, while helping all New Orleans families feel welcome in our great cultural institutions,” said Rickie Nutik, YALA’s executive director. “Through the arts we can engage children and their caregivers in multisensory, easy to replicate, and unintimidating experiences that help children reach developmental milestones.”
Baby Artsplay!™ provides engaging activities designed to instruct parents, caregivers and early childhood teachers in how to use the arts at home, school, and daycare to promote early learning, organizers said. The 30-minute workshops allow children to explore, observe and investigate their world and the museum through song, dance and movement experiences, they said.
Baby Artsplay!™ workshops explore six key themes in early childhood development:
• Workshop 1 – My 5 Senses (sensory)
• Workshop 2 – Baby Says…(language)
• Workshop 3 – My Body (body parts)
• Workshop 4 – Let's Move! (movement)
• Workshop 5 – Up, Down, and All Around (spatial awareness)
• Workshop 6 – Get Your Motor Running (motor skills)
“This program is a great way to get families into galleries and encourage kids to grow up appreciating art,” said Todd Shaffer, YALA teaching artist since 1999, and Baby Artsplay!™ facilitator. “Many of the parents who come to Baby Artsplay!™ tell me that they never thought they would feel comfortable bringing their toddler to an art museum!” Elise Solomon, youth and family programs manager at NOMA agrees, “YALA’s teaching artists have expertly crafted classes that give families and children an opportunity to experience our galleries a new way.”