Students bundled in winter coats and wearing backpacks, sitting very close together at a cafeteria table. They are watching Blacktastic on a large screen at the front of the room.

WYPR is Blacktastic!

For 74 years, Arts for Learning Maryland has worked tirelessly to ensure our arts-integrated educational programming is as accessible as it is engaging to learners of all ages. The rapidly evolving educational landscape, shaped in part by the pandemic, brought important questions to the forefront of our organization’s consciousness in 2020: how do we adapt our hands-on educational experiences to a digital format? How do we celebrate Black history and culture during a time when it matters most? How do we make sure that our teaching artists’ transformative assemblies and residencies still reach our community, especially our younger learners? And so, Blacktastic was born! In February of 2021, we piloted the virtual children’s festival during Black History Month to celebrate and educate viewers on our local Maryland Black history. After four years of joyous innovation and collaboration, this February we were proud to air the fourth annual Blacktastic! virtual children’s festival, an endeavor made possible in part by our media sponsor WYPR.

We are truly thankful for the support of WYPR in spreading the word about this year’s Blacktastic. The popular free public radio station has served the Baltimore metropolitan area for over two decades, and hosts a wide variety of educational programs, ensuring that Marylanders of all ages stay informed, connected, and entertained. WYPR is committed to delivering content that adheres to the highest standards of journalistic and artistic excellence, centering diversity and inclusion in its mission, making their sponsorship of Blacktastic a natural fit.

The live-streamed festival has grown since its inception to include interactive performances, trivia, virtual field trips, and an activity book download to reinforce the learning–what began as an adaptation to the pandemic has grown into an annually anticipated event! This year, Blacktastic reached over 59,000 students across Maryland and DC–our largest audience yet! Both achieving this level of viewership and ensuring the program remains high-quality and accessible to schools and families with tight budgets requires external support and collaboration of all kinds, and we rely on sponsors like WYPR to meet these goals. From scripting and video production to marketing and livestream logistical coordination, it takes a village to make a large-scale virtual event like Blacktastic a reality.

If viewer feedback is any indication of the importance of support from sponsors like WYPR, one viewer wrote, “Blacktastic outdoes [its] programming each and every year. My favorite part as an educator is learning alongside the kids. We didn’t want it to end!”

Another commented, “Blacktastic was such a great way to celebrate Black culture and history in the classroom! Students got to see real people who looked like them who have made a difference right in front of their faces. The virtual format worked wonderfully to fit into our schedule. I am so excited to participate again next year!”

The theme of Black History Month this year was African Americans and the Arts, spanning the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, dance, cultural movements, and more. We invite you to explore this theme all year long through the creativity, beauty, and energy of our teaching artists. Learn how at

For more information about WYPR, please visit, and tune into 88.1 FM to listen.

Learn about all of this year’s Blacktastic artists and honorees at!