Stacie Sanders Evans and Bill Buckner debut strategic plan

YA launches new five-year strategic plan

Stacie Sanders Evans and Bill Buckner debut strategic plan
Stacie Sanders Evans, Young Audiences executive director, and Bill Buckner, Strategic Planning Committee chair and Young Audiences’ immediate past board president.

In July 2014, Young Audiences adopted its new five-year strategic plan, “Transforming the Lives and Education of Our Youth.” In the coming weeks, we will profile our four strategic directions and our exciting plans related to each. To kick off this series, Stacie Sanders Evans, Young Audiences executive director, wrote about how the plan was created and the exciting work that is to come.

More than 300 volunteers contributed to Young Audiences’ strategic planning process, spanning May 2013 to July 2014, to build an ambitious new strategic plan that sets the organization’s course for the next five years to significantly grow its reach–ultimately impacting the education of 50,000 more young people across this state every year.

During the development of the plan, Young Audiences worked with two consultants to conduct an external and internal review of the organization; more than 50 board members, staff members, artists, teachers, organizational funders, and school administrators gathered for a day-long strategic planning retreat; and smaller working groups composed of artists and educators spent two months exploring six strategic areas that came out of the retreat’s discussions and developed goals for the plan. It was an honor to co-lead this work with Bill Buckner, chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and Young Audiences’ immediate past board president. Our new plan was adopted by our board in July 2014 and since then our staff and board have been laying the foundation necessary to take on the challenges laid out in our plan.

Some of you may not be aware that Young Audiences is the nation’s largest arts education network and it began in Baltimore in 1950. During our 64-year history, the Maryland affiliate of Young Audiences has continually expanded its services to Maryland students, teachers, and artists to give more students the opportunity to experience and learn through the arts. We are proud of our rich history and roots as an organization focused on exposing young people to the arts. Yet, we are increasingly excited by our evolving role as an education organization that is transforming the lives and education of young people by building communities of educators, professional artists, and parents and enabling them to help our children realize their full potential through the arts.

The Next Five Years

Our vision remains the same as it did five years ago: “One day, every student in Maryland will have the opportunity to imagine, to create, and to realize their full potential through the arts.” Our mission also remains unchanged: “To transform the lives and education of youth through the arts by connecting educators, professional artists, and communities.”

What has changed is that now, more than any other time in our history, Young Audiences is poised to realize this vision and achieve this mission for all Maryland children.

During the next five years we plan to significantly increase Young Audiences’ transformative impact on students and on education, and to accomplish this by:

  1. Expanding our school district arts integration partnerships
  2. Investing in and growing our teaching artist community
  3. Building and sharing evidence of our impact
  4. Strengthening and expanding our programs

Through a series of blog posts, I will dive deeper into each aspect of this plan and share updates on our progress. I welcome your feedback and participation in our work.

We are excited about the power of the arts to improve educational and life outcomes for students, and we are proud of our plans and the community we are building to leverage the arts to have the greatest impact possible on our students. We hope you will join us in this work!

– Stacie Sanders Evans, Young Audiences Executive Director

You can read the full plan at

To learn more Young Audiences’ mission and our work, we invite you to join us at one of our upcoming On the Bright Side Tours. Learn more and sign up online.