An Important Board Update

Dear Friends and Supporters of Yes! And… Collaborative Arts,

First, we thank you so much for your continued support of our wonderful organization. We really appreciate your involvement in so many ways — financial, physical and emotional — ways which have made it possible for our organization to continue to serve children as we have done so for 21 years.

We write on behalf of the board to provide some important news. It is with very mixed feelings that we share with you that Michael Brix will be stepping down from his position as Executive Director of Yes! And… Collaborative Arts. Along with being one of our founders, Michael has served as Executive Director for nearly 8 years. During that time period, Yes! And… Collaborative Arts progressed from a small organization serving children through summer theater camp and after school programs to our incorporation as a 501(c)(3) organization. Michael is largely responsible, along with our staff and the founders, for the growth and success of our summer programs, Winter (and Summer!) Sort of Thing performances, Studio Classes, our After-School Program and Shadow, our teen program.

Michael has really taken our organization to new heights through his devotion, hard work, expertise and unflagging optimism. He is now ready for a new challenge. For now, Michael is continuing to look for – as he put it – “his next adventure”, and will continue to lead Yes! And… Collaborative Arts during his search. At the same time, the board has begun the search process for a new executive director and we will keep you updated on our progress. Michael has promised us that he will remain involved in other ways, even after he has moved on, by sharing his experience and insight to help guide Yes! And… Collaborative Arts to the next stage.

We look forward to our future and also will have more opportunity to look back and celebrate Michael’s amazing contributions to our organization. In the meantime, we are very excited for our excellent camp programs to begin this week and hope to see many of you at our events and celebrations!

Fondly,
D’vorah Horn-Greenberg and Claudia Huot
Yes! And… Collaborative Arts Board Co-Chairs

After School Group presents: The Fancy Parrot

You are cordially invited to the Grand Opening of Germantown’s hottest new restaurant, The Fancy Parrot!

When: May 4th 5:00pm-7:30pm
Where: 21 W Washington Lane
Price: $10 per person, includes a 3 course meal and drink. (Menu below)

The Fancy Parrot is a high end restaurant created and run by the famed chefs of Yes! And… After School Group. Inspired by the luxury of the tropics, our chefs have created a diverse menu of classic and innovative dishes alike.

Please email us by Wednesday May 2nd to reserve a table. Please include the number of people in your party and the time you will be arriving.

Formal attire is recommended, but not required.

Hope to see you there!

Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/488345351562442/

 

The Fancy Parrot

Menu

Your entry fee covers all 3 courses and a drink. You may choose one of each category from the menu.

Appetizers

Caesar Salad

A fresh, savory awesome starter made by your local gardner. Crunchy nutritious lettuce topped with homemade croutons and our creamy house caesar dressing.

Roast Sweet Potatoes

A perfect blend of spicy and sweet. These potatoes will make you joyfully tweet. Sweet potatoes oven-roasted to perfection with a blend of brown sugar and spices.

Fruit Salad

A colorful blend of tropical fruit. A vibrant and healthy treat to eat! Our signature fruit salad of kiwi, mango, banana, and strawberries.

Entrees

Baked Ziti

A warm and comforting dish that is cheesy and delish. Everyone’s favorite pasta dish with ground beef, parmesan, ricotta, and a smooth tomato sauce.

Shrimp Tacos

A rich blend of crunchy and tangy flavors. These shrimp tacos will be the envy of your neighbors. Crunchy fried shrimp rolled in a house-made fish fry, combined on a flour tortilla with avocado, mango, and a hint of lime. A recipe invented by our talented chefs.

Meatball Subs

These saucy subs are so juicy and delicious, you’ll take one bite and be suspicious. Our own recipe for homemade meatballs cooked in a sweet tomato sauce and served on fresh garlic bread.

Desserts

Water Ice

This Philly favorite is a smooth refreshing treat to make your feel like you’re special and sweet.

Cake

A moist and decadent dessert ready to make your sweet tooth hurt. Red velvet cake covered in a rich homemade cream cheese frosting.

Drinks

Alcohol Free Margaritas

This icy drink is sweet and lime-y, your friends will always want to try me.  Our very own margaritas made with lemon and lime zest soaked in citrus juice, orange seltzer, and just a hint of sugar.

Iced Tea

This is the best kind of tea, you see? Iced green tea with lemon and honey.

Saturdays with Shadow

Program report: Shadow Company
(From Artistic Director, Brooke Sexton)

Every Saturday morning our High School students get a work out.  For the first hour and a half it is a work out of their acting muscles.  Led by actor, director, teacher (and all around gift to these kids), Gavin Whitt.  Gavin sets the bar high and then insists that they clear it. They do for him and for themselves.  Gavin’s attention to the smallest gesture, his insistence that each actor dig deeper and give more is teaching these young artists not just to entertain, but how to inspire; how to share truth with an audience. Every week, watching them work, it’s the best part of my week. I wish everyone could see it because these young people’s hunger to improve, paired with Gavin’s generous passion and wisdom is a reason to get out of bed and fight the good fight.  

After they are warmed up and pushed to their edges, Natalie, Geo and I dive in with them for a couple of hours working on their piece for this year’s Fringe Festival.  We play a lot. Mess around with words, ideas, pictures and movement. We ask big questions about the world they are growing into and look for the human stories that can express that struggle.  The kids are so generous with each other, they trust each other and themselves. They trust us (which feels like the highest of honors). We just have fun.

Everyone should be having this much fun.  

(If you’d like more information about how your teen can join this dynamic program this summer, please click here.)

Walking Through the 2017 Annual Report

It is typical for non-profits to produce an annual report for their supporters. Two years ago, we decided it was time for our still-young selves to put on our big-person-pants and create one too. In researching types of annual reports, we landed on one that seemed to be exactly our style: a short, two-page, colorful celebration of our year.

(You can download 2016 & 2017 Annual Reports at this link.)

First of all, our 2017 Annual Report is a letter of thanks and love, dedicated to those donors, families, organizations and more, who made our year great.

Like most of you if you were asked to boil down your year into 4 numbers, we bristle at the thought. However, these four numbers are ones we are proud of. This summer alone, which doesn’t include scholarships to our Sort of Thing, Studio, Shadow, and After School Group, we were able to do $100,000 worth of scholarships. This number does not equal the amount of scholarships we raised from donations and grants, but we are hopeful that we are able to cover these costs better as we grow!

Our program report highlights some of the activities and opportunities we were proud to have done this year. This includes our teens winning 2nd place at the inaugural Philly Youth Theatre Fest, our first ever summer camp visual arts intensive (which premiered our first ever public art installation). Download the whole report to learn even more. This is the work – this is where – your support goes. 

There are other items on the Annual Report, so please download it for yourself, but I wanted to take a couple of moments to talk through the Financial Report.

Thanks to your generosity, we were able to end 2017 with a surplus. It’s hard to see in the bar graphs, which represent our last 5 years of financial data, but 2017 was the first time in the last 3 years where we operated with an ending surplus. Most of this surplus went into paying ourselves back from those losses. As you can see from our income, we rely on our tuition payments for a bulk of our revenue. This is something we are looking to change as we grow and move forward. Our work will reach more youth if we gain more individual and foundation support. If you look at the expense side, we spend most of our money on the programs we run, directly impacting the youth and families we serve. We also know that having a robust infrastructure means that we will have a quality program, so we invest in the people who administer the organization as well. We operate on slim margins, but we are hopeful that the trends we are seeing will mean continued healthy growth for years to come.

Thanks to all who have been a part of this growth and who continue to invest in our good work!

 

Gearing up for WSOT 2018: The Song of Silence

One of the most popular questions we have about our Winter Sort of Thing shows is how we pick the themes and topics we’ll explore in this year’s production. While our Artistic Director Brooke Sexton is mostly to credit, we all get to mine and explore and enjoy (as artists) the themes she thinks up.

For me, the theme of The Song of Silence is in direct relationship to the times we are living in. It takes the concept of a “wall” and then teases it out to its natural conclusion. One of the things that makes old Colliwomple a “great” town is how much activity it has. The town is situated at a popular crossroads and everyone loves coming in and out, staying for a while, and moving on. When some of the town’s young people begin to leave, seek their fame and fortune outside of Colliwomple’s borders, some of the town feared a mass migration. This fear led to the wall. For a time the safety of the isolation was welcome by the older residents. Then it became “just the way it is” until a group of kids started asking “why.”

For us, working with kids, we realize that they are the best at asking “why.” Why are things the way they are? De we have to keep doing it that way? Kids are natural dreamers and, if we listen to their dreams, we can find inspiration. For those of us in this work, these kids inspire us every day.

All of our shows are told through the lens of these young people. We think that, while many of the stories we tell with them have universal themes, there is a particular gift the audience receives from seeing the world through their eyes. This story would not be the same if it were a bunch of older people, stuck in their ways, full of fear themselves. We definitely trade on the passion, and unearned confidence of these youth to see that a better world is possible – in Colliwomple – and here too. This isn’t a group of actors pretending to be young, this experience is watching young people, giving them agency, and watching them succeed with a huge story. As a program, we are so proud of the ways in which they take risks, go big, and learn new skills. As a performance, we think that a wide audience will enjoy watching a story well told, and relevant for the times we live in.

Check out this new video from one of our teen Shadow cast members: