young audiences to award local creatives as part of anniversary celebration

For six decades, Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio has been promoting creative learning through the arts for local children and teenagers. A 60th-anniversary celebration requires something special, say the nonprofit's leaders. That means awarding residents who are harnessing the organization's arts-infused mission of contributing to the region's vitality.

Young Audiences is currently accepting nominations for its 2013 Arts, Education, and Entrepreneurship Awards. The nonprofit seeks those who have made a lasting impact in the three areas, as the innovation and creative thinking promoted by the arts help individuals succeed across all aspects of life, says development director Jerry Smith. Examples include teaching geometry through dance, or learning storytelling through digital game design.

"It's about the intersection of arts education and entrepreneurship," Smith says. "How does a creative education help drive that next entrepreneur?"

To answer that question, Smith's organization hosts workshops, performances, professional development programs and residencies for young people in the artistic realms of dance, music, theater and the visual arts.

Award nominees are due by April 12. Three winners from the categories of arts, education and entrepreneurship will be recognized at Young Audiences' 60th anniversary gala in September. Winners will receive a commemorative award and a contribution in their name made to the Young Audiences' Fund for Their Future.

An arts background is critical to melding young minds, believes the organization's leadership. Recognizing the individuals shaping that process is a natural step for the group, says Smith.

"Arts and culture are at the core of so much we do and how we succeed," he says.

SOURCE: Jerry Smith, Jennifer Abelson
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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