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Young Audiences has a new name: the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning

Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer
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Young Audiences, a nonprofit organization that brings arts programming to students across Northeast Ohio, is celebrating its 60th anniversary on Friday with a new name and logo designed to better reflect its mission.

From now on, the organization will be known as the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, or CAL.

The new moniker is intended to stress the participatory nature of the organization’s programming, which is aimed giving kids hands-on experience in music, dance, photography, theater, sculpture and other art forms at a time when public schools are cutting back radically on teaching the arts to save money.

As a name, Young Audiences portrayed a limited image of what the organization does, said Marsha Dobryznski, its executive director.

“The mission and programs remain the same and as effective as ever,” she said Tuesday in an interview.

The name Young Audiences was a legacy of the organization’s founder, George Szell, the famous former music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, Dobryznski said.

In its first decade, the organization primarily organized concerts and other performances in schools for children.

Since then, the organization has come to emphasize active participation in the arts by students.

“We’ve evolved,” Dobrzynski said. “We do fewer and fewer performances in schools every year. So the work that we do is really long-term, deeper, and thoroughly integrated into the core curriculum.”

During the 2012-13 school year, the center conducted 8,000 programs that reached 220,000 schoolchildren across Northeast Ohio.

School districts choose programs from a catalog published every September by the center. Programs can range from a single visit to a school by an artist to a residency that can last up to 20 or 25 days with multiple workshops.

The center, which has nine full-time and four part-time employees based in Cleveland’s Shaker Square, helps schools apply for grants to fund the programs it produced under a $2 million annual budget.

Arts manager and former Cleveland Museum of Art educator Katie Solender of Cleveland Heights heads the organization’s 31-member board.

The new name and identity will be highlighted Friday at the center’s $160-a-ticket “Icons of Art” party at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.

The center will use to occasion to celebrate the completion of a $1 million endowment campaign as of Friday, Sept. 20. It will also give Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson an award for leadership.

The organization’s first-ever awards for Arts Education and Entrepreneurship will be given to Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek, founder and director of Near West Theater; Anna Arnold, an artist and director of the Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery at Ursuline College; and Jeff Lachina, CEO of Lachina, a firm that uses technology to produce educational materials.

Plain Dealer columnist and Ideastream Sound of Ideas host Michael McIntyre will emcee the event.

“The name Young Audiences no longer reflects the work we’re doing,” Dobrzynski said. “It’s not passive, it’s participatory.”

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