The YEA! Program


    YEA! Program

    Ringling College of Art and Design recognizes that artists and designers play a significant role in society. The College's primary mission is to provide programs leading to degrees that prepare students to be discerning visual thinkers and ethical practitioners in their chosen area of art and design.


    Visual arts professionals must understand diverse aspects of past and present cultures, and develop their capacity for creative expression and effective communication. Ringling's curriculum, therefore, balances the teaching of technical knowledge and skills with the development of critical, conceptual and creative abilities and supports courses that provide historical, multicultural, global and future perspectives. Ringling faculty consists of professionally active and teaching-oriented artists, designers and scholars.


    The YEA (Youth Experiencing Art) Program at Ringling College of Art and Design provides

    art and arts integration experiences to PreK-12th grade teachers and students. YEA pairs

    Ringling College students with classroom teachers and art teachers. These pairs co-develop,

    co-teach, and co-assess the projects connected to the students’ curriculum. By leveraging

    the learning through long-term residencies, students have multiple arts experiences that are

    personally meaningful and relevant.

    For more information, please contact the Director of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning, Rachel Levey-Baker at or 941.359.7504.

    Reflections from YEA! Arts Student Instructors

    "The semester with YEA! Arts was at times exciting, frustrating, confusing, exhilarating, and the whole time a learning experience.  Starting off I had no idea what to really actually expect.  Once I started I began to understand these kids.  What works for all the girls at the youth shelter is probably not going to work for the boys at the group home.  The kids surprised me.  Some projects that I was convinced they would love they hated.  One example is when for Mardi Gras we made masks.  They did not want to do this at all, but I tried joking with them about their masks and they warmed up to it. Everyone was laughing with each other, not at each other.  
        Honestly, throughout the semester sometimes I found it really hard to find motivation to get ready for class and to go because the previous week the kids were misbehaving, but always when I got to class, I would give my 100% and the kids would do great.  Towards the end staff were telling me that the kids were asking where I was and when they were going to do art.  That made me feel great and could see that if I continued for a year I could really affect these kids for the better."

    Valuable skills learned or improved as a result of participation in the program:

    •    Patience- This was a very valuable skill to hone during this semester.  One must have patience with the kids and with the staff.  I would just take a deep breath when I would get frustrated and then look at the situation in a different way.
    •    Tolerance- Not necessarily tolerant towards race and gender, I already have a good handle on that, but tolerance for these kids’ ideas.  If one is not tolerant of their ideas, they will just butt heads and then nothing gets done.
    •    Thick Skin- This is big time.  The kids need to respect you.  I was able to have control of the class, but not seem like an authority figure.  The kids will always trust staff more than they trust outsiders, but still they felt they could draw and do things in art class that they could not do in other parts of their life. For that they respected me.  
    •    My global perspective is larger now dealing with these particular kids because you never really hear about these kids or ever have an experience with them, so now I am clued into this part of our world.

    How the experiences were meaningful to the student instructors and how they influenced their experience at the Ringling College.

    •    These experiences were very valuable to me.  They taught me so much, but also reinforced a lot of what I already knew.
    •    This opportunity was so great because I was able to jump into a teaching position without needing prior experience, now I have that experience, but it was neat figuring it all out on my own.  Figuring out organization, time planning, and lessons, and really understanding what has to go into a class that is only an hour long.
    •    It taught me that these kids just need more positive experiences to get out of where they are.  


    Youth Experiencing Art Annual Reports (2014-2015 coming soon)