Building self-esteem in our students is the primary mission of Young at Art. We help children get in touch with and express their innate and unique creativity. We create a safe, nurturing environment. We offer friendly, caring guidance and positive feedback. We teach them to respect each other and themselves.
We believe that all children have something unique to express. Our role is to motivate, support, and encourage children in making art their own way. We work on projects that excite children’s imaginations and help them create what they envision. If a child comes to us with an idea that they want to execute, we help them make it happen.
Our teachers are chosen for their commitment to our mission. We hire experienced professionals who are committed to helping children develop a positive sense of self-esteem. We train teachers and guide them in creating the best experience for each child. Classes are kept small so that teachers can give children one-on-one attention.
Click here to see teacher bios.
In all of our classes, we teach the elements of fine art. This starts with learning colors, shapes, and lines. Children are immersed in a multi-sensory experience that appeals to all interests and abilities. This experience includes art processes such as painting, collage, 3-dimensional construction, creative movement, and storytelling. For example, young children experience roundness as they paint on a circle, mold a piece of clay into a ball, make themselves round, and dance in a circle. We emphasize exploration and discovery, rather than a finished product.
Every class has a carefully prepared lesson plan. No project is repeated in a 2-year cycle, so that every class is new for the children enrolled.
Our class groups are centered around respect and acceptance. We create a safe environment, where every idea, form of creativity, and choice in art-making is valued.
Art making is a messy job. We allow children the time and space to get messy and explore the materials. We encourage them to let go and experience the process of making art. Children sometimes leave our classes covered in paint, glue, and glitter. We encourage students to dress for mess.
In 1980, Donna Weiner and Marsha Mendel, mothers of young children living in Westchester, NY, founded Young at Art to bring a quality art experience to children in the area. They based YAA on a unique art program in NYC at the 92nd St Y, to which they had been commuting with their own children. The two mothers enrolled themselves in a teacher-training workshop led by the creator of the Y program and soon after began offering classes for 3-year-olds. When that first session ended, parents asked for 4-year-old classes. From this modest beginning, YAA has moved twice to expand its studio space and has offered up to 17 classes a week with 12 teachers for children aged 1 to 18. In 2015, Donna retired from Young at Art (Marsha had retired years before) and Jen Kaplan became the new owner.