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Congratulations cast!

After a successful final show this August, we’d like to congratulate and thank the cast of The Wizard of Oz for all their hard work and effort. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you!



September 15 Meeting

YAI needs your input and your support at a community meeting Sept. 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at First Lutheran Church. As we wrap up our third season since a major leadership change, the YAI board has assessed the lessons learned and identified several options for the coming season. In a nutshell:

  • The past three years have included lots of successes: Nine shows have engaged around 300 young artists, roughly 30 young artistic staff, and thousands of audience members in both creating and experiencing excellent theater. In addition, our board has done significant organizational development work; and we continue to develop additional sources of community support, as well as opportunities for YAI’s alumni to give back to the community.
  • Many challenges have been met: With grant funding for only five of these nine shows, the board has worked hard to manage expenses, raise funds, and expand YAI’s reach to new audiences. All grants have come from a single source.
  • Analysis of the financing for these past three seasons’ shows that the most successful strategy for making ends meet has been tightly managing budgeted expenses. Relying so heavily on the ability of YAI’s volunteers to fill in as unpaid staff is not sustainable.
  • Further analysis shows that most donations continue to come from YAI’s base of committed supporters.
  • For 2015 we are developing a realistic plan that continues to provide excellent programming while building the infrastructure of the organization needed to support the work without undue sacrifices on the part of YAI’s leadership and volunteers. As we plan the next season, YAI’s board is taking steps to address the sustainability challenge, including:
    • Working with volunteers to pursue 501(c)(3) status and identify new grant opportunities;
    • Applying for a grant that would support the first year of a part-time staff position. If awarded, this grant would help build the infrastructure needed to sustain the position over time.
  • This is where we need your input and support! Please lend your ears, voices, and ideas to the conversation at our September 15 community meeting.  Learn about options and costs for the 2015 season, provide input to the board on how to proceed, and find out how you can lend a hand. Options include presenting a more modest season in 2015 with existing resources OR presenting a more ambitious season with enhanced resources (meaning $10,000 – $13,000 would need to be raised by the end of 2014).

Kids are welcome to participate in the meeting, if interested.

If you are not able to attend but would like to help, please contact YAI Board Chair Barb Deming to share your thoughts/offer support.

Creatively yours,


Benjamin Lacina*  |  612-508-6935 Direct

Artistic Director  |  Young Artists Initiative

463 Maria Avenue  |  Saint Paul, MN 55106-4428  |  www.youngartistsmn.org

Box Office & Information Line: 651-222-KIDS

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation!

*Proud recipient of the 2009 Ordway Education Award for Community Commitment

Alumni Event

The Color Purple


The YAI alumni are planning to go see The Color Purple at Park Square Theater as our first event of 2015.
The performance we’re attending takes place on  Tuesday, January 20th at 20 W. 7th Place in St. Paul. 
If you are planning on coming please send an email to jonahoharadavid@gmail.com, to reserve a ticket for you at the group rate of $0.99 per ticket.
There’s lots of parking, but if you’re wondering about it, here is a link to where the parking ramps are.


Alumni, parents, siblings and friends are all welcome! We are hoping for up to 20 people to fill out our group. A confirmation email will be sent closer to the date with more details about where to meet etc.                 

Click here for a link to their website with a brief synopsis of the show.
**The show is recommended for 10th-12th graders** However, it is you/your family’s choice as to whether you can handle the content.

Into The Woods Online Registration

Into The Woods Online Registration and Information

Click here for online registration

Update: All spots have been filled as of 1/14/15, and as of 2/1/15 we are no longer adding names to the waiting list

How does it work?

The link above is a secure, online form created within Young Artists Initiative that will send your registration information directly to us.

There are two methods for payment. One is PayPal, where your payment will be immediately transacted. The other is to mail in cash or check. Checks can be made payable to Young Artists Initiative.


What do I have to do? Who can register?

Just sign up! There’s no audition necessary, nor any experience. Anyone can register, it’s open to all actors ages 8-18. Actors must be of 8 years of age before the first rehearsal, on June 28, to participate. Financial assistance is available for all YAI programming.


What is “Into The Woods”?

Into The Woods is a story with all your classic fairytale characters! Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk), and the Witch meet and interact in this whimsical, original story. The musical centers on a baker and his wife who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the king’s festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse and wind up changed forever. Funny and engaging, kids and adults alike will love seeing these stories together onstage!


When is it?

Program dates: June 28 though August 9, 2015

Rehearsals and workshops for YAI’s Summer Theater Experience begin June 28 at the First Lutheran Church in St. Paul near Metro State University. Program meets Sunday through Thursday evenings from 6:30-9pm. (NO rehearsals July 3-5)

Performances are August 6-9, 2015 at the Performance Space at the Wellstone Center.





  •  Refunds: Full refunds are granted if cancelation is received in writing at least 14 days in advance of the start of a program, minus a $15 processing fee. Refunds cannot be granted within 14 days of the start of a program. All refunds are sent via certified postal mail.
  • Returned Checks: A service charge of $40 will be applied to any returned check.
  • Scholarships: Financial assistance for families in need available for all programs. Be sure to check the box on the registration and call 651-222-KIDS OR email info@youngartistsmn.org for information.
  • Staff: All YAI workshops are taught by licensed theater education teachers and/or artists who have degrees in theater arts as well as several years professional experience in theater instruction. All staff and teachers are subject to background checks to ensure the safety of our young artists.
  • Register soon! Space is limited in all of our programs. If we exceed a class maximum, names are put on a waiting list, and we hold a raffle to determine which students will be accepted into the program, should there be any cancellations.


6th Annual Alumni Variety Show Fundraiser

2015 Variety Show poster

Come join us for our 6th Annual Alumni Variety Show Fundraiser on Oct. 24!

Alumni, it’s not too late to sign up to be in the show! Contacinfo@youngartistsmn.org.

When: Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.

Where: First Lutheran Church

Who: Alumni, friends, family. . . the more the merrier!

Why: Showcase the talent of YAI alumni AND raise money to help fund YAI’s 2016 season of shows

Get your tickets here:

2014 Variety Show Tickets




Teen Show



YAI is proud to present In the Heights as its 2014 Teen Theater Production!
Performances are July 10-13 & 17-20, at the Performance Space at Wellstone Center in Saint Paul.


IN THE HEIGHTS tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood
– a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are
always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music.

It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest
struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

IN THE HEIGHTS is the winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Conceived By Lin-Manuel Miranda
Development of In The Heights was supported by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center during a residency at the Music Theater Conference of 2005.
Initially developed by Back House Productions.

Originally Produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, Jill Furman Willis,
Sander Jacobs, Goodman/Grossman, Peter Fine, Everett/Skipper.
IN THE HEIGHTS is presented through special arrangement with R& H Theatricals