Arts for Learning Receives $999,500 Grant from Lilly Endowment to strengthen youth programs

September 28, 2023

Arts for Learning Indiana, a statewide organization that provides innovative education to schools, libraries and community centers using arts as the medium, has received a grant of $999,500 from Lilly Endowment Inc. About a third of the grant will be used to strengthen and expand Arts for Learning Indiana’s Artist Building Community long-term residency fellowship.

The fellowship and other capacity-building efforts are being funded through Lilly Endowment’s initiative, Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana. The aim of the competitive initiative is to help youth-serving organizations working throughout Indiana improve their abilities to promote the academic, physical and social well-being of young people, ages five through 18.

Through its Artist Building Community fellowship, an Arts for Learning teaching artist is paired with a lead teacher (K-12 Educator) for a 3-year residency. Together, they research the culture of a school community, exploring the assets of the school, the socio-cultural history of the surrounding community, and the needs of the students they are serving. The fellows create a new Arts for Learning program, by and with the school community, based on this deep integration.

Throughout the fellowship, students and families experience Arts for Learning programming filtered through Arts for Learning’s three guiding principles: Arts Integration, Social Emotional Learning, and Anti-Racism. Each fellowship culminates in a 3-year vision plan, ensuring programming is sustainable.

“This grant is a game-changer not just for us, but for the communities we serve,” said Anya Aslanova, Arts for Learning Indiana’s president. “The Artist Building Community fellowship allows us to elevate the work we do in innovative teaching. Because of the research, we are more responsive to meeting the needs of each unique community. And, because we’re part of the community for longer than a school year, we have the opportunity to have a deeper, more long-lasting impact.”

Another portion of the grant will be used for retention, expansion, and professional development for Arts for Learning staff and teaching artists. The grant will also fund building the organization’s marketing and fundraising capacity.

Arts for Learning Indiana is one of 187 organizations receiving grants through Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana.

“Indiana’s youth-serving organizations are crucial to the healthy development of children and youth across the state,’ said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “The challenges these organizations have faced in meeting the needs of young people in recent years have made their work increasingly difficult. Lilly Endowment is pleased to support their efforts to strengthen programs and serve more youth more effectively.”

Lilly Endowment launched Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana Initiative in 2022 with an invitational round of grants to nine national youth-serving organizations to help them expand and enhance the work of their Indiana affiliates or chapters.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. Although the Endowment funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

About Arts for Learning Indiana

Since 1961, Young Audiences, doing business as Arts for Learning Indiana, has been the premier provider of arts education programs for youth across Indiana. Our programs empower youth and expand their learning through creative arts experiences. Arts for Learning employs more than 50 teaching artists who provide performances, workshops, and residencies to schools, libraries, and community organizations, reaching nearly 40,000 youth every year. We also provide professional development designed to help classroom teachers and teaching artists effectively work together to integrate the arts into any educational environment. Arts for Learning is one of more than 30 affiliates of Young Audiences Arts for Learning, the nation’s largest arts in education learning network. To learn more about Arts for Learning, visit


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