Dear Friends of Arts for Learning/Young Audiences of Indiana,
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Anna S. White. Anna served Arts for Learning (formerly Young Audiences of Indiana) for 27 years as Founding Executive Director. Anna also served on the National Young Audiences Programming Board Committee and was a strong advocate for arts in education for children throughout her life.
Anna understood the value of professional teaching artists bringing the arts to life for all children. From the early years, when Arts for Learning offered but a handful of performances, the organization grew through her vision of expanded programming and audiences. Arts for Learning, under Anna’s leadership, incorporated a large and varied roster of teaching artists with expertise in music, dance, theatre, storytelling, and the visual arts. As the concept of arts integration began to take root in the arts and
education fields, she understood the need for professional development for teaching artists as well as classroom teachers. Through Anna’s forward thinking and cooperation with Butler University, Arts for Learning offered the first ever Institute for Artful Teaching in 1998. This opportunity brought teaching artists and teachers together to participate in a learning forum facilitated by experts in the field.
Anna also saw the need to serve children of all ages. She was responsible for securing a large, multiple-year grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to develop and pilot the Young at Arts program for our early learners. In her effort to expand Arts for Learning’s reach, she involved our organization in city-wide initiatives, such as the Pan American Games in 1987 and Calderfest in 1996.
In 2003, upon Anna’s retirement and my installation as President & CEO, the most common response I heard from our board of directors and the greater Indianapolis arts and nonprofit communities was “You have some very big shoes to fill.” This couldn’t have been truer. Anna was my mentor, yet she never overstepped her reach, knowing that it was my responsibility to lead the organization. Anna brought immense wisdom, passion, and dedication to her leadership. She will be truly missed here at Arts for Learning and throughout the Indianapolis arts community.
JoEllen Florio Rossebo
President & CEO
Arts for Learning
The Indiana Affiliate of Young Audiences