Kimann Schultz. Author, blogger, illustrator, musician, arts advocate, podcaster, Kurt Vonnegut Library board member, Indy Opera board member, essayist, Huff Post contributor, mother, YAT parent, YAT donor. Possibly international jewel thief and super-spy. Definitely time traveler.
Our Development Manager Claire Bailey sat down with Kimann around the new year to discuss how she became involved in Young Actors Theatre-- first as a parent and then as a volunteer and donor.
Tell me how you first got involved in with YAT.
My husband spied a yard sign for YAT and told me about it. Our daughter was at that just right age where we were looking for an extra curricular activity in the Arts. We signed her up and that's now been 7 sessions ago!
What was your first impression of YAT?
I was happy to see a group that demanded 200% from its kids, where 100%+ delivery was the norm. This comes in an age where parenting and demands on our kids have become watered down and child-appeasement focused. We wanted to see something that both nurtured and challenged so as to create ongoing opportunities for real striving and real achievement that can come only from our child, not us.
Why do you give to our organization? How would you describe our mission? What does it mean to you?
We give as Arts supporters and simply because we want to help ensure the survival and success of YAT, for our daughter and for the group as a whole.
What do you wish other people knew about YAT?
That in a State that is so sports focused, there are other ways to challenge kids and bring out achievement oriented qualities often sought in sports. And that YAT just might be at the top of this nation's junior Arts programs - you don't have to live on the coasts to live with the Arts.
Why does this cause matter to you? Why now in particular?
The Arts are our most beautiful educational doors and windows to open minds, to foster improved mental health through socialization, interactions and opportunities to address issues and hurts in productive aka non-violent ways. These are volatile times and Arts education as an integral part of life must be supported in schools and in "free time"/outside activities.
Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to work with YAT?
Justin's devotion is evident and consistent, and we continue to be impressed with every staff person/instructor as we have gotten to know them as our daughter's teachers, and through their work as directors of the performances we have seen. Georgianna's contribution as choreographer has also taken YAT to another level as regards dance and physical expression - the YAT kids have cooler moves than the Colts cheerleaders!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating to YAT?
I would encourage them to think outside the box with their generosity - one should look beyond the large institutions and be a part of the New. All Arts institutions will, after all, want and need the support of our kids someday as they grow into the next targeted adult demographics - and that devotion to the Arts has to start early and it has to embody what a kid thinks is cool and challenging - and YAT has that hold on its kids.
As a donor and YAT parent, what sorts of trends do you see?
Consistent, sustainable growth - business models in the US too often seek rapid growth at the cost of long-term success. I would love to see national focus on this group -traditional media/social media both - to foster similar programs all over the US. I love YAT's downtown roots - I think that is a real part of its magic, for both parents and the kids. I love historic building use and hope the Athenaeum makes smart choices in its renovation and growth so as to keep it a solid aspect of the YAT experience.
How would you describe Justin?
Someone who really seems to live his passion and whose dreams and goals will be a key component in many lives - kids', their parents', and all who work with and for him.
Outside of your work with YAT, what other organizations are you engaged with?
I serve on the board of the Kurt Vonnegut Library Museum and on the board of the Indianapolis Opera. I blog at Huffington Post, where I advocate for the Arts and Free Speech especially as it pertains to the Arts.
If you had a family slogan, what would it be?
I'll just quote our daughter, now 12, who as a tot would often say "I can do this!"
What changes do you believe would make the world a better place?
Continued societal evolution that will create a global society that no longer looks to violence as a way to express self, to assert self, or in destructive competitiveness that pits groups against each other. I also look forward to a re-balancing of diversity where differences and differentness can exist in peaceful parallels and not be seen as in need of erasure in the name of political correctness that crosses over into new forms of censorship.
Interested in becoming a YAT donor? Thanks to a special matching-gift challenge from the David P. Sheetz Foundation, your contribution will be matched. For example, your gift of $50 will be matched with an additional $50, thus making it possible to give ten youth FREE tickets to a YAT show.
Text GIVE to (317) 900-4621 or click here to empower Indianapolis youth!