Learning Through Art

Learning Through Art lives the mission of its name.

This Cincinnati-based non-profit integrates performing arts programs with literacy and community development to help kids, and ultimately neighborhoods, overcome challenges and develop an understanding and awareness of diverse backgrounds. Southwest Ohio Parent spoke to Kathy Wade, co-founder and CEO of Learning Through Art, to learn more about this organization.

How did Learning Through Art get started?

Our legacy began in 1992 when jazz singer Kathy Wade co-founded Learning Through Art, Inc. with her late husband, Dan Jenkins. After earning a master’s degree in arts administration from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Wade performed in venues around the globe. Back in Cincinnati, it was Jenkins’ idea that they organize the many programs that. Wade was doing in their community to form a non-profit. In 2022 – our 30th year of building resilient communities through art – the programs they created continue to support arts-integrated education and literacy while encouraging multi-cultural awareness and understanding.

Tell us about your Arts Over ACEs program for kids with adverse childhood experiences.

Our model helps mitigate the lasting effect that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have on a child’s well-being and educational attainment. During our 2022 events, we’ll use arts-based programming that builds parent-child relationships to help kids overcome ACEs like poverty, homelessness and the impacts Covid-19 has had on families — including potential learning loss. Our suite of educational materials centers around carefully selected children’s books that highlight themes like social-emotional learning, a key tool for overcoming ACEs.

How do you connect with the kids you help?

We connect with the children, families and schools we serve around the country through our Books Alive! For Kids® (BA!FK®) literacy program, engaging them through sight, sound and touch. BA!FK® memberships and digital materials are available online at booksaliveforkids.com, and we regularly post content that supports educators and families across our LTA social media channels.

Tell us about your Books Alive! For Kids® literacy program.

In addition to providing physical books to early readers, the BA!FK® program delivers to a subscriber’s home or classroom materials and instructions for crafts, study guides for families and educators, a calendar of Family Adventures events, and access to our video series, which won a regional EMMY for youth programming in 2020.

How can people get involved with Learning Through Art?

Join us for our 30th anniversary kick-off event, Books Alive! For Kids® Family Adventures in the Park, on May 7! The day-long program will feature engaging performances with partners from Cincinnati’s most iconic arts and cultural organizations to support the needs of families and children to connect “offline.” With crafts, wayfinding guides, and materials to empower positive communication, we’ll connect with one another, nature and the arts-infused world around us. Free outdoor performances and activities will take place throughout the day, inspired by the book, “No Cell Phone Day,” by jazz trombonist, producer, educator and NEA jazz master Delfeayo Marsalis. The day will conclude with a reading and concert by Marsalis

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