About Us

Our Team

Gene Furchgott

Gene Furchgott

Founder

Elizabeth Bowers

Elizabeth Bowers

Executive Director

Lori Bate

Lori Bate

Director of Development

Our dedicated and professionally-trained staff is the essence and energy behind our mission.  Small but mighty, Yo Art isn’t possible without their strategizing, fundraising, number-crunching, and partnership building.

Our Mission

Yo Art enhances everyday classroom curriculum with media arts programs designed to spark students’ curiosity and teach real-world skills. Our projects encourage learning through discovery and discipline, improvisation and technique, and provide a fertile ground for creative thought through coding, photography, filmmaking, and design.

Our Vision

Yo Art is committed to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps in Charleston’s public schools through transformative media arts and technology programs. With coding, photography, filmmaking, and design students are encouraged to engage in their learning through a creative and project-based 10-week curricula, which also reinforces a South Carolina core curriculum standard in science, social studies, or math. We aspire to expose Lowcountry students to new and exciting career opportunities to help them succeed in school and in life.

Our Future

Yo Art has an ambitious plan to strengthen our existing media arts and technology programs by growing our programs with pre-existing students to higher institutions of learning, so they can continue to solidify their new creative skills. We also plan to expand our participation in Professional Development workshops, so we exponentially raise the number of students our programs reach every year. If we instruct 20 teachers and they in turn take our programs back to their classrooms, 20 students become 400. Teaching just three Professional Development workshops a year will double the number of students we reach annually, and we plan to teach many more. Learn about our major priorities over the next five years to expand and enhance our organization below.

A Letter from Yo Art!

Dear Friends of Yo Art,

The 2018-2019 school year has begun! Yo Art is in its 11th year teaching coding and media arts to children in Title I elementary, middle, and now high schools in the Charleston area. This fall, a team of six instructors are in seven Lowcountry schools providing over 300 students in 13 different classes an introduction to skills that will be vital to their success in the future. In the spring, Yo Art is set to be in 10 schools, and we hope to reach over 1,000 students just in one semester. We expect to see exponential growth in 2019, due in large part to Kiawah Cares and the role Yo Art will play in their initiative to keep students in schools on Charleston’s surrounding barrier islands.
Thanks to the generosity of our many donors and volunteers, our 10th year was filled with many accomplishments. These included:
  • Increased the number of students participating in our programs
  • Expanded the number of instructors and initiated programs in four middle schools
  • Identified high schools asking for Yo Art programs
  • Strengthened our relationship with donor Kiawah Cares to expand to all schools on Johns Island
  • Added four new board members
  • Hired Elizabeth Bowers as our new Executive Director
  • Improved our outreach with a new website
  • Produced promotional videos to expand awareness of Yo Art
  • Significantly expanded our donor base with our first fundraising event
Our founder, Gene Furchgott, announced that he will step down from his full-time role with Yo Art. Without Gene’s vision and stewardship there would not be an organization like Yo Art in Charleston. Ten years ago, Mayor Joe Riley asked Gene to start teaching an after-school art program for 35 students at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School. Gene worked tirelessly during those 10 years and built the organization we know today. During his tenure, close to 10,000 students received instruction in technology and media arts.
Yo Art is more important and vital to our children’s’ educations than it has ever been. This is apparent as more schools ask to be included in our programs. The demand exists, we have the instructors, and we are building a small core staff to support growth. With your financial support, we can continue to expand our programs.
As we kick-off the 2018-2019 school year, I want to again thank you for your encouragement and hope that Yo Art is one of the local organizations you herald and support.
With sincere thanks,
Lori Bate
Chairman of the Board

 

 

History

Ten years ago, Yo Art started as a summer after-school art program with 35 students at Sanders-Clyde Elementary. Today, we’ve taught in over 25 schools in Charleston and Berkeley County, and we are teaching close to 1000 students annually.

We’re proud of our enduring presence in Charleston, and we plan to remain an important fixture in the educational community by reaching more students, teachers, and administrators each year.

Timeline

2007   Led by Gene Furchgott at the request of Charleston’s Mayor Joe Riley, Yo Art is founded with a grant from Nobel Laureate Robert Furchgott. Thirty-five students participated in the pilot program. The second year 110 students attended our summer camp.

2008-9   Yo Art is recognized for its innovative and creative after school programming by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment. Only two non-profits were awarded this honor in South Carolina that year.

Sanders-Clyde Elementary added programs in drama, acting, and photography. Memminger Elementary School added computer arts, and Marion-Stroble taught 100 students Fabric Design. A total of 225 students were enrolled in Yo Art programming.

2009-10   Yo Art added programs to five elementary schools, one middle school, and the Boys and Girls Club in computer arts, photography, landscape design, photojournalism, drama and public art. Seven schools taught 546 students.

Nickelodeon awarded Yo Art with “the Big Green Help” grant for its education through the arts of students in environmental stewardship.

2010-11   Six elementary schools, three middle schools and summer camp taught programs in photography, computer art, journalism, and mask-making using Publisher, Photoshop and PowerPoint.

The Find Your Light Foundation recognized Yo Art for its hard work and dedication to enriching the lives of children through art and creativity.

2011-12   Five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school taught photography, portraiture, mural painting, and fashion design using PowerPoint, Publisher, and Photoshop. Eight schools taught 459 students.

Yo Art was recognized by the Charleston County School District and Dr. McGinley for providing outstanding art experiences to its students.

2013-14  Thirteen schools taught 708 students coding, photography, fashion design, mural/scarecrow construction using Publisher, PowerPoint, PicsArt, and PhotoShop.

2014-15  Fourteen schools and two summer camps taught 964 students coding, fashion design, landscape design, photography both with cameras and iPads using Photoshop, Keynote, and PowerPoint.

2015-16  Thirteen schools taught 950 students coding, art of construction, photography, flooding study, fashion design, and filmmaking using Keynote, Photoshop, and PowerPoint.

This past year, Yo Art instructed more than a 1,000 students in 12 area schools.

Yo Art 3 Year Development Plan

Yo Art! Three-Year Development Plan

Mission, Vision and History

Yo Art enhances everyday classroom curriculum with media arts programs designed to spark students’ curiosity and teach real-world skills.  Our projects encourage learning through discovery and discipline, improvisation and technique, and provide a fertile ground for creative thought through coding, photography, filmmaking, and design.

Yo Art is committed to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps in Charleston’s Title One schools through our transformative learning programs.  These programs are designed to enliven the classroom curriculum through creative projects.  We envision students engaged in learning, inspired by innovative instructors and receiving the support they need to succeed in school and life.

Yo Art has a measurable record of accomplishment.  Ten years ago, Yo Art started as a summer after-school art program in one school teaching thirty-five students.  Today we are in fourteen schools teaching close to a thousand students.

The Need

Every student needs to have the opportunity to develop vital skills involving media technology at an early age.  These children have no exposure to technology at home.  Without the introduction to hardware such as computers, iPads and cameras; software such as PowerPoint, Photoshop and Keynote; or the necessary skills to make a presentation, many students will fall behind their peers.  It is important to establish skills, such as coding, that will put a student on a successful path to high school, college, and career or they may begin a downward trajectory of disengagement and low achievement.  Once a student enters high school unprepared they are more likely to drop out or graduate four years later ineligible for higher education or an entry into a trade.

The Yo Art Difference

Yo Art offers STEAM based programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) to underserved schools in the Charleston area.  This allows elementary and middle school students the opportunity to gain exposure to technology at a young age. Photography, graphic design, coding and filmmaking are offered as part of the established curriculum.  This allows students to explore the possibility of a career in these fields.

Challenges and Solutions

Our growth plan for the next three years is designed to address five key challenges facing students, teachers and the educational system in Charleston.

Challenges Solutions
Too many students aren’t getting the exposure to critical skills necessary to pursue careers in technology and media arts. Yo Art will develop more programs in more schools, especially middle schools so that students don’t lose the skills they acquired in elementary school.  We will establish a robust vertical program that will build on the base of elementary school experience and build a bridge to middle school programs.
Basic to learning is the use of proper tools.  Students need both hardware and software appropriate to attaining a project’s successful outcome. Yo Art now serves close to a thousand students and our instructors have the schools’ support.  Our need presently is acquiring the equipment necessary for the programs to succeed.
Students need one-on-one attention to understand certain concepts regarding technology and design.  Mentors are needed to help students understand and envision a career in technology and/or design. Our new volunteer program will reach out to area companies and institutions whose employees and members can mentor our students.
Yo Art alone cannot fill the gaps in programming in the schools. We will partner with other non-profits and institutions that support media arts to allow greater exposure to a career in the arts.
Yo Art is one organization reaching about a thousand students per year.  We need to make a greater impact. We will initiate a professional development program to instruct teachers in methods of teaching STEAM based projects so that we can reach even more students.

The Next Three Years


Over the past ten years, Yo Art has been a major player in efforts to close the achievement and opportunity gaps between low-income students and their more resourced peers.  Since 2007 we have served over 5000 students in 14 schools. I the next three years we have three priorities:

 

  1. GROW AND STRENGTHEN OUR MEDIA ARTS AND CODING PROGRAM

We will expand our reach by adding new schools and serving more low-income middle school students over the next five years.  While we grow, our commitment to quality and excellence will remain unchanged.

 

  1. INVEST IN MORE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE

Our students deserve the highest quality educational experience and that requires adequate tools.  To          compete in today’s marketplace, students must be equipped with the knowledge to operate cutting edge       equipment and software.  Our program will invest in these tools to keep student’s projects relevant to the market they will enter.

  1. LAUNCH STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

We must do more to ensure our students are prepared for their future careers.  By leveraging strategic partnerships with quality nonprofits and other organizations we will provide our students with a vision of their potential in the tech industry, media arts or the fine arts.
GROW AND STRENGTHEN OUR MEDIA ARTS AND CODING PROGRAMS


Every successful non-profit is comprised of a diverse group of people dedicated to its’ success.   Our central priority is to expand and strengthen our organization to serve many thousands of students in the next three years, and offer all of them the best possible learning experience in media arts and coding.

In the next three years we will:

  1. Add schools and programs.  Just this year another middle school asked us to add our programming to their curriculum.  We were able to attain a grant to allow us to expand into their system. We will continue to reach out to area schools to discuss their needs and fit our programming into their curriculums.
  2. Build our support staff. Currently Yo Art has one full-time Executive Director and two part-time assistants; one assistant to the E.D. and one assistant to the Director of Development.  We plan to make these two part-time positions full-time by the beginning of the fall semester in 2018. As our programs develop, we will expand our staff to keep our programs running efficiently.
  3. Collect and use data to inform continuous program improvements.  We would like to partner with an institution on a study that will improve our ability to measure short, intermediate and long-term outcomes on students and to inform decisions about growth and quality.

INVEST IN MORE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE


We are committed to giving our students the best possible experience learning on high quality computers using relevant software.  Media arts and coding are essential skills in today’s job market.  The sooner our students are familiar with the machines and programs they will be using in the future, the better chance they have for success.

In the next three years we will:

  1. Keep abreast of improvements in technology. The “tech world” moves quickly as everyone is well aware. Here in Charleston we are fortunate to have our own Digital Corridor of tech companies who are innovating all the time.  We will foster relationships with these organizations and stay informed of their advances.
  2.  Develop programs that reflect the state of the industry. We will review our programs and develop them according to the need perceived in the job market.  Using current and updated software and modeling our programs to mirror real experiences the students will encounter in their future careers, we can adequately prepare them for jobs in the tech industry and beyond.

LAUNCH STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS


By linking arms with other non-profit organizations and institutions Yo Art will provide its students more support and access to opportunities throughout their elementary and middle school years.

In the next three years we will:

  1. Extend support for our students by connecting them with high impact programs.  We will collaborate with academic and    enrichment programs to provide them exposure to media arts and the fine arts in our area.
  2. Enlarge our volunteer program. We will partner with area companies who can supply volunteers to mentor and discuss with our students possible career choices.
  3. Engage with the city and our civic institutions.  We will encourage our civic leaders to support our programs and find areas of mutual benefit.

RESULTS

By 2020, after 13 years of service to the Charleston area, Yo Art will have prepared and nurtured 10,000 elementary and middle school students, placed many in partner programs, and inspired a number of teachers to help educate young students in the STEAM based method.

Conclusion
Guided by our strategy, the next three years will bring us closer to ensuring that all Charleston area public school students get the training and exposure to the media arts and coding necessary to help them find meaningful and rewarding careers after they graduate.

Executive Board members

Lori Bate

Lori Bate

President

Eliot Tuckerman

Eliot Tuckerman

Vice President

Raymond Murray

Raymond Murray

Treasurer

Judi Cline

Judi Cline

Secretary

Advisory Board Members

Ann Addlestone Apple, Daniel Affourtit, Gretchen Barbatsis, Jessica Solomon Bluestein, Karen Chandler, Corie Hipp, Rodney Moore, and Ron Anton Rocz

Our professionally trained instructors

Mike McKinney, Obed Danjoint, Tommy Taylor, Paige Hetherington, Adam Chandler, Becky Taylor, and Jonatan Guerrero

Join Our Staff

Yo Art’s staff is dedicated to making a positive difference in the world and in the digital divide of the school districts of Charleston. We are a team of collaborative, creative and mission-driven individuals who respect and encourage each other. Guided by core values of community, opportunity, respect, and high expectations, we work together every day to narrow the achievement and opportunity gaps in the Charleston area. Our headquarters are in Charleston, South Carolina.

A wholehearted thank you to Yo Art’s sponsors and grantors:

Financials

Yo Art, Inc., is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization providing creative learning and enrichment programs serving the Charleston area public school system.  Yo Art, Inc., prepares its financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (U.S. GAAP)

Audited Financial Statements:  2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013

The Yo Art, Inc., business department supports the administration of finance, facilities, and human resources needs, and ensures the organization is a good steward of the private and community funds it receives.  For more information about Yo Art’s finances and business operations, please contact Director of Finance, Raymond Murray.