Justin Ayala started 2018 as the new director of the StARTSomething Arts in Education program offered by the Cultural Alliance of York County.
Before taking over the program, Ayala worked as a StARTSomething teaching artist for 15 years in 100 residencies at schools and community centers. He is one of 350 rostered teaching artists in the state, a designation that establishes a standard of excellence in an artist’s medium and qualifies him or her to teach.
Ayala, who practices as an interdisciplinary artist, plans to grow StARTSomething’s artist directory and develop more residencies, as well as advocate for arts in the region. StARTSomething serves York, Adams, Franklin and Fulton counties and has 27 rostered teaching artists and more than 30 residencies already in the works for the year.
Although the program is largely focused on artist residencies in schools, Ayala is encouraged by the region’s enthusiasm for facilitating the program in other places, particularly senior centers. His experiences as a teaching artist with seniors were some of his most memorable, he said, and he is looking forward to the possibilities.
“Right now we have more opportunities than we have artists,” Ayala said.
Ayala replaces Gayle Cluck, who became the first director of StARTSomething a decade ago after the state handed down arts-in-education programs to be run regionally.
“We are thrilled to welcome Justin into this leadership role, and know that our artists and community will benefit from Justin’s knowledge and experience in bringing arts and learning together,” Mary Anne Winkelman, president of the Cultural Alliance of York County, said.
The StARTSomething Arts in Education program is the third-largest of 14 state arts-in-education programs in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh’s programs are the state’s two biggest.
Since 2000, the Cultural Alliance’s annual campaign has brought in $9.2 million in cash and more than $2 million of in-kind support for eight partner agencies.