Ya/Ya: Young New Orleans Artists and Their Storytelling Chairs, and how to Ya/Ya in Your Neighborhood

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LSU Press, 1996 - Art - 111 pages
Young Aspirations/Young Artists (YA/YA), Inc., is the phenomenal New Orleans nonprofit arts organization started by the painter Jana Napoli in 1988. It is part school, part community center, part gallery, part working studio. But it is the commercial-art students - primarily African Americans - from nearby L. E. Rabouin Career Magnet High School in the city's central business district who breathe life into that entity. They are the YA/YAs. The YA/YAs came to the attention of the outside world through their painted chairs. Napoli first had them depict their dreams and fears on secondhand furniture and then arranged an exhibit at Lincoln Center in New York. It was a success that launched the young artists into an upward spiral of fame. In YA/YA! - a combination history, collective memoir, and guidebook - former YA/YA director Claudia Barker conveys with infectious enthusiasm the hip, happening creativity that thrives at YA/YA. She follows the trajectory of eight original YA/YAs from their early doubts and trials to their triumphal status as senior Guild members and mentors to succeeding YA/YA "generations". The group's spirit is mirrored in the book's free-form design: comments from staff and students, including deeply felt statements about their ideas and work, and scores of color photographs approximating the visual impact of the YA/YAs' art combine with Barker's own reflective narrative. By reviewing the path that YA/YA has traveled in raising funds, getting publicity, defining its purpose, and striving for harmony, she outlines a model for similar programs in other communities.

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Parti YAYA Sketch
Z Trust and Fear
j Spreading the Right Words
Out in the World
Rewards and How to YAYA in Your Neighborhood
Growing Up

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