Op-Ed

BAAY brings arts to children

BAAY produced “The Muppets Take Manhattan” in June, 2015, at the Bellingham theater.
BAAY produced “The Muppets Take Manhattan” in June, 2015, at the Bellingham theater. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth was established in 2006 and had about 125 volunteers in 2015.

Purpose: The mission of Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, known as BAAY, is to enrich the lives of children through the exploration of the arts. We accomplish this purpose through our three programs: EduArts, our after-school enrichment program currently taking place in over 10 schools throughout Whatcom County; the Bellingham Preschool of the Arts, our arts-focused preschool; and the BAAY Campus, a 120-seat theater in the heart of downtown Bellingham where our music, theater, voice, art and dance programs take place.

Our community-backed scholarship fund allows us to extend our programs to every child who can follow our basic rules that support our environment of creativity and love.

Volunteer highlights: This 2015-16 school year, the EduArts program was supported by 25 unique volunteers who served as teaching assistants in our classes. These assistants volunteered up to 5 hour per week of their time to help these classes in theatre, art, dance, improv and choir run smoothly.

Signature fundraiser: The Best of BAAY 10th anniversary celebration will take place on June 18 at the Majestic Theater from 6-9 p.m. (1027 N. Forest St). Part birthday party, part fundraiser, part farewell and send-off, this family friendly event will feature food trucks, beer and wine for sale, a dessert dash, and, most importantly, one-time-only encore performances of some of BAAY’s best-loved numbers from a decade of memorable shows. The evening will include a tribute and fond farewell to David Post, BAAY’s founder and executive director, who will be handing over the reins to a new generation of leadership this summer. Admission for Best of BAAY is free and open to the public. Proceeds from beer and wine sales, the dessert dash, and any free-will donations go to support the BAAY scholarship fund.

Wish list: Reorganized and renovated dressing rooms for students; a new computer for the office, loaded with current software; a marquee sign for the building; a grand drape curtain for the theater; a powerful LED projector; a new spotlight for the theater.

Current volunteer needs: Volunteer teaching assistants, volunteer receptionists, architect consultant services to optimize the use of our space, labor and expertise of a contractor to remodel our bathrooms, painting services for our floors throughout the building.

For more information, go online to baay.org.

VOLUNTEER MONTH

April is National Volunteer Month and The Bellingham Herald has partnered with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County to highlight local non-profit agencies that offer opportunities to become involved in our community. For more information online about the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, go to whatcomvolunteer.org.

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