Outreach Coordinator with Young Aspirations/Young Artists, Inc. (YA/YA)
I recall graduation day, seated in the cool shade of Elm Tree Lawn, my stomach tied in knots — anxious to begin my life as an independent adult, but fearful that I would become intellectually dull the moment I stepped away from campus. During my time at Scripps, I never imagined how integral my humanities education would become to my process of learning well beyond my years as a student. Scripps gave me insight into the synergy of the many realms of society along with the skills to articulate my thoughts — by questioning others and questioning myself. It was during my senior of college that I began to ponder the influence of the arts in the pursuit for social justice. This contemplation has always been central in my career, travels, and creative endeavors. As a New Orleans native, and lifelong resident except for my years at Scripps, this question has become stronger and more focused in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: How can the arts drive social justice in rebuilding New Orleans? My approach to seek knowledge and solutions, skills that I learned at Scripps, continue to resonate in my present life.”
After graduating from Scripps, Ann Schnieders was offered a position as the Outreach Coordinator with Young Aspirations/Young Artists, Inc. (YA/YA), a non-profit arts and social service organization in New Orleans that provides training to youth in visual arts and entrepreneurship. From 1997-2000, Ann served as the Cultural Programs Manager with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, producing cultural presentations for the annual event. Equal to her love of her native culture, is her interest in Chinese folk traditions. Ann received two fellowships from the Durfee Foundation, Chinese American Capital Adventure Program to document folk art interpretations of the Chinese alligator (1998) and to explore the women’s script called Nu Shu (2000). In 2000, Ann returned to YA/YA, this time as the Executive Director of Business Operations. Since serving in this leadership role, YA/YA has been recognized by Oprah Winfrey as the recipient of “Oprah’s Use Your Life Award” and the organization has been a featured on the “Today” show three times for its innovative youth arts programs.