About KCYA


Kansas City Young Audiences, founded in 1961, is the original provider of arts education programs for children and youth in the Kansas City metro. Our programs serve approximately 100,000 students annually, and for many, it is their first brush with the arts. Nearly 70% of the students we serve come from lower-income homes and may not have access to these experiences if it weren't for KCYA and our 150 partner teaching artists.  


Our Mission


Engage all youth in the arts, promote creativity, and inspire success in education.


Our Rallying Cry


Every child deserves the transformational spark the arts ignite!



Why the Arts?



Studies show the benefits of arts education to children are numerous. The arts help students learn self-discipline, communication, and collaboration skills and can improve school attendance and classroom learning. It is clear, children who participate in the arts have better outcomes. Learn more about the benefits of ARTS EDUCATION



Our National Network


Kansas City Young Audiences is affiliated with the national Young Audiences Arts for Learning network. Founded in 1952, the mission of Young Audiences Arts for Learning is to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts. Our network is made up of local affiliated nonprofits that collectively impact over 5 million young people each year. The national Young Audiences Arts for Learning network works collaboratively to advance arts in education through advocacy, communications, fundraising, program development, professional learning, and other support. To explore our national network, visit www.youngaudiences.org/YA-network-map.



Our History


Kansas City Young Audiences (KCYA) has been the leading provider of high-quality arts education for 59 years. Established as a non-profit agency in 1961 by a group of dedicated volunteers, KCYA's original mission was to provide children, in Kansas City schools, an opportunity to see and hear classical music performances. 




Since that time, Kansas City Young Audiences now provides programs in creative writing, dance, theatre, visual art as well as music and serves the greater Kansas City area, Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. KCYA is an affiliate of the national Young Audiences Arts for Learning network, the leading provider of arts education programs in the United States.


Kansas City Young Audiences arts programs have helped more than 6 million children cultivate artistic expression; unleashing ideas, creativity, and individual problem solving skills.



National and Regional Affiliations








A New Location - A New Era in Arts Education


The top priority of the Mayor's Task Force for the Arts is more arts education opportunities for children.  And it's easy to see why.  It's proven that when arts education is woven into classroom curriculum, students are more excited about learning...achievement levels rise...and school attendance soars.  We need robust arts programming in Kansas City schools and KCYA has been at the forefront of this movement for nearly 60 years.  We're ready to step into the next era of empowering children with confidence, creativity and boundless opportunity in and through the arts.


KCYA stands poised with our paintbrush in the air, a blank canvas before us...the new location on Main Street gives us the opportunity to respond to the needs of children in our community in ways never before imagined!  We know our new building will allow us to fully embrace our role as an arts leader and hub of creativity.  With increased space we can host classes, workshops. and new programs. We can gather artists and educators to collaborate on exciting new programs that will benefit children all over the city - especially those without equal access to arts education.




Learn about our leadership.