The Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Gallo Center for the Arts have entered into an agreement that will see the performing arts venue assume management responsibilities and artistic direction for YES Company. Cortney Hurst Betschart, Director of Arts Education for the Gallo Center, and Tiffany Davis, Arts Education Manager, will lead the new venture.
Founded by SCOE in 1992, YES (Youth Entertainment Stage) Company offers a variety of programs that will now be managed by the Gallo Center as part of an expanding, year-round arts education initiative of the performing arts venue. YES Company’s signature offering is a nine-week summer program that immerses young people grades 7-12 in a pre-professional theater experience. Open auditions lead to an intense rehearsal period and culminate with seven performances of a Broadway-type production over the span of two weekends at the Gallo Center.
The Gallo Center will operate YES Company with partial funding by the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County, which has traditionally furnished support for the organization’s staffing, production and equipment needs, and tuition grants for deserving students.
YES Company effectively is being absorbed into the Gallo Center’s fast growing arts education program, Pathways to Creativity. That program now oversees:
- the Center’s annual student matinee series, which brings approximately 40,000 children to the Center for educational performances each season: https://www.galloarts.org/ArtsEducation/
- A behavior prevention touring show that performs for students at more than 65 regional school sites and community facilities each year
- Creation Station, the Center’s annual music and theater summer camp for youth in grades 1 – 6
- Partners in Education, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in which Modesto City Schools, Stanislaus County Office of Education and the Gallo Center team up to create professional development workshops for teachers
- Prime Shine Car Wash Driving the Arts Transportation Grants, a program that helps alleviate the high cost of bus transportation to bring children to and from the Gallo Center for student matinee performances
- Broadway Dreams, a recently added program that provides professional training by Broadway performers and creative leaders for students interested in musical theater careers
Another new initiative for the Gallo Center is the launch of the Gallo Center Youth Academy. The Academy offers year round performing arts experiences for youth grades K-6. Offering semester long classes, GCYA features twice-weekly, hour long sessions exploring acting, musical theater, playwriting, singing, composition and much more. Student performance showcases will be held at the end of each semester (December and May) in the Foster Family Theater for family and friends.
About the team:
Cortney Betschart, Director of Arts Education
Cortney has recently been promoted to the new Director of Arts Education position, to lead the Center’s existing arts education programs and help develop new initiatives. These include the Gallo Center Youth Academy after school program for students in grades 1-6, and co-presenting YES Company’s summer musical for students in grades 7-12 with the Stanislaus County Office of Education. Since 2014, Cortney has managed a wide variety of arts education programs at the Gallo Center focused on serving students and teachers from throughout the San Joaquin Valley region: Creation Station, the Center’s summer arts and music camp for youth; Creativity at the Core, a partnership with the Stanislaus County Office of Education to provide professional development workshops for teachers; and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program with co-participants Modesto City Schools and the Stanislaus County Office of Education. A Modesto native, Cortney attributes much of who she is today to her exposure and education through the arts as a child of this community. She looks forward to providing new opportunities for today’s youth to also learn and grow through the arts. Cortney has a BFA in Ballet from the University of Utah and an MS in Arts Administration from the University of Oregon.
Tiffany Davis, Arts Education Manager
Tiffany, another Modesto native, will take on the role of Arts Education Manager starting July 2. She will assist Cortney with executing the Gallo Center Youth Academy after school program, as well as direct the YES Company. She is quite excited to be a part of a team that focuses on serving local youth through creativity and learning in the arts. Prior to this new opportunity, Tiffany worked as the Center’s Arts Education Liaison and Assistant Ticket Office Manager, where she managed all ticket sales for student matinee performances at the Center. Tiffany holds an MFA in Dance and Creative Practice from Saint Mary’s College, along with a certification in production management. She’s an award-winning choreographer, with professional performances credits that include nominations for Bay Area’s leading Actress and New Actor to Watch. Tiffany has previously worked sharing the performing arts as a teaching artist and choreographer for students from Stanislaus, Merced, and Contra Costa counties. She is looking forward to this new opportunity, especially the YES Company partnership. Tiffany is a YES Company alumnus and is thrilled to be a part of the continuing legacy of such a wonderful program.