Early in the school year, the YEA! steering committee meets to begin planning for the big event in May. Teachers are contacted to remind them to use YEA! Day as an inspiration for class art projects and individual artwork throughout the school year.
Beginning in February of each year, invitations to participate in YEA! Day are sent to public, private and parochial schools in Evanston, grades kindergarten through high school. Art teachers respond, and information is gathered to provide the teacher’s what they need to display their children’s artwork. A layout is drawn identifying each outdoor site and school/teacher assignments are made. The Exhibition Coordinator is key to keeping track of this information and corresponding with the teachers. A Rain site is determined and a layout prepared in case the event needs to be moved indoors.
During March fund raising begins with a group of volunteers who contact prospective donors and supporters. The Yea! fundraising letter announcing the event and soliciting donations is revised and sent out to the Evanston community including businesses and individuals. Plans begin for the Silent Auction and soliciting in-kind donations. Arrangements are made for the annual teacher’s meeting where art teachers from the invited schools gather to get important information for their exhibition space on YEA! Day.
Promotional materials are developed and designed including: twenty five 8ft. banners announcing the event and thanking the sponsors, 500 posters, and 6000 certificates which are given to each child recognizing their contribution to Yea!, signed by their art teacher and the Mayor of Evanston.
Final plans are made for the teacher’s meeting which occurs in mid April. Orders are placed for Yea! hats, t-shirts and buttons to be sold at the YEA! concession booth along with snacks and refreshments provided by local vendors. Volunteers are solicited to help with set up and tear down of the display panels on the morning of YEA! Silent auction donations are solicited, gathered and recorded. An order is placed for the performing arts stage and folding chairs along with tables that teachers need for the display of their art work.
Thursday before YEA! day, which is the 3rd Saturday in the month, 75 panels and supplies are loaded onto a truck to be unloaded and ready at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning for installation. On YEA! Day teachers arrive at 8am to install their artwork, and the performing arts stage, silent auction and concession tables are set up and made ready. At 10 am YEA! Day begins and the streets fill with the joyous sound of students singing and happy children, families and friends enjoying the artwork displayed!