Zach Stock will be performing at the Yards Brewing Company, 901 N. Delaware Ave., on Friday, May 11 to help raise funds for the nonprofit organization Yes! And Collaborative Arts summer theater program.

by Sue Ann Rybak

Yes! And… Collaborative Arts, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Folksong Society, is hosting an evening with The Spinning Leaves, joined by guests Zach Stock and John Mallinen at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11, at the Yards Brewing Company, 901 N. Delaware Ave., to raise funds for its summer theater program.

Yes! And… Collaborative Arts is an educational arts program based in Mt. Airy whose mission is to “equip children and young people with the tools to be better learners, to believe in themselves, and to realize their dreams through the work of creating collaboratively with peers and professional artists.”

The benefit concert Inner Monologues will feature The Spinning Leaves, co-founders of the Philly Folk Parade, who will be playing “feel good” psychedelic folk tunes. There will also be a special guest performance from Philadelphia songsmith John Mallinen.

Michael Brix, a spokesman for Yes! And… Collaborative Arts discussed the arts education organization and its impact on the community.

“We use the arts in order to teach literacy, improve reading levels, build self-esteem and self-confidence, and teach students to work as a team,” Brix said. “We are trying to produce active, responsible citizens.”

Recently, a study by the Arts Education Partnership confirmed what Yes! And… Collaborative Arts already knew: that school children exposed to drama and music score higher in reading, writing, and math than those that focus solely on academics. The study also noted that arts education is particularly helpful to students in need of remedial instruction.

Zach Stock, one of the many professional artists that collaborates with Yes! And… Collaborative Arts, said the nonprofit primarily works with kids living in low-income neighborhoods in and around Philadelphia.

He said the organization believes that “collaborative arts education is important for all ages, everywhere.”

Brix noted that the organization has been around for more than 15 years and “grew out of Eastern University.” He added that the program “never turns a child away because of money.”

Proceeds from the concert will raise funds to send kids to six different camps throughout Philadelphia this summer.

Brix said that while the nonprofit has held several types of fundraisers in the past, this year Yes! And… Collaborative Arts is relaunching its annual benefit concert.

“This is the first time we are going to be hosting it [the benefit concert] at the brewery,” Brix said. “It’s the first time we have connected with the Philadelphia Folk Song Society. It’s a great opportunity to reach a more diverse audience. It allows us to connect with people who are not in our inner circle.

“One of the reasons we do the benefit concert is because 90 percent of the kids that come to our program get some kind of financial aid, and the majority of them pay a very minimum amount.”

More information and advance tickets are available at www.yesandcamp.org.