Hamilton Happening

Young women walking to Boston Opera House to see Hamilton

This fall Hamilton, the musical and cultural phenomenon, drew standing-room-only crowds from adults and children of all ages during its run at the Boston Opera House. Along with the show came the Hamilton Education Program — a partnership between The Gilder Lehrman Institute, the producers of Hamilton, and the Lin-Manuel Miranda family — in which students from high schools with high percentages of low-income families are invited to see the show and integrate Alexander Hamilton and the founding era into their classroom studies.

2,500 students from schools across Massachusetts attended two stirring special events in Boston, where young people performed their own Hamilton-inspired dance, music, and spoken word on the very stage where the play had been performed. These impassioned readings and performances were accompanied by thundering applause and cheers from an audience that owned each line being recited. By presenting an original work on the founding era, each young person had earned their way to this stage, using their creativity to bring history to life through monologues, rhymes, songs, and poems.

Before the show, teachers guided students through a unique, hands-on class project using Gilder Lehrman Institute resources to introduce the people, events, and documents of the founding era. Students also learned how Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, incorporated primary sources into the songs he wrote for the show and used that knowledge to produce their own performance pieces.

Mass Cultural Council proudly supported this unique learning opportunity, as schools took advantage of our Big Yellow School Bus grants to give students a chance be part of the cultural movement sparked by Miranda’s genius. Many of our Creative Youth Development programs participated actively, bringing their vision and voice onto the stage:

Hamilton inspired me to take a chance. Like Alexander Hamilton, don’t wait for things come to you. Like Aaron Burr; you’ve got to go for it.” – Luis Gonzalez, Margarita Muñiz Academy student

“I think Hamilton‘s deeper meaning shows us that there are many perspectives to see something and we should always keep an open mind.” – Francely Rosario, Margarita Muñiz Academy student

Hamilton showed me that in life, there is nothing that can give you what you want. You need to work hard to get what you want.” – Adonis Jimenez, Margarita Muñiz Academy student

Hamilton made me think of more ways one can be creative with art.” – Edwin Padilla, Margarita Muñiz Academy student

Youth Arts Showcase – Andrine Pierresaint

Andrine Pierresaint performs her spoken word piece, “Knives” at the Amplify grants reception at the Mass State House earlier this year.

Andrine is a Youth Leader at Books of Hope, which is funded in part by Mass Cultural Council’s YouthReach Program, and a 2018 Amplify Grant Recipient.

Andrine’s Artist Statement: Writing about my personal experience with sexual assault has been very difficult. But I saw a documentary  on UN peacekeepers in Port-au-Prince, and my family has had many experiences with sexual assault. Haiti has a long history of constantly being taken advantage of, by withholding this information, I feel I would’ve been contributing to it.

Teens Talk Youth Media at CCTV

Cambridge Community Television’s School Year Production Program (SYPP) provides teens with an opportunity to develop career readiness and media production skills every year from October to May. The program is a collaboration between the Mayor’s Fall Youth Employment Program, Cambridge Community Services’ CityLinks Program, and Cambridge Housing Authority’s Workforce Program.

Here’s what some participants had to say about their experience with the program:

WANTED: Your Creative Youth Development Videos

Our national CYD network is collecting video URLs from practitioners that feature students’ voices and boldly and creatively tell their stories. Short videos will be embedded on the Creative Youth Development National Partnership website to help communicate our collective story more strategically to funders, government agencies, policy makers, organizations, artists, funders, researchers, and other stakeholders.

Submit your organization’s video URL and be included in our national story. This video directory is inclusive.

Video Guidelines

  • 2-3 minutes average length
  • prominent student voice
  • demonstrate CYD core values of creativity, social justice, youth perspective

Submission Deadline: November 30, 2018

Share Your Video URLs

Social Development and the Arts: Creative Youth Across Borders

Youth performing traditional dance at México’s Veracruz Institute of Culture.We’ve seen how creative expression lifts young people beyond poverty, disability, and other societal barriers here in Massachusetts and across the nation.

Today the movement for creative youth transcends national borders. Earlier this month, our neighbors to the south shared some of their insights on the transformative power of the arts in the lives young people at a Harvard University panel discussion.

“Social Development and the Arts in Latin America” was centered around lessons learned from El Sistema, the music education program founded by renowned Venezuelan economist and humanist José Antonio Abreu in 1975. The discussion was moderated by Harvard Business School Professor Tarun Khanna, co-author of a seminal case study on El Sistema.

Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director of El Sistema, noted that it was founded “as a social program, not a cultural program.” It aims not to produce great musicians, or even professional ones, but to nurture children and adolescents in an environment that combines strong social and emotional support, intellectual rigor, and aesthetic inspiration. Programs in more than 70 countries have now
adopted El Sistema principles of “inclusion, ensemble learning, and collective, committed pursuit of musical excellence,” according to Méndez.

But the discussion moved beyond El Sistema model and classical music to highlight the power of all arts disciplines to transform the lives of youth, particularly those living in poverty. Enrique Márquez is Director General of México’s Veracruz Institute of Culture, which has harnessed the time and energy of thousands of middle-class and wealthy volunteers to work with disadvantaged children and adolescents in programs that teach theater, music, dance, and the visual arts. The connections have broken down class barriers and built trust at a time when social isolation threatens to become an international epidemic, according to Márquez.

“The arts have this wonderful ability to bring people together,” he said. “Arts, even classical music, can be very inclusive.”

The Mass Cultural Council is committed to supporting creative youth through grants, initiatives, and advocacy. Through annual investment of more than $1.5 million in national-model programs alongside grants for new and emerging organizations, we support a generation of young people whose creativity and leadership will transform Massachusetts and its communities. This year, we have expanded our grant recipient pool to 74 programs through YouthReach and SerHacer, and will continue to support Amplify, the META Fellowship, and Johnson String Project. Mass Cultural Council is also a founding member of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership.

Register for National Young Artists’ Summit

When: Saturday, November 17 in Baltimore, MD
Who: Young Artists and Creatives ages 13-24

This full-day Summit, entirely designed and led by young people, provides opportunities for youth leaders, ages 13-24, from a range of artistic disciplines, to connect, create, and celebrate.

The Summit has been planned by a core team of young artists from Baltimore, San Diego, and Detroit, who are working in concert with their peers across the country to shape this incredible experience. The Summit is free to youth, but pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Lunch is provided.

This event is being hosted in concert with the 2018 Conference for Community Arts Education, a national convening which aims to ensure all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential.

TRAVEL STIPENDS AVAILABLE. REGISTER HERE NOW!

Logo Designed by Maya Brooks of the Youth Planning Committee

Questions: Contact Ashley Hare, CYD National Coordinator.

Join Us for a Presentation by Dr. Bettina Love

We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching, Hip Hop Civics & Creativity

Monday, Nov 5, 2018
3 – 4:30pm
The Loft
939 Boylston Street,  2nd Floor
Boston

Dr. Bettina Love is one of few scholars to have implemented hip-hop education principles into elementary classrooms. (Photo courtesy of Bettina Love).

Dr. Bettina Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. She is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the ways in which urban youth negotiate culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her focus is also on how teachers and schools, working with parents and communities, can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice for the goal of equitable classrooms.

Space is limited.

Register Now

The space is physically accessible. We welcome people of all abilities

Nano-Interview with Sean Elligers of Kids 4 Harmony

Name: Sean Elligers
Organization: Berkshire Children and Families’ Kids 4 Harmony
Title: Teaching Artist
Music Genre: Mostly classical
Years in the field: 9

What do you do at Kids 4 Harmony?
At Kids 4 Harmony, I teach music theory, composition, trumpet, and some string technique to students ranging 3rd to 11th grade. I work with students on various music theory skills (scales, arpeggios, chord structures) and, through collective improvisation or using the notation software, Noteflight, students compose their own music based on those concepts. I also play the role of unofficial photographer for our program.

Why do you do what you do?
My students are incredibly smart, curious, introspective, often (intentionally) hilarious individuals and I feel incredibly fortunate to have developed close connections with them. As someone who thrives on collaborative work, I am instantly swept away and energized by their ideas and am committed to helping them gain access to the tools and knowledge they seek to pursue their compositional and performance ambitions.

What comes easiest to you in this work?
Engaging with the students and their families. More specifically, one of my favorite things to do is go to a student’s parent at the end of the program and brag about the new composition that their student has started or how great the student played in orchestra. The students will be the first to tell you that I’m far more excited than they are, but the parents still appreciate it.

What challenges you in this work?
I regret never being able to spend a sufficient amount of time to help each student on their individual compositional projects in class. Despite running around to each student, helping them navigate questions with the software or find that initial spark of inspiration for their piece, it’s frustrating when class ends and there are eight students raising their hands begging you to come listen to their compositions or their revisions. I’m thrilled that they are eager to share but it always burns to tell them they’ll have to wait until next class.

What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
Thanks to Berkshire Children and Families, the social service agency that Kids 4 Harmony is part of, our program is given the support and visibility that has helped us make collaborative relationships with the local schools, colleges, and other arts programs in the Berkshire community. Our families are always generous to share their appreciation for our program and for the opportunities the students are given to perform at these events.

How do you blow off steam?
I chip away at my own compositions, try to make sense of synthesizers, and try to get better at instruments I’m less familiar with, like the violin or accordion.

What music do you like listen to (if even a little too loudly)?
I drive a lot and I often find myself in a low-stakes crisis of what music I want to listen to. I might pull from a range of artists/genres (Ambrose Akinmusire, Mount Eerie, Bjork) but as of recently, I’ve found myself unexpectedly defaulting to any original soundtrack from SEGA Genesis or Super Nintendo video games.

Do you live with any animals?
I do! Her name is Cammie and she’s a chihuahua mix. True to her breed, she keeps us on our toes: shaking when we come home, shaking when she wants our food and shaking during thunderstorms.

Creative Youth Development

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