“Unsteady” is a conceptual dance project created to address social issues present among young teens including bullying, body image, and cultural differences. Recipients of Mass Cultural Council’s 2018 Amplify grant, the piece was choreographed entirely by BalletRox dancers and performed at the Wake Up the Earth Festival this year in Jamaica Plain.
Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D., is the CEO of IBA, a community development corporation dedicated to empowering individuals through education, workforce development, and arts programs. She shares IBA’s holistic approach to youth development and how the arts unleash the collective power and voice of the young people they serve.
Angkor Dance Troupe performs at the Creative Youth Development Showcase hosted last year by Mass Cultural Council and EdVestors.
Youth voice is essential to creative youth development. We’re asking youth leaders to speak to the power of culture as active agents in their own growth:
Each year, Artistic Noise creates group projects using the theme “Ubuntu”. A term from Southern Africa referring to humanity, Ubuntu means “I am because you are.” In other words, ‘my humanity is inextricably bound to yours.’ It is the belief in a universal bond that connects all humanity.
This year, two projects were created using this theme, “Our Common Thread” and “The Cards You’re Dealt.”
Our Common Thread
Youth Artists: Aaliyah, Angelina, Dani, Genea, Genezza, Kyla, Karmen, Jada, Jeante, Jenna, Shana, Taylah, Takari, Thiarra, Trinidy, Quasaia, Xianixia, Zainab, Zyikeya.
“[Ubuntu] is about how one person cannot live independently of their community. Ubuntu has us think about the impact we have on our communities and how they also influence who we are. We realized that there is a common thread weaving us all together so we made this piece by crocheting yarn. The interlocking loops of yarn represent all of us and our connections to one another.
The center piece is a rainbow that represents the idea of Ubuntu. All its colors represent all the people and their differences and how beautiful diversity is. The triangles that surround the Ubuntu rainbow symbolize the words that represent what we want for ourselves and our neighbors. We chose the colors that we felt best matched those words and crochet the triangles. The colors of the triangles are part of the rainbow the way we feel that these words represent elements that are very important to Ubuntu”
Ubuntu: represented by the rainbow center
Believe: the blue triangle; Change: the multicolored blue and purple triangle; Peace: the purple triangle; Resilience: the multicolored red triangle; Growth: the green triangle; Community: the multicolored blue and green triangle
The Cards You’re Dealt
Interns: Sam Zicolella, Clara Clough
Art Therapist: Hannah Fulkerson
Youth Artists: Dani, David, Khaliel, Shana, Takari, Travin, Quasaia, Zyikeya
“The Cards You’re Dealt” is an eight by five foot painting, separated across four panels. The quadtych represents the uncontrollable aspects of our human existence and how we choose to live given those circumstances. The first three panels portray how we do not have the choice to pick our race or ethnic background, the socioeconomic status we are born into and how that affects our climb to the top, or many of the fortunate and unfortunate events that happen to us throughout our life. The last panel asks us to consider how we grow and develop as people in response to our circumstances and to also consider the circumstances of others.
The last panel is for reflection. You will find a rap composed by Takari (Artistic Noise youth artist) which speaks to some of the harshness in the world and encourages us to appreciate what we have and keep pushing til the end.
This is an interactive art piece that requests everyone’s participation. The artists encouraged you to take a gamble at each panel, think about the cards you’ve been dealt, and then share your thoughts with us on the last reflection panel by writing your response directly below Takari’s lyrics:
Gotta play the cards you’re dealt
Ain’t no choice in the pull
Young kid ain’t have no money he was chasing them bulls
Another kid up in the burbs he was swimming in pools
Kid back up in the city he was following fools
He was ducking from the people and rejecting them schools
Rich boy was talking back and he was thinking he’s cool
Met each other on the train and they was chattin’ it up
Tommy claiming that he bad but he ain’t backing it up
Davi, see the kid got future but he cracking it up
He’ll give anything and everything to turn back in time
Every time he leave without it put his life on the line
Tommy said you made ya choice now just let me make mine
Now the life that he was living wasn’t choice but by ways
He was tryna find the light in this world full of pain
Money can’t feed your emotion that’s the way he was feeling
Money buying fame that’s the reason he win
Don’t nobody really judge him in this world full of sin
This piece represents the understanding of Ubuntu as we should show love, care and understanding for one another because we do not get to choose the life we have, but are still responsible for the person we become.”
June 19, 2018 12 – 1pm ET
Free and open to public; pre-registration required
Learn how you can use the recently released Creative Youth Development (CYD) National Action Blueprint as a resource in your work to advance the role of creativity in youth development. Led by the CYD National Partnership and a cross-sector coalition, this one-hour, interactive forum is designed for CYD practitioners and alumni, funders, researchers, and allied youth sector leaders.
During the forum, we will discuss:
- The CYD National Movement and Blueprint goals
- How CYD aligns with the priorities of allied youth sectors, including education, juvenile justice, and afterschool
- Recommendations for advancing CYD in three strategic priority areas
VISIBILITY & IMPACT: Documenting and Communicating Outcomes and Impact
FUNDING: Expanding Pathways to Funding
FIELD BUILDING: Professional Development, Networking, and Technical Assistance
- Opportunities to get involved
Read the Creative Youth Development National Action Blueprint and subscribe to the CYD Partnership email list to receive regular updates on creative youth development (CYD) news, opportunities, and resources.
Last month, for the first time in over a decade, pop legend Janet Jackson launched an open call for dancers to audition for upcoming projects. Using various social media platforms (including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Musical.ly), dancers were encouraged to upload a 30-second video either performing famed Jackson choreography or freestyling to favorite songs by Jackson using hashtag #DanceWithJanet.
One of these submissions will include Boston’s very own OrigiNation. Here they are freestyling to Janet’s “Rhythm Nation”.
Origination, an Afrocentric performing arts organization, produces innovative and dynamic programs which motivate, challenge, and inspire youth of all levels of training to be the best they can be. Offering quality dance, theater arts, public speaking, and African history education programming, special emphasis is placed on teaching young people ages 2 to 18 the importance of self-respect, health, nutrition, civic engagement, education, self-esteem, as well as the extent of African influences on various contemporary art forms.
On May 3, Mass Cultural Council partnered with 15 organizations across the state to bring youth voice to the Massachusetts State House, and celebrate the young leaders who are recipients of this year’s Amplify grants.
Framed by Andrine Pierre-Saint’s thrilling spoken word piece and introspective chamber music performance by Neighborhood Strings, the day brought Representatives Christine Barber, Paul Donato, and Jeffrey Sánchez to celebrate culture’s capacity to empower, elevate, and connect, magnified tenfold by the young performers, activists, and leaders present.
Amongst congratulations and applause, Rep. Sánchez said, ”To see you here and to see the power of what Mass Cultural Council is doing with state resources is dramatic to me… I see what it’s doing, it’s giving all of you a voice.”
The Performance Project’s First Generation brings together young adults ages 14-23 for intensive artistic training, leadership development, and inter-generational mentoring. Forming an artistic ensemble, the First Generation youth create original multi-lingual physical theater performances based on their discoveries.
Name: Josh Snyder
Organization: Sociedad Latina
Title: Manager of Arts, Culture, and Civic Engagement
Artistic Genre: Guitar
Years in the field: 5
What do you do at Sociedad Latina?
I oversee all of our arts programming and most recently, am taking on oversight of our health education and civic engagement program. More specifically, we serve 30 high school youth in our after school programming and are aiming to serve 300 students through our in school arts classes and Saturday lessons program.
Why do you do what you do?
Music had been a passion of mine since early middle school, being an adult and able to sustain my life on something I truly love is extremely rewarding. Beyond this, I really enjoy being able to provide tools and resources to young people who are passionate about music as well; having a supportive figure during my early years as an artist was crucial.
What comes easiest to you in this work?
The front line work with students is by far my favorite part of the work I do. When students discover something they enjoy or have never been able to do before, it pushes me to continue to challenge them and provide guidance.
What challenges you in this work?
Admin tasks! I really struggled with sending emails on time, organizing data, and putting together long term plans when I first started. I’ve since remedied this due to the fact that all of these “no fun” pieces allow me to deliver better programming to the youth
What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
To be honest, I can’t speak for what it means to all of the students. My job is to make sure the access is there for them to develop their own artistic vision and ability. Whether its a student on the track for a conservatory, or a weekend living room musician, I treat every student with the same amount of respect and urgency. I hope
they see me, other instructors, and Sociedad Latina as a safe, fun, and challenging space for them to develop.
How do you blow off steam?
Other than playing music with friends, I like to get rid of stress rock climbing. When the weather is good, I’m often in New Hampshire or Western Mass with friends camping and climbing for the weekend. I’ve also has the opportunity to climb in New York, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Utah.
What do you create in your free time?
I’ve been really inspired lately by solo acoustic guitar pieces. One of my favorite players, Julian Lage, has really pushed me to work harder in this style. I’m trying to get together a full set of repertoire to record a CD of original pieces.
Whose work in the CYD field do you admire and why?
My supervisor, Juan Maldonado, is someone I’m very inspired by both professionally and musically. His approach to teaching and working with young people commands respect and challenges students to really utilize the time they have in program. Musically, he is a fantastic bass player (among many other instruments) and
What music do you like listen to (if even a little too loudly)?
I listen to a lot of jazz, both contemporary and classic, hip hop, R&B, folk, indie, really all styles besides country.