AFTA’s Latest Blog Salon Focuses on Creative Youth Development

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In conjunction with National Arts Education week this week, Americans for the Arts (AFTA) is hosting a weeklong blog salon dedicated to exploring important next steps for the emerging creative youth development sector. Throughout the week AFTA’s Arts Education blog will highlight issues related to research, programming, evaluation, funding, and advocacy, and will explore the insights and puzzles presented from leading voices in the field. MCC’s own Erik Holmgren kicked off the series by making the case for investing in creative youth development and articulated a number of the tangible benefits — educational, social, and economic—that derive from investing in youth through the work of this sector.

Follow the conversation throughout the week and contribute your thoughts via AFTA’s blog or on Twitter (using the hashtag #creativeyouthdevelopment). Happy National Arts Education week!

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Massachusetts Programs Continue to Shine

PCAH Awards Logo Fifty organizations from across the country have just been recognized as 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Finalists by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its cultural partners – the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services –for their work in providing excellent out-of-school arts and humanities learning opportunities to young people.

 

Congratulations to the three Massachusetts programs included in the list:

 

The 10 winners, selected from this list of 50, are expected to be announced at a White House ceremony some time this fall.

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Access to Opportunities

Donna Folan Artistic Director, Until Tomorrow Productions and artistic creator of Access to Theatre

As the YouthReach Initiative winds up its 20th anniversary, Seen & Heard asked Donna Folan, cofounder of Access to Theatre, a program of Partners for Youth with Disabilities, to reflect on the impact of the state’s investment and her aspirations for the initiative going forward.

 

For 20 years, Access to Theater (ATT) has provided young people with fully accessible afterschool workshops, summer institutes, one-to-one mentor pairings, peer leadership opportunities, and countless performances for the Boston area community. ATT has also provided opportunities to work with artists with and without disabilities as mentors and collaborators. YouthReach was ATT’s first and only consistent annual funder for those 20 years. It is hard to image the program’s long success without this consistent support.

 

YouthReach serves as the strongest model of how to create and support youth-driven programming. The initiative has supported innumerable opportunities for young people to discover personal expression, and has challenged its grantees to maintain the highest standards of excellence in programming. At the same time, the program has been responsive to adapting to the needs of its grantees. YouthReach funding has helped to build a community of practice among a diverse set of programs across the state. As a result, organizations have been able to develop programs that are safe and nurturing environments for the people they serve. In many cases I believe YouthReach has saved lives with their support of these safe-havens for vulnerable young people.

 

In the 20 years to come, it is my hope that arts and cultural programs receive the true respect they deserve. I encourage the MCC to help YouthReach-funded organizations continue to develop a deeper understanding of physical and programmatic accessibility and how it can be integrated into each individual program.

 

YouthReach programs have produced many talented and knowledgeable emerging artists. It is important now to have places for these young artists to rehearse and collaborate as they take the lessons learned to the next level. Our communities and society will ultimately benefit from the advancement of these experienced artists, thanks to YouthReach and their partners past, present, and future.

 

Donna Folan is the Artistic Director of Until Tomorrow Productions. She was cofounder and Artistic Director of Access to Theatre, a program of Partners for Youth with Disabilities, which provides young people with disabilities and those without disabilities the opportunity to come together to create original theater and other forms of art that reflect their individual and collective viewpoints.

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Full Circle

Representative Sarah Peake, Lynn Stanley, and Arts Foundation of Cape Cod Executive Director Kevin Howard

Recently, Lynn Stanley, Curator of Education at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, was named Arts Educator of the Year by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. Following are her remarks upon receiving the award.

 

Picture it: I am five and drawing a picture in my kindergarten class. Lacking the color pink, I put a layer of red crayon down, then find a piece of white chalk and apply that on top. As it turns out, I’ve taken Miss Roger’s chalk. Worse, the red crayon has stained the chalk. I’m afraid that if she finds out, I’ll be in big trouble. Instead, when she sees what I’ve done, she is delighted that I know how to mix colors. Thus I become aware that I know something that not everyone else knows—and instead of punishment I’ve been seen and understood.

 

When considering the roles that art and education have played in my own life, what comes to mind is this 50-year-old memory—one of the first I can associate with being valued in the world as a creative being. I could say that it is because I work with children, teens, and young adults as an administrator and teacher at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum that the connection to that 5-year-old me continues to be alive and present in me today. But really, I think it’s the other way around—that feeling of being valued as a creative young person is at the foundation of my life as an educator. I doubt that Miss Rogers knew the importance of her actions that day.

 

Fast forward ten years. I’m 15 and as a teenager I’ve experienced things I can’t yet put language to. Instead, I engage in all kinds of risky behavior—I skip school, take drugs, hitchhike, and run away from home. As my grades take a nosedive and my parents struggle to understand what has become of their once comprehensible daughter, art remains a place where I can make meaning, find meaning, and be valued. Art has become a way of being and a lifeline for me.

 

I don’t know what the fifteen year old I was would think if she could see your recognition of my efforts today. But I can guess that there would be a few school officials—the administrators who hauled me into the office for any number of offences or sentenced me to what we called the “rubber room” during school suspensions, and the teachers who tried to reach me and failed—yes, I’m guessing there would be a few who would be shocked that I survived my youth and have actually joined their ranks.

 

So I stand here before you today as a reminder to every hard-working educator and arts administrator that you can not possibly know all the good you do or the changes you enact in the lives of the young people you work with. Some of your work will not bear fruit for many years. But I’m living proof that your efforts—along with the love and compassion that fuels them—bring about change that is real and infinitely good.

 

Twelve years ago I joined the staff of PAAM. Some of you have heard me say that when I started working on out-of-school youth programs I had no idea what I was doing. This is not false modesty. However, what I lacked in knowledge I made up for in the desire to provide a safe, accessible, creative environment for all kinds of kids. I was lucky–very lucky–to find myself in the right place at the right time, among colleagues and leaders who supported my efforts. I thank the very gifted artists who have made PAAM’s programs exemplary. My parents for their love, and for my mother’s example that one never stops learning. My partner Tracey Anderson—whose brilliance illuminates every aspect of my work as an artist, an educator, and a human being. Chris McCarthy for her courage and her far-reaching vision—thanks to you we have a beautiful museum and museum school that youth can grow and flourish in—may it continue for another 100 years. I thank the Massachusetts Cultural Council—I doubt that PAAM’s youth programs would have gotten off the ground without the support I received from the MCC—and I’m not just talking about financial support—every step of the way. I want to thank anyone and everyone who has ever given a cent to support arts education—your money is well spent and an investment in the best of all possible worlds. Representative Sarah Peake and Senator Dan Wolf for their commitment to the arts. Kevin Howard and the staff of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.

 

Finally I want to thank the young people in our lives who take the biggest risks, the most courageous risks, when they forge into the unknown and make something new.

 

Work from PAAM’s ArtReach program will be on view in Doric Hall at the Massachusetts State House May 12-16. Join Lynn, the young artists, and others for a reception May 14, 3:30-5:00 PM to help advance Collective Action for Youth: An Agenda for Progress Through Creative Youth Development – a dynamic new policy agenda created during the recent National Summit on Creative Youth Development.

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Live Web Cast: Creative Youth Development Summit

National Summit on Creative Youth Development logo

Tomorrow is the day!

 

Thought leaders in the field of out-of-school youth development—based in the arts, humanities, and science learning—from across the nation are gathered in Boston for the National Summit on Creative Youth Development: Unite. Celebrate. Activate.

 

Join the Summit’s live web cast and add your comments to the deliberations in real time. Three sessions will be streamed:

 

Welcome and Opening Remarks from the Summit: Laying the Foundation
Friday, March 28, 8:30 – 9:45am


Summit Caucus Progress Reports

Friday, March 28, 2:00 – 3:30pm

 

Closing Celebration: Announcing the Agenda and Launching the Campaign
Saturday, March 29, 2:30 – 4:00pm

 

Comment on the proceedings and the emerging agenda in real time. Comments received during the Friday sessions will be passed along to the caucus chairs to be added to the discussions going on in Boston. Pledges of support for the agenda received during the Saturday session will be added to the public declarations voiced in Boston and will be cataloged along with those received on-site in the published report on the Summit.

 

Join the conversation on twitter. Use the hashtag #cydsummit14 to follow the Summit and add your voice to the discussion.

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Efforts to Develop Youth Creativity Produce “Ripple Effects” that Benefit Communities

New Research Sets Stage for Boston Summit to Advance Emerging Field of Creative Youth Development
Setting the Agenda cover imageOut-of-school programs that develop the creative capacities of young people are uniquely positioned to drive civic and social progress in their communities, according to new research. The research report, Setting the Agenda, is drawn from surveys and interviews of adults and young people from more than 150 youth arts, humanities, and science programs nationwide.

 

“Today, youth are increasingly becoming disconnected from their communities and the means to make a successful transition to adulthood,” the report states. “At the same time, creativity is growing in its importance to addressing changing economic, social, technological, and environmental challenges. In this context, creative youth development programs are an asset, and supporting and increasing their impact is of great importance.”

 

Setting the Agenda was commissioned in advance of the National Summit on Creative Youth Development by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and National Guild for Community Arts Education. The organizations are partners in presenting the Summit, which takes place in Boston March 27-29, 2014. The research was conducted by Dr. Lauren Stevenson of Junction Box Consulting in Oakland, CA.
Read the full press release.

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What is Your Power?

Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion recently hosted La Lengua del Poder (The Language of Power), a showcase of young people freeing their voices through visual art, theater, music, movement, and poetry at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston. Such a terrific event – high energy, young people, and arts abound!

 

Here are some fun photo booth pictures of attendees telling us, “What is Your Power?”

 

 

Now it is your turn. What is your power? Please tell us in the comments below.

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Youth Video Contest: The Germ Challenge

Cubist Pharmaeuticals and the Cambridge Science Festival are challenging 15-20 year olds to create a video, 30 sec. – 5 min. long, that explains what a germ is to a 5th grade audience.  (Contestants DO NOT need to live in Cambridge.)

 

Entries must be accurate, thorough, creative, engaging, and fun. Entries will be judged first by a panel of Cubist scientists and then by a panel of 5th graders.

 

  • The individual winner will receive a GoPro video camera.
  • The team/class winner will receive a $1500 gift certificate to buy hands-on science supplies.
  • Deadline to enter is March 28.

Simply post the entry on YouTube or Vimeo and send the link to: CambridgeSciFest@gmail.com. Please include your full name and age in the email.

 

Both winning videos will be shown at the 2014 Cambridge Science Festival. Learn more.

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Tip of the Iceberg: Showcase of current work

Detail of the Care Center Invite.

Next stop on the anniversary tour of the state, Holyoke.  Hosted by the Care Center, young people showcase their poetry, theater, photography, and other skills at the Wistariahurst Museum on Tuesday,, March 11, 2014, 4:30-6:30 pm.  This event is the third in a series, part of the yearlong celebration marking 20 years of funding through the YouthReach Initiative.  Come soak up the inspiring visions of young people from Holyoke, Amherst, Ware, Springfield, Worcester, and others.

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