The growing, national collective action around the emerging field of creative youth development continued last week at the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s conference.
Local and national partners reflected on the ways in which we can each support youth-centered programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities while also building capacity as a field—an imperative from the National Summit on Creative Youth Development hosted by MCC earlier this year.
As we tackled questions such as How might we capitalize on the strengths of individual leaders and programs, and How might joint efforts better serve youth?, the Guild’s Executive Director Jonathan Herman reminded us of the many creative youth development accomplishments that have unfolded this year:
- Subsequent Conference Presentations/ Professional Development
- Web Resources/Publications
And, First Lady Michelle Obama has adopted the term creative youth development when speaking about this work.
We’d like to hear from you: What are some accomplishments from your creative youth development work in 2014?
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.
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.
New Research Sets Stage for Boston Summit to Advance Emerging Field of Creative Youth Development
Out-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.
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.
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.
Charge up for the new year. On January 16, 2014 Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion hosts La Lengua del Poder (The Language of Power), a showcase of young people freeing their voices through visual art, theater, music, movement, and poetry. Free. 6-9pm. Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 West Newton St., Boston. Part of the YouthReach 20th anniversary celebration.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its YouthReach Initiative with a series of events that culminate in a national agenda to propel the field of creative youth development into the next decade. In March the agency will host a national summit, in partnership with the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities and the National Guild for Community Arts Education, that brings the best and the brightest working at the intersection of the arts, culture and youth development to Boston. Leading up to the summit MCC will also hold regional celebrations throughout Massachusetts beginning this evening with a youth showcase at the Museum of Science, Boston. And today we launch a this new blog, Seen & Heard, where we will tell stories of young lives transformed through creativity and of the skilled practitioners who made those stories possible.
See the full press release.
Don’t forget next week’s event at the Museum of Science Boston – Insights and Innovation: Youth Speak through Media and Technology – celebrating 20 years of YouthReach through youth-led demonstrations and video screenings. 4:30-7:00 pm with a reception to follow. RSVP now.