For 30 years, Angkor Dance Troupe has been a creative youth development leader in Lowell, MA, a city with the second-largest Cambodian population in the United States. Angkor connects families to what it means to be Khmer, gives young people opportunity, and shares beautiful stories of the Khmer people and their cultural heritage.
Linda Sou was there from day one. At the age of three, she began her training with Angkor Dance Troupe and would grow up to become its executive director. She shares what it means to preserve and share a nearly-lost art form.
Ms. Sou was also a lead subject in the documentary film, “Monkey Dance” by Julie Mallozzi which has been screened throughout the United States to raise awareness on intergenerational challenges facing Cambodian youth:.
Berkshire Children & Families is a social service agency serving Western Massachusetts that believes that partnering with families is the best way to promote healthy, happy children to make strong families and better communities. Burns shared how through Kids 4 Harmony, an intensive classical music program for social change, BCF uses musical excellence as a vehicle for developing whole children and whole families.
On the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Priscilla Kane Hellweg, Executive Director of Enchanted Circle Theater.
Enchanted Circle Theater is a community-based arts organization in Holyoke, MA, that works with students, teachers, and social services – in the mental health field, in the foster care world, everywhere and anywhere – using theater arts as a dynamic teaching tool. Hellweg says they’re developing whole human beings, who can think creatively, act creatively, and solve problems creatively.
We invited Katie Wyatt and Dalouge Smith to share a conversation around two different models of growing creative youth development programming at the city and state level.
Katie Wyatt is the Founder and Executive Director of KidzNotes and the Executive Director of El Sistema USA. Dalouge Smith is the President and CEO of the San Diego Youth Symphony and a national leader in crafting an inclusive future of music and education in and out of schools.
Their conversation provides insight into the challenges and successes of working with public schools to achieve community goals, the potential policy implications and challenges that are facing this work today, and the gap between rural and urban environments. The recording is approximately 1 hour long and features a curated discussion by these two innovative leaders.
Through Barrington Stage Company’s creative youth development program, Playwright Mentoring Project, theatre is used as a catalyst to help under-served youth learn skills to aid them in developing positive self-images. Boyd speaks to the cathartic nature of this work and to how their programs in education and theatre-making interweave.
Booth, one of the foremost experts in the world on teaching artists, discusses the field and craft of teaching artistry. He says while teaching artists are recognized as learning catalysts – by the education, business, and healthcare sectors (to name a few) – there continue to be insufficient growth pathways to support the expertise that’s been developed by this global workforce.
The Johnson String Project is dedicated to ensuring that all students in El Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts have access to high quality string instruments. But this is more than a simple ‘donate an instrument’ program. Instead, students are guaranteed a quality instrument that they can exchange as they grow and can have them maintained and repaired at no cost.
Hear more about the origins of the Johnson String Project from Carol Johnson on Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud.