Massachusetts Youth Arts Leaders Take the Stage

Mass Cultural Council was proud to support and further learn from our Massachusetts organizations who attended the 2019 National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference in Austin, TX.  With conference goals rooted in social justice and designed to showcase innovative strategies for advancing the work, Massachusetts leaders took to the stage.

Sadira Bethae presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Sadira Bethae presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Slide detailing definition of Adultism
Slide detailing definition of Adultism

Sadira Bethea is a college freshman with a passion for community empowerment. As an alumni of the Community Art Center in Cambridge, she co-led an on-site institute, entitled, Youth in the Lead: a Youth Development Approach for Engagement with Laurie Jo Wallace. As Managing Director of Health Resources in Action,​ Laurie Jo has spent the last 27 years promoting healthy communities and healthy youth in Boston through initiatives such as co-developing and promoting the research-based Advancing Youth Development Curriculum and the BEST (Building Exemplary Systems of Training for Youth Workers).

Both presented through warm-ups and research on how community-based arts programming can truly support youth leadership when “adultism” can be left behind.​ Sadira illustrated how adults can become more like accomplices with young people as they offer leadership opportunities to support youth in developing their strong identities, creativity, and connections. She also wowed the audience by using the new digital presentation tool of Menti (www.menti.com)!

Lisa Donovan presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Lisa Donovan presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Massachusetts representatives at the Guild's conference (l-r): Lisa Donovan, Kim Roberts Morandi, Miranda Aisling, and Käthe Swaback
Massachusetts representatives at the Guild’s conference (l-r): Lisa Donovan, Kim Roberts Morandi, Miranda Aisling, and Käthe Swaback.

Lisa Donovan, Ph.D, (professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) and Kim Roberts Morandi (Director of Curriculum and Assessment for the North Adams Public Schools) spoke eloquently on how arts can be a strategy for regional change, in their presentation, Think Like A Region: Supporting Arts Learning in Rural/Remote Regions. As co-directors of the Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network, they have devised dynamic professional development along with proven models and strategies  in order to help their communities gain access to arts education through regional network development.

After they discussed ways to effectively leverage change and maximize impact to an inspired audience, attendees were able to create mapping for their own projects and visions based on a “Yellow Brick Road” tool designed by Americans for the Arts. (Watch Lisa’s TED Talk and listen to her on our podcast. ) BRAINworks is part of a larger regional initiative (Creative Compact for Collective Impact) that includes the development and launch of the Berkshire Blueprint for Arts Integration and Education and a vibrant network for cultural organizations – Berkshire Cultural Assets Network. Learn more about BRAINworks, a portal for arts education in Berkshire County.

Also in attendance was Miranda Aisling, founder of Miranda’s Hearth. She is addressing the challenge of developing affordable and sustainable creative workspace, which is at an all-time low throughout Eastern Massachusetts. She has submitted a proposal to repurpose the Briscoe Middle School in Beverly MA as BevArt: The Beverly Arts Community Center. This proposal is the culmination of years of research, planning, and advocating, including qualitative interviews with over 140 Beverly stakeholders. More than 240 artists filled out a survey demonstrating their desire to rent studio space at BevArt in just six weeks. These responses included artist alums of YouthReach. If her proposal is selected, her project would create the largest community arts center on the North Shore and one of the largest in Massachusetts. #BevArt

Thank you National Guild for Community Arts Education for providing 3+ days of connection, ideas, inspiration, and providing opportunities to showcase the power of culture with the vision and leadership of Massachusetts.

CYD Teaching Artist Fellowship Launched

Initial convening of the Creative Youth Development Teaching Artist Fellowship Pilot Program.
Initial convening of the Creative Youth Development Teaching Artist Fellowship Pilot Program.

A new program from Mass Cultural Council is stepping into a significant and systemic gap in the youth arts ecosystem. The Creative Youth Development Teaching Artist Fellowship Pilot Program supports teaching artists in Creative Youth Development (CYD) programs throughout Massachusetts through a series of group learning sessions, site visits, and grants.

Built on the model of the Music Educator and Teaching Artist (META) Fellowship, a partnership of The Klarman Family Foundation and Mass Cultural Council, this new pilot program covers all disciplines in the arts, interpretive sciences, and humanities. By balancing individual learning and artistry with the development of a tightly knit community of practice, the CYD Fellowship has immediate impacts in the classroom and long-term impacts for the field.

The new pilot program launched last week at Central Square Theater and was led by world-renowned teaching artist Eric Booth. Throughout the year, CYD Fellows will address identified areas of need in their work as teaching artists, including youth worker training and work in trauma-informed practice.

CYD Teaching Artist Fellows do an exercise with Eric Booth.
CYD Teaching Artist Fellows do an exercise with Eric Booth.

Participating teaching artists were nominated by the following organizations:

  • Actors’ Shakespeare Project
  • Artists for Humanity
  • BalletRox
  • Barrington Stage Company
  • Books of Hope
  • Cambridge Community Television
  • Central Square Theater
  • Community Art Center
  • Elevated Thought
  • Enchanted Circle Theater
  • Express Yourself
  • Hyde Square Task Force
  • Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA)
  • Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston
  • Medicine Wheel Productions
  • OrigiNation Cultural Arta Center
  • Partners for Youth with Disabilities
  • The Performance Project
  • Raw Art Works

AFTA Releases CYD Landscape Analysis Papers

Americans for the Arts landscape analysis paper cover artAs part of Americans for the Arts’ work on their Creative Youth Development Toolkit, they commissioned field experts to produce a set of seven landscape analyses about key topics within youth development. These papers identify trends in creative youth development, share recommendations for CYD practitioners, and suggest areas for future exploration. All of them are now available online:

Amplify Grants Now Available

Express Yourself performance featuring parisols made by Rachel, an Amplify grant recipient. Photo by Mike Dean.

We are pleased to announce that Amplify grants are now available for 2020. Amplify provides up to $1,500 for projects designed and executed by young people currently supported by Mass Cultural Council’s YouthReach and SerHacer programs. The Amplify grant process incorporates youth voice throughout, including the participation of young professionals and program alums in the panel review.

The grant supports projects that take place from January 1 – June 30, 2020. Applications are due December 2, 2019. Review the slides from our information session to learn more.

Get inspired by previously funded projects from 2019, 2018, or 2017.

Questions? Contact Käthe Swaback at 617-858-2717.

Resources Available from META Fellowship Learning

Dr Bettina Love leading a session with META Fellows in 2018.
Dr Bettina Love leading a session with META Fellows in 2018.

The META Fellowship, a partnership between Mass Cultural Council and The Klarman Family Foundation, is the first program of its kind to convene a statewide community of music educators and teaching artists.

In an effort to make the learning of the Fellowship more broadly available, we are pleased to announce that the META Fellowship web site is now live. The site contains resources that were created to meet shared needs in classrooms throughout the Commonwealth and a list of professional development opportunities that Fellows utilized during the pilot program. As the second cohort of Fellows complete their Fellowship, more resources and tools will be added.

Read More

Register for a Two-Part Trauma-Informed Practice Training

Riverside Trauma Center trainingJoin Mass Cultural Council for a two-part Trauma-Informed Practice Training with the Riverside Trauma Center.

The goal of this comprehensive two-day training is to prepare teaching artists and leaders in the cultural sector to deliver basic behavioral health disaster response skills to young people that have experienced trauma from large-scale disasters or critical events such as homicides, suicides, accidental deaths, and similarly distressing events. Participants will be presented with the evolution of efforts to assist survivors following trauma and provided with an overview of the human stress response and how it affects the choice of interventions with distressed individuals. The Post-Traumatic Stress Management (PTSM) continuum of interventions and the eight core functions of Psychological First Aid (PFA) will be taught.

The training comprises two 6.5 hour days.  Participants must commit to both days. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available.

Friday, October 18: Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress St, Boston, MA

Saturday, October 26: Community Art Center
119 Windsor St # 6, Cambridge, MA

9-9:30am: Registration, coffee etc.
9:30am-12pm: Session time
12-1pm: Lunch
1-5pm: Session

The training is free and limited to two representatives  per organization.

For more information, contact Erik Holmgren at 617-858-2731.

Register Now

The Shout Syndicate Announces Pilot Round of Grants Totaling $200,000

Teens hosting radio program at Zumix in East Boston.
Teens hosting radio program at Zumix in East Boston.

Last week the Shout Syndicate, an innovative collaboration of Boston music and arts industry professionals in partnership with The Boston Foundation and the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, announced awards totaling $200,000 in its pilot round of grants to 10 Greater Boston non-profit arts organizations that focus on creative youth development.

Congratulations to the recipients:

The pilot round of grants were made possible in part by donations from early backers Don Law/Live Nation New England, film/TV writer/producer Judd Apatow, and international recording artists The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

“Congratulations to this first group of grantees, and thank you for your dedication to enhancing creative youth development in Boston,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The Shout Syndicate has already become a central part of our arts strategy in the City of Boston. Together we’re making progress in improving access to the arts in and out of schools, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped us make it a reality.”

Each grantee will receive $20,000 to produce youth-led arts programs in disciplines including music, dance, theater, and visual/media/literary arts during the 2019-2020 school year. The grants also cover stipends for participating youth to receive hourly wages, so they don’t need to choose between an after-school job or an arts program.

“The Boston Foundation is proud to support and partner with The Shout Syndicate on this new funding opportunity,” said Paul S. Grogan, President & CEO of The Boston Foundation. “These 10 grantees are among the very best organizations in youth arts in our region. We applaud Mayor Walsh for noting the need for a new fund in this sector, and we look forward to seeing the outstanding projects that will come from these grants.”

“We at Urbano Project are thrilled to be a Shout Syndicate grantee,” said Stella Aguirre McGregor, Executive Artistic Director. “We’re proud to be part of this pilot cohort and excited to start our work.”

Teens will create their projects — including a city-wide youth publication in Boston, public art murals in Lynn, original dance choreography, a history of hip hop in Cambridge, original music recordings in East Boston and Roxbury, and original LGBTQ theater — with support from arts leaders and teaching artists. In the Spring of 2020, each grantee will share their cumulative work with the public.

Read the Full Release

Podcast: There’s the Intent and There’s the Impact

Lecolion WashingtonOn the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Lecolion Washington, CEO and Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston, about the barriers to seeing more diversity in symphony orchestras across America, what systemic change takes, and how to create an organizational culture that is success-based, not deficit-based.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Nano-Interview with Elissa Johnson-Green of UMass Lowell

Elissa Johnson-GreenName: Elissa Johnson-Green
Organization: University of Massachusetts Lowell
Title: Assistant Professor of Music and Music Education
Genre: General music education focused on composition
Years in the Field: 20

What do you do at University of Massachusetts Lowell?
I teach future music teachers. I also have created and run a program called the EcoSonic Playground Project, which provides open access to musical instrument play for all children. We have brought this program to diverse learning communities in the US, Canada, and Ireland.

Why do you do what you do?
My whole life has revolved around music. After being a classical performer (flute and voice) for many years, I decided to shift my focus to music education. I started out as a music teacher in K-8 education. This experience taught me that children understand music as a powerful and meaningful force in their lives – one that they rely on for so many aspects of their social interactions, emotional development, artistic development, and learning. Now, as a professor who trains music educators, I teach my adult students how to approach teaching music from the perspective that music is at the core of what makes us human. I do this work because I want to influence my students to teach music as a dynamic, living art form and as an essential form of expression.

What comes easiest to you in this work?
Teaching! I am fortunate to work with amazing students who are dedicated to music education. They are talented, intelligent, and passionate about bringing music to all children.

What challenges you in this work?
All of the administrative tasks I need to do to make sure my program runs smoothly. Helping my students to navigate the scheduling system – and making sure they are on track to graduate.

What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
I take seriously my responsibility to provide high quality music educators to my community. Having more great music teachers available and working in the schools, means it’s more likely that the schools will value their music programs. My hope is to graduate students who will contribute to the growth and development of music education for all.

What music do you like listen to (if even a little too loudly)?
I listen to anything that I consider to be good music. Some of my favorites: Palestrina, J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Bartok, Kendrick Lamar, Logic, Aretha Franklin, Koko Taylor, Led Zepplin, Rush, Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Alison Krauss, and anything that Yo Yo Ma has ever played.

Seen any good movies lately?
Into the Spider-Verse. I highly recommend it.

Creative Youth Development

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