Through the Eyes of Photographer James E. Reed

Apprentices at Reeds show
High School apprentices and Christina Turner (Director of Apprentices & Interns) pose with James E. Reed’s great-granddaughter, Carol at the opening of the exhibition.

High school apprentices at the New Bedford Whaling Museum created an exhibition focusing on New Bedford’s first black photographer, James E. Reed.

Reed, a prominent African-American photographer born and raised in the New Bedford area, captured the city’s landscape and influential citizens over the course of his 34-year photography career.

Studying the history of New Bedford and photography as well as the business of the discipline, apprentices gained insight into Reed’s aesthetic and artistic style.

New Bedford Superior Courthouse Past New Bedford Superior Courthouse Present

New Bedford Superior Courthouse: Past and Present (recreated by Joshua).

Reed’s Grace Episcopal Church Destiny’s modern day recreation of Reeds Grace Episcopal Church

Reed’s Grace Episcopal Church and Destiny’s modern day recreation.

They explored the history of New Bedford through the eyes of the photographer, gaining inspiration for their project; honoring Reed’s legacy by recreating his work with modern-day influential community members (selected by the group) and local landmarks depicted in his pieces. Through this project, youth also showcased the shift in photography over the years.

Hanging Reeds show Apprentices develop photos

Recipients of Mass Cultural Council’s 2018 Amplify grant, Reed’s Modern Studio exhibition was on display in the museum’s San Francisco room in the Summer of 2018.

CYD Gets a National BOOST

Last week, the Clare Rose Foundation in partnership with the Creative Youth Development National Partnership, co-hosted the first BOOST creative youth development workshop strand at the BOOST Conference in Palm Springs, CA. Pursuing the goal of bringing the impact of CYD work to a broader national audience, the BOOST Conference was an opportunity to engage with over 2,500 out-of-school time providers, administrators, and professionals.

While we couldn’t be there in person to present, we shared the following video with BOOST attendees. Watch Mass Cultural Council’s Executive Director Anita Walker and Program Manager Erik Holmgren discuss our work to support the field of Creative Youth Development in Massachusetts:

Adobe Offering Grants, Software to Organizations

Young people working on computers

Adobe has some open opportunities available for Creative Youth Development organizations, including:

  • Grants to support Projects & Collaborations (up to $7k)
  • Hardware grants (up to $5k)
  • Free access to Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Premiere, Lightroom, In Design, etc.)
  • Webinars to support learning across CYD organizations

There are currently about 50 organizations around the world that are engaged in the network through one or more of the above opportunities.

Learn more

 

From Hope to How: Youth Development and Music Engagement

Attendees at the Guild's 2018 preconference on Music EngagementLast fall at the National Guild for Community Arts Education Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, Mass Cultural Council and Health Resources in Action presented to a large gathering of teaching artists, educators, and program leadership on the topic of Creative Youth Development and Music Engagement.

This was the start of a full-day workshop and site visits that provided attendees with ways to reinforce the natural alignment between youth development principles and strong music engagement experiences. The speaking alternated with performances from Baltimore’s emblematic OrchKids Program, and the participation of its charismatic and passionate founder Dan Trahey.

Performance at the Guild's 2018 preconference on Music Engagement
The day provided a variety of context for the exploration and execution of Creative Youth Development programming amongst practitioners from across the country, as well as an opportunity to visit and interact with work on the ground at Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School, where youth from OrchKids and Believe in Music gave examples of the roles arts and culture play in their lives, and how it allows them to present themselves as leaders and artists to their communities. Through exercises of collective composition and performance, as well as beatmaking and songwriting, participants engaged with these young leaders.

At Mass Cultural Council, we believe that a consistent, strategic youth development approach can help organizations and teaching artists create a bridge between the hope that music engagement will make transformational change in young people’s lives and the intentional youth development practices for how to do it.

The following are some resources from the day, provided by Health Resources in Action:

Championing Creative Youth Development

by Gustavo Dudamel and Anita Walker

Look and listen closely to the student ensemble from Boston String Academy and you experience something profound. You hear music, of course: works from the classical repertoire played at extraordinarily high levels. You see learning too—rapt attention, mathematical precision, deft coordination. Peer more deeply and there’s still more: creativity, connection, community.

This is the power of the ensemble under the El-Sistema-inspired model of music education. Led by highly trained, caring teachers, a rich curriculum, and challenging opportunities for public performance, Boston String Academy students and thousands like them across Massachusetts are redefining what art means to young people, particularly those struggling against poverty and other socioeconomic barriers. They come to understand themselves not only as musicians and performers, but as citizens who matter and can make a difference in their community. This model of learning transcends music and is being adopted in the visual arts, theater, history, and science. It’s called creative youth development and it is drawing attention from educators and policymakers across the nation.

We have come to be champions for creative youth development from very different places: One of us was steeped in El-Sistema from childhood, under its founder and his mentor, Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, who later initiated a ground-breaking cooperation between El Sistema in Venezuela and the New England Conservatory. The other saw El Sistema’s power on visits to South America and other US cities with NEC, then undertook to plant its seeds more deeply and broadly here in Massachusetts.

Those seeds continue to blossom. Mass Cultural Council now supports more than 22 El-Sistema inspired music programs across the Commonwealth through its SerHacer Initiative—from Lawrence Public Schools’ first-even string orchestra, to Kids 4 Harmony, grounded in a social service agency called Berkshire Children and Families that serves some of that region’s most vulnerable youth. At the same time the Council continues a decades-long investment in dozens of creative youth development initiatives that reach youth through other disciplines—from The Care Center in Holyoke, where history and literature open teen mothers to new ideas and new life possibilities, to Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s ArtReach, where teens learn about themselves and the world around them through drawing, painting, and digital artmaking.

On April 8, we joined state legislators, philanthropic and civic organizations, and cultural leaders at WBUR’s new CitySpace to honor these efforts and others with the 2019 Commonwealth Awards, Massachusetts’ highest honors in the arts and culture. These Awards remind us that even amidst our highly politicized and polarized world, art and music unite us. Leonard Bernstein, our great native son whose centennial we just celebrated, put it this way: “It is the artists of the world, the feelers and the thinkers who will ultimately save us; who can articulate, educate, defy, insist, sing and shout the big dreams.” It is true: everyone who contributes to the creation of beauty in this world helps carve out the vital time and space for people of all walks of life, all cultures and diverse political views to dream together. That is the power of music. And we need music today more than ever.” 

Massachusetts was not just the birthplace of the American Revolution, it is also at the heart of this nation’s cultural revolution. This state is renowned for creating and fostering some of the most esteemed institutions – both large and small – in the arts and education. And from such institutions come ideas and creative experiences that make people talk, think, and feel. The people and organizations of Massachusetts have brought joy and passion to millions of people, and helped fundamentally shift the paradigms of our social, intellectual and artistic understanding.

Let’s make sure we continue listening to each other and working together to foster a world that cultivates, embraces and empowers the arts. A world without them is unacceptable – and unimaginable.

Gustavo Dudamel is Music Director of Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra & Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Anita Walker is Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency supporting the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Mass Cultural Council’s SerHacer program is supported by the Dudamel Foundation.

Podcast: Out Youth Theater – Revelatory Experience for Performers and Audience

Evelyn Francis. Photo by Joel Benjamin.On the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Evelyn Francis, Interim Artistic Director at The Theater Offensive.

She discusses their youth program – a national model for creative youth development – where young people not only create original work and share it back to the community, but are true partners in developing a range of expanded opportunities within the program.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript.

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Legislative Roundtable on Quality ASOST Experiences for Youth

State and local officials speak at Lynn roundtable.

Man speaks at Lynn roundtable.

Earlier this month, RAW Art Works hosted a unique roundtable discussion with Lynn’s Mayor Thomas McGee, State Senator Brendan Crighton, and State Representative Peter Capano, alongside many creative youth development organizations, youth leaders, and other voices from the field, on the role of arts and culture in providing quality afterschool and out-of-school experiences for young people.

With Senator Crighton as the co-chair of the Afterschool and Out-of-School Time (ASOST) Coordinating Council it was a fruitful exchange of expertise and ideas, and underscored Mass Cultural Council’s commitment and dedication to improve the lives of young people.

As expressed in the ASOST’s report, ”The research is clear. Children who attend quality afterschool programs do better in school, get better grades, have fewer behavioral issues, have higher graduation rates, and are better equipped for college and career. Yet for every child in an afterschool program, two are waiting to get in. What we must do as a Commonwealth is invest in afterschool and summer learning as part of a full education agenda to give our kids the greatest opportunity for success.”

Sitting at RAW, its walls covered in fantastic artwork expertly made by local youth, these arguments deeply resonated. Thanks to Anita Walker’s facilitation, challenges, opportunities, and impromptu alliances were forged as the assembled crowd rallied for the young people in their communities, and highlighted the potential that lies within creative youth development investments.

We are proud to convene roundtables like these across the state to connect our local and state elected officials with the efforts of the cultural sector for the benefit of our most vulnerable communities.

Woman shares at Lynn roundtable.

Congrats 2019 Commonwealth Award Finalists

Commonwealth Awards logoLast week we announced the finalists for the 2019 Commonwealth Awards, which honor exceptional achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences. The Commonwealth Award winners will be announced at a ceremony for the finalists and their supporters Monday, April 8 at WBUR’s new CitySpace.

Delivering the keynote address at this year’s ceremony will be renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Dudamel will be in Massachusetts to perform with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Congratulations to the finalists serving youth:

    • Boston String Academy, for its exceptional creative youth development work inspired by El Sistema – an effective intensive music education philosophy that utilizes classical music as a vehicle for personal transformation and social change.
    • Eileen McCaffery, Community Music School of Springfield, for her dedication to changing lives through music. Community Music School brings together people of different ages, abilities, cultural backgrounds and economic circumstances to make music in an environment that respects diversity and encourages creativity.
    • Elevated Thought, for providing Greater Lawrence’s youth with opportunities that encourage artistic expression as the means for creative solutions to social issues through creative youth development.
    • Provincetown Art Association & Museum, for its unique legacy of groundbreaking exhibitions and programming, passion for removing barriers to participation, and commitment to engaging young people through the visual arts.
    • The Care Center, for bringing the power of education, arts and culture to youth and their families in Holyoke. This creative youth development program is helping to break the cycle of poverty and create an economically vibrant city through a rich, humanities-based curriculum for teen mothers.

See the full list of finalists.

Creative Youth Development

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