What We Learned From CYD Organizations During COVID-19

Young man with a buzz cut, glasses, a colorful face mask,wearing a tie-dyed hoodie
Photograph by a young artist with Elevated Thought

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 74 Creative Youth Development organizations in Massachusetts were forced to pivot, without preparation or training, to remote programming. These organizations faced a unique set of challenges in working with communities which were disproportionately affected by the virus and with young people who were already experiencing significant and systemic challenges in their lives.
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We’re On This Journey Together: A Racial Equity Listening Series

Youth performing at an Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) event.

What would racial equity look like in Massachusetts’ cultural sector?
What can artists, cultural workers, and organizations do to help dismantle systemic racism?
How can Mass Cultural Council support the sector in achieving racial equity?

While systemic racism has been a part of this country for 400 years, recent events have fomented a growing movement for racial equity and justice. Mass Cultural Council is taking this moment in time to embark on a restart and refocus of our work as it relates to racial equity, and we want to hear from you.

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Introducing the CREATE, CONNECT, and CATALYZE Framework

I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what’s right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible. – Eve Ensler

Over the past five years Mass Cultural Council, through its work with the CYD National Partnership, has been invested in clearly defining who we are as a field, what we value, and how we can best articulate the many practices and outcomes associated with Creative Youth Development (CYD). Documenting the beauty and depth of what transpires in CYD programs and understanding the crucial ingredients for success has been an important, yet elusive task.

Venn diagram showing how the notions of create, connect, and catalyze intersect into creative youth development

As long as caring and skilled adult artists have mentored young people in their chosen art form, CYD practices have thrived in communities across the United States. But what makes CYD programs different from other arts education experiences? The “Create, Connect, Catalyze” framework attempts to address this question by identifying three outcome areas of CYD programs. By weaving together perspectives from young people alongside perspectives from academic research on creative learning environments, the framework highlights how these creative learning experiences support young people’s connections to themselves, their peers, and their communities for the purpose of a more equitable and just society.

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Inspiration and Education – Aug 10

Cover art for the Toolkit for Health, Arts, Parks, & Equity (HAP-E).

Opportunities & Resources – Aug 3

Artwork by Käthe Swaback
Artwork by Käthe Swaback

Reopening Resources can be found on Mass Cultural Council’s site. For Public Events and Performance Venues see the State Reopening Guidelines for sectors that have been categorized under Phase 3 of reopening, including indoor and outdoor events, indoor recreation, museums and cultural facilities, and theaters and performance venues.

Create, Connect, Catalyze Framework – key impact areas essential to creative youth development. Developed by the CYD National Partnership. Continue reading Opportunities & Resources – Aug 3

Culture Chats with CYD Leaders

Culture Chat graphicThis Spring we hosted a series of “Culture Chats,” to highlight the power of culture through resilience, adaptation, agility, and innovation.

These conversations offered a break from the gloom of the Coronavirus, a little bit of sunshine to remind us that the arts and culture are alive and well, if not necessarily in the theaters and venues where we’re used to finding them.

Watch our conversations with these Creative Youth Development leaders:
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Mass Groups Receive Lewis Prize for Music Awards

Congratulations to ZUMIX, Hyde Square Task Force, and Cambridge Community Center – three of 32 Creative Youth Development organizations in the US awarded by The Lewis Prize COVID-19 Community Response Fund for adapting and responding to the pressing needs of the young people they serve.

The Lewis Prize for Music invests in youth music organizations and their leaders to facilitate positive change through access to music education. Each of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund recipients embody this goal; they do extraordinary work providing young people with opportunities to learn, perform and create music while also serving their immediate and unique needs around food, transportation, mental health, and academics.

A total of $1.25 million was awarded nationwide, with grants ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.

“Access to music enriches the social fabric of our lives,” said Daniel Lewis, Founder and Chairman of the Lewis Prize for Music. “The organizations and leaders we have chosen to support in these times play a critical role in the lives and communities of the young people they support. In the face of unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and racial injustice across the country, Creative Youth Development organizations are devoting all of their resources to uplift both the creative and material well-being of young people and their families. We are thrilled to support these organizations and be an advocate for the entire Creative Youth Development field.”

Creative Youth Development

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