Through continued investment in national model programs alongside grants for new and emerging organizations, Mass Cultural Council is supporting a generation of young people whose creativity and leadership will transform Massachusetts and its communities. Since 2015 we have nearly tripled our annual investment in these programs to just over $1.5 million to support creative youth development through a range of grants and initiatives.
This year we have expanded our grant recipient pool to 74 programs through YouthReach and SerHacer, and will continue to support Amplify, the META Fellowship, and Johnson String Project.
Creative youth development—both a movement and a community of practice—has earned this support: Massachusetts boasts more than 40 winners of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, the nation’s highest honor in this field. Last year these programs served more than 6,000 at-risk youth, and our goal is to reach 10,000 by 2020.
“Our young people are creative, full of potential, and eager to lead,” said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director. “We are committed to the idea that youth has something to say; they bring their voice and their vision to the conversations about how to make our Commonwealth a better place for everyone. Our support for creative youth development helps to ensure they will be heard.”
What does this support look like? Here are just a couple of examples:
- In the Pioneer Valley a small program called The Art Garden is growing their work with young people from five counties in a former train station in Shelburne Falls.
- Berkshire Pulse is providing youth development opportunities through dance to a high needs community in Housatonic.
- Young people in Franklin created their own anti-bullying campaign last year.
- In Boston, the Theater Offensive is continuing its award-winning work with LGBTQ youth in Boston.
- And students from low-income families are developing a range of workforce skills through an apprenticeship program at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Read about the development of our Creative Youth work.