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.
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.