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.
Just a year ago, Hannah Parker was part of a group of dedicated teens ages 16-19, from the Creative Youth Development (CYD) organization, Raw Art Works. In my former role there as artistic director, I facilitated an art project, designed for Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, where teens created a body of spinning art for the hallways of the hospital entitled, “Project Revolution.” One of the questions that the young artists replied to was, “What core elements are needed to help you revolve and propel toward your future with greater mental, physical, and emotional health?” Hannah responded with a beautiful art piece and the wish, “When this art spins I want people to understand their worth. We are capable of changing the world and the worlds of other people, we just have to believe in ourselves.” The following captures some of the conversation between Hannah and I, as she shares her wisdom regarding health, outrage, and next steps in creating systems of change. Continue reading We Must See Ourselves as Catalysts→
Call to Action: Recently submitted bill H.4755 will set aside and distribute funds to support non-profit arts & cultural organizations in the wake of COVID-19. We encourage organizations and individuals to submit testimony in support of this bill by June 16, 2020 at 5pm. Learn more.
New Narratives: Reclaiming Asian Identity Through Story
Call for Artists: Unbound Visual Arts invites Boston-area Asian and Asian American creatives to submit work that explores notions of Asian identity within the U.S. Deadline: June 22, 2020.
Teaching for Equity and Justice: An Online Equity Summit
Facing History and Ourselves hosts the online seminar from July 20-23, 2020. Learn more.