We are please to announce that Käthe Swaback has joined Mass Cultural Council as a Creative Youth Development Program Officer. Käthe comes to us after more than 20 years as the Program Director of the nationally-recognized CYD organization, Raw Art Works. Her work at Mass Cultural Council will be focused on a new initiative connecting the arts and health, in addition to supporting the Creative Youth Development portfolio.
Creative Youth Development is a dynamic field of practice, utilizing the resources of teaching artists and organizations to better serve its target audience. To do this effectively, programming and delivery is in constant evolution to further engagement and impact.
Inevitably, this dynamism makes it difficult for programs to fit certain funding models, leaving gaps that take far too long to be addressed. On the other side, funders have very specific targets and models that need to be met for organizations to be eligible, which in turn might stunt the advancement of programs and their capacity to reach new audiences and all together experiment with their medium. To address this, Barr Foundation and The Klarman Family Foundation shifted the paradigm by establishing an artistic risk fund with the purpose of providing risk capital for projects that would take organizations out of their comfort zones. The fund supports projects that have the potential to change how organizations work.
To document the journey and impact of their seven funded projects, the two foundations commissioned a series of videos. With personal stories from teaching artists and program participants as well as leadership, these documentaries are evidence of how both sides of the equation, program and funder, can work and stimulate each other to find new avenues of impact and growth.
We’ve seen how creative expression lifts young people beyond poverty, disability, and other societal barriers here in Massachusetts and across the nation.
Today the movement for creative youth transcends national borders. Earlier this month, our neighbors to the south shared some of their insights on the transformative power of the arts in the lives young people at a Harvard University panel discussion.
“Social Development and the Arts in Latin America” was centered around lessons learned from El Sistema, the music education program founded by renowned Venezuelan economist and humanist José Antonio Abreu in 1975. The discussion was moderated by Harvard Business School Professor Tarun Khanna, co-author of a seminal case study on El Sistema.
Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director of El Sistema, noted that it was founded “as a social program, not a cultural program.” It aims not to produce great musicians, or even professional ones, but to nurture children and adolescents in an environment that combines strong social and emotional support, intellectual rigor, and aesthetic inspiration. Programs in more than 70 countries have now
adopted El Sistema principles of “inclusion, ensemble learning, and collective, committed pursuit of musical excellence,” according to Méndez.
But the discussion moved beyond El Sistema model and classical music to highlight the power of all arts disciplines to transform the lives of youth, particularly those living in poverty. Enrique Márquez is Director General of México’s Veracruz Institute of Culture, which has harnessed the time and energy of thousands of middle-class and wealthy volunteers to work with disadvantaged children and adolescents in programs that teach theater, music, dance, and the visual arts. The connections have broken down class barriers and built trust at a time when social isolation threatens to become an international epidemic, according to Márquez.
“The arts have this wonderful ability to bring people together,” he said. “Arts, even classical music, can be very inclusive.”
The Mass Cultural Council is committed to supporting creative youth through grants, initiatives, and advocacy. Through annual investment of more than $1.5 million in national-model programs alongside grants for new and emerging organizations, we support a generation of young people whose creativity and leadership will transform Massachusetts and its communities. 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. Mass Cultural Council is also a founding member of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership.
June 19, 2018 12 – 1pm ET
Free and open to public; pre-registration required
Learn how you can use the recently released Creative Youth Development (CYD) National Action Blueprint as a resource in your work to advance the role of creativity in youth development. Led by the CYD National Partnership and a cross-sector coalition, this one-hour, interactive forum is designed for CYD practitioners and alumni, funders, researchers, and allied youth sector leaders.
During the forum, we will discuss:
- The CYD National Movement and Blueprint goals
- How CYD aligns with the priorities of allied youth sectors, including education, juvenile justice, and afterschool
- Recommendations for advancing CYD in three strategic priority areas
VISIBILITY & IMPACT: Documenting and Communicating Outcomes and Impact
FUNDING: Expanding Pathways to Funding
FIELD BUILDING: Professional Development, Networking, and Technical Assistance
- Opportunities to get involved
Read the Creative Youth Development National Action Blueprint and subscribe to the CYD Partnership email list to receive regular updates on creative youth development (CYD) news, opportunities, and resources.
The Creative Youth Development National Partnership, in concert with more than 650 cross-sector stakeholders nationally, is calling for all young people to have equitable access to opportunities to: realize their creative potential; live richer, fuller lives; and develop the critical learning and life skills they need to become active contributors to their communities.
Read the Creative Youth Development National Blueprint and subscribe to the CYD Partnership eNews to receive regular updates on creative youth development (CYD) news, opportunities, and resources. The CYD National Partnership will host an online forum in May to discuss the Blueprint’s three strategic priority areas for advancing CYD:
- VISIBILITY & IMPACT: Documenting and Communicating Outcomes and Impact
- FUNDING: Expanding Pathways to Funding
- FIELD BUILDING: Professional Development, Networking, and Technical Assistance
When you invite young people to the table, be prepared for some serious truth-telling.
This is what happened when I attended the creative youth development national stakeholder meeting in Boston this summer. Shoulder to shoulder with teachers of art, the humanities and science, we gathered to craft a policy agenda for a newly-defined field — creative youth development. CYD is a recently-coined term for a longstanding community of practice that intentionally integrates the arts, sciences and humanities with youth development principles, sparking young people’s creativity and building critical learning and life skills that they can carry into adulthood.
We were joined in the meeting by five students who gave us a much-needed reality check. They told us, “We hear a lot of teachers who work with youth say, ‘How can we help them be people?’ Well, we are people. We need tools to grow.” Creative youth development programs, they believe, can provide those tools. And that makes these programs different from schools.
CYD practitioners usually work outside of traditional school settings — in places like community centers, juvenile halls, at museums, wetlands and theaters. CYD sits at the intersection of many fields — education, youth development, arts, humanities and science. As a result, new ideas are hard to share among individuals and groups that aren’t always in regular contact, and strong program models often don’t get the recognition they deserve. But they exist in every state, in every county, in every corner of this country.
In July, as part of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership’s stakeholders’ meeting, Mass Cultural Council took the opportunity to host a cohort of international guests to spark a conversation on how the field of practice looks around the world.
With a varied roster of national and local agencies, educators, artists, and academia from South Korea, Scotland, India, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand, our guests participated actively in the first two days of the national meeting, getting to know their colleagues and their programs but most importantly our young people, their needs, and their capacity.
After the national convening was over, our international cohort met to distill the findings of the previous days. Led by veteran teaching artist Eric Booth, we engaged in an incredibly fertile conversation, in which different models and approaches were presented, all unified by the importance of empowering young people and nurturing creativity as an integral part of our communities. The richness and diversity helped us prove that the work of Creative Youth Development occurs in a myriad ways, and opened up a larger conversation in finding opportunities to better support it.
We are grateful to have connected with these distinguished guests and thank them for their outstanding participation and contribution to this gathering:
- Dr. Yujin Hong and Hyejin Yang, Korean Arts and Education Service
- Joan Parr, Creative Scotland
- Brad Haseman, Queensland University of Technology
- Marit Ulvund, Seanse Center at Volda University College
- Shubhendra Rao, Sangeet4All
- Lee Martelli, Creative New Zealand
- Francis Cummings, Sistema Scotland
- Morten Christiansen, Norwegian Council for Schools of Music and Performing Arts
Mass Cultural Council is committed to continuing these conversations, and in them, we are hoping to bring in as many of our grantees as possible, showcasing them as examples of excellent practice, and always looking for ways to improve our capacity in this exciting field of practice.
Americans for the Arts is administering the first-ever field survey on Creative Youth Development on behalf of the Creative Youth Development (CYD) National Partnership. Organizations and programs were invited to participate in the survey on Aug. 23, 2017 and are encouraged to complete the survey trough the unique link sent to them on that date. Questions about the survey may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Others wishing to participate in the study, can do so at the following link: https://surveys.americansforthearts.org/s3/2017-CYDP-Survey.
On July 24 and 25, the Creative Youth Development National Partnership will host nearly 100 leaders from across sectors in Boston for the 2017 CYD National Stakeholder Meeting with a charge to broaden and deepen the impact of Creative Youth Development throughout the United States and the world. This group will include practitioners, youth, funders, policy makers, thought leaders, researchers and government officials who all recognize CYD as a vehicle for positive youth outcomes.
We invited Katie Wyatt and Dalouge Smith to share a conversation around two different models of growing creative youth development programming at the city and state level.
Katie Wyatt is the Founder and Executive Director of KidzNotes and the Executive Director of El Sistema USA. Dalouge Smith is the President and CEO of the San Diego Youth Symphony and a national leader in crafting an inclusive future of music and education in and out of schools.
Their conversation provides insight into the challenges and successes of working with public schools to achieve community goals, the potential policy implications and challenges that are facing this work today, and the gap between rural and urban environments. The recording is approximately 1 hour long and features a curated discussion by these two innovative leaders.
Hear the recording by selecting the player above, or read the transcript.