Announcing 2020 Amplify Grants

Berkshire Pulse performance
Berkshire Pulse performance

Mass Cultural Council is proud to award 15 new Amplify grants for 2020 totaling $22,500. Directed to projects designed and executed by young people in programs receiving YouthReach or SerHacer funding, Amplify furthers the Commonwealth’s investment in youth leadership and empowerment.

The Amplify grant process incorporates youth voice throughout, including the participation of young professionals and program alums in the panel review. This unique approach ensures that the Amplify program continues to strive not just for the highest quality and innovation in programming, but to naturally and actively incorporate youth leadership in its rightful role in cultural provision across the state of Massachusetts.

Congratulations to this year’s Amplify recipients:

Ballet Rox, Boston
Individuals who come from various cultural backgrounds such as Vietnam, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Ireland, are all part of BalletRox. To celebrate this diversity, teens will work to investigate dances from these cultures, understand their uniqueness, and then work to incorporate every culture into one dance piece. They will showcase different styles of dances that expresses who they are and where they come from by preforming at the Earth Festival and Dance for World Community.

Berkshire Pulse, Inc., Great Barrington
The Berkshire Pulse Young Choreographers Initiative will be choreographing a dance around the topic of body image and will showcase it in two culminating events. The process will include different sections that will be choreographed by each of the Youth Project Leaders working with other teen intermediate level students as well as dancers ranging in ages 30-60 from the community, in order to more comprehensively understand how this topic affects people of all ages.

Elevated Thought, Lawrence
Teens will create a “Housing Initiative” documentary and build connections through their voice and platform as they work with their community to creatively analyze and address housing instability for young people.

Enchanted Circle Theater, Holyoke
Young people will lead spoken word, dance/movement, music, poetry, and other creative arts to express personal stories about their experience in foster care and adoption. The HEROES Youth Truth is a creative arts and media performance ensemble focused on creating awareness and positive change for foster and adoptive kids.

Express YourselfBeverly
Utilizing multiple art forms, including songwriting, stop motion animation, claymation and set design, youth leaders will collaborate to create an original animated short film and theme song for Express Yourself’s annual exhibition gala at Endicott College. Themes will educate the public about the realities of what youth experience who have mental health issues.

GreenRoots, Inc., Chelsea
The ECO Youth Crew will provide new white sneakers, a variety of art supplies, and inspiration at their Kustomize Your Kicks event. ECO will outreach to their peers, offer a fun creative night that will provide teens with new sneakers for those who need them, and connect those who are interested to the important work in environmental justice.

Mystic Learning Center, Somerville
Youth Peer Leader, Andrine, will plan curricula and host a series of writing and community organizing workshops for teens at the Mystic Learning Center. She also will help other teens to plan, host, and present their own original work in Books of Hope’s annual Somerville Youth Arts Festival and at the Mystic Housing Development.

New Bedford Whaling Museum High School Apprenticeship Program, New Bedford
Young people will educate and inspire people to take action around the United Nation’s Life Under Water Sustainable Development Goal by working with organizations and other youth who will focus on a one-day marine area clean-up in New Bedford.

New England Aquarium, Boston
Through a partnership between the New England Aquarium ClimaTeens and the Institute of Contemporary Art teens, young people will create artwork on the issues of climate change and display it on World Oceans Day at the New England Aquarium. The exhibit will educate Boston area youth to advocate for climate action and demand climate change in our communities.

The Performance Project, Springfield
Young artist, Joalis, will create a mixed-media exploration of her city entitled, “A Vision of Holyoke.” Through the eyes of a young person, using the mediums of drawing, painting and photography, the community exhibit will focus on people and places that are familiar and unique to Holyoke.

Raw Art Works, Lynn
Young men of color in RAW’s leadership program, RAW Chiefs, will create a sculpture entitled, “Talk About It.” In creating art in Lynn, and exhibiting the art in South Hamilton, it will inspire others to explore themes of immigration, injustice, and separation, and hopefully have the courage to talk about difficult injustices in their own lives.

Sociedad Latina, Boston
Two Youth Artists will organize and lead an open mic series, The Raíces (Roots), in the Youth Arts Mastery Program for youth and community. A “Question & Answer” session with renowned Latino guest artists will help guide a themed discussion centered around a social justice issue chosen by our Youth Artists.

South End Technology Center @ Tent City, Boston
Teens will design the project, #MakingLiberation with the Local Voices Network & Everyday Boston to explore a social justice issue important to them. Through facilitated and recorded conversations, their feelings and ideas will be seen through the creation of interactive art, performance, and through a technology project exhibited in three venues.

Worcester Chamber Music Society, Inc., Worcester
Teens will find inspiration as they educate themselves about Baroque music. Along with learning how to play and perform with greater expertise, they will also take a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts to study the historical instruments. They will actively inspire others as well through the design and presentation of a workshop and a concert for their younger peers involved in WCMS and their community.

Worcester Youth Center, Worcester
Five youth leaders will plan, recruit, and offer a monthly series of talent shows. This program will allow organizers to practice and strengthen their organization skills, as well as give talent show participants an opportunity to showcase creative talents to the community.

Massachusetts Youth Arts Leaders Take the Stage

Mass Cultural Council was proud to support and further learn from our Massachusetts organizations who attended the 2019 National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference in Austin, TX.  With conference goals rooted in social justice and designed to showcase innovative strategies for advancing the work, Massachusetts leaders took to the stage.

Sadira Bethae presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Sadira Bethae presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Slide detailing definition of Adultism
Slide detailing definition of Adultism

Sadira Bethea is a college freshman with a passion for community empowerment. As an alumni of the Community Art Center in Cambridge, she co-led an on-site institute, entitled, Youth in the Lead: a Youth Development Approach for Engagement with Laurie Jo Wallace. As Managing Director of Health Resources in Action,​ Laurie Jo has spent the last 27 years promoting healthy communities and healthy youth in Boston through initiatives such as co-developing and promoting the research-based Advancing Youth Development Curriculum and the BEST (Building Exemplary Systems of Training for Youth Workers).

Both presented through warm-ups and research on how community-based arts programming can truly support youth leadership when “adultism” can be left behind.​ Sadira illustrated how adults can become more like accomplices with young people as they offer leadership opportunities to support youth in developing their strong identities, creativity, and connections. She also wowed the audience by using the new digital presentation tool of Menti (!

Lisa Donovan presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Lisa Donovan presenting at National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference
Massachusetts representatives at the Guild's conference (l-r): Lisa Donovan, Kim Roberts Morandi, Miranda Aisling, and Käthe Swaback
Massachusetts representatives at the Guild’s conference (l-r): Lisa Donovan, Kim Roberts Morandi, Miranda Aisling, and Käthe Swaback.

Lisa Donovan, Ph.D, (professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) and Kim Roberts Morandi (Director of Curriculum and Assessment for the North Adams Public Schools) spoke eloquently on how arts can be a strategy for regional change, in their presentation, Think Like A Region: Supporting Arts Learning in Rural/Remote Regions. As co-directors of the Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network, they have devised dynamic professional development along with proven models and strategies  in order to help their communities gain access to arts education through regional network development.

After they discussed ways to effectively leverage change and maximize impact to an inspired audience, attendees were able to create mapping for their own projects and visions based on a “Yellow Brick Road” tool designed by Americans for the Arts. (Watch Lisa’s TED Talk and listen to her on our podcast. ) BRAINworks is part of a larger regional initiative (Creative Compact for Collective Impact) that includes the development and launch of the Berkshire Blueprint for Arts Integration and Education and a vibrant network for cultural organizations – Berkshire Cultural Assets Network. Learn more about BRAINworks, a portal for arts education in Berkshire County.

Also in attendance was Miranda Aisling, founder of Miranda’s Hearth. She is addressing the challenge of developing affordable and sustainable creative workspace, which is at an all-time low throughout Eastern Massachusetts. She has submitted a proposal to repurpose the Briscoe Middle School in Beverly MA as BevArt: The Beverly Arts Community Center. This proposal is the culmination of years of research, planning, and advocating, including qualitative interviews with over 140 Beverly stakeholders. More than 240 artists filled out a survey demonstrating their desire to rent studio space at BevArt in just six weeks. These responses included artist alums of YouthReach. If her proposal is selected, her project would create the largest community arts center on the North Shore and one of the largest in Massachusetts. #BevArt

Thank you National Guild for Community Arts Education for providing 3+ days of connection, ideas, inspiration, and providing opportunities to showcase the power of culture with the vision and leadership of Massachusetts.

CYD Teaching Artist Fellowship Launched

Initial convening of the Creative Youth Development Teaching Artist Fellowship Pilot Program.
Initial convening of the Creative Youth Development Teaching Artist Fellowship Pilot Program.

A new program from Mass Cultural Council is stepping into a significant and systemic gap in the youth arts ecosystem. The Creative Youth Development Teaching Artist Fellowship Pilot Program supports teaching artists in Creative Youth Development (CYD) programs throughout Massachusetts through a series of group learning sessions, site visits, and grants.

Built on the model of the Music Educator and Teaching Artist (META) Fellowship, a partnership of The Klarman Family Foundation and Mass Cultural Council, this new pilot program covers all disciplines in the arts, interpretive sciences, and humanities. By balancing individual learning and artistry with the development of a tightly knit community of practice, the CYD Fellowship has immediate impacts in the classroom and long-term impacts for the field.

The new pilot program launched last week at Central Square Theater and was led by world-renowned teaching artist Eric Booth. Throughout the year, CYD Fellows will address identified areas of need in their work as teaching artists, including youth worker training and work in trauma-informed practice.

CYD Teaching Artist Fellows do an exercise with Eric Booth.
CYD Teaching Artist Fellows do an exercise with Eric Booth.

Participating teaching artists were nominated by the following organizations:

  • Actors’ Shakespeare Project
  • Artists for Humanity
  • BalletRox
  • Barrington Stage Company
  • Books of Hope
  • Cambridge Community Television
  • Central Square Theater
  • Community Art Center
  • Elevated Thought
  • Enchanted Circle Theater
  • Express Yourself
  • Hyde Square Task Force
  • Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA)
  • Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston
  • Medicine Wheel Productions
  • OrigiNation Cultural Arta Center
  • Partners for Youth with Disabilities
  • The Performance Project
  • Raw Art Works

AFTA Releases CYD Landscape Analysis Papers

Americans for the Arts landscape analysis paper cover artAs part of Americans for the Arts’ work on their Creative Youth Development Toolkit, they commissioned field experts to produce a set of seven landscape analyses about key topics within youth development. These papers identify trends in creative youth development, share recommendations for CYD practitioners, and suggest areas for future exploration. All of them are now available online:

Amplify Grants Now Available

Express Yourself performance featuring parisols made by Rachel, an Amplify grant recipient. Photo by Mike Dean.

We are pleased to announce that Amplify grants are now available for 2020. Amplify provides up to $1,500 for projects designed and executed by young people currently supported by Mass Cultural Council’s YouthReach and SerHacer programs. The Amplify grant process incorporates youth voice throughout, including the participation of young professionals and program alums in the panel review.

The grant supports projects that take place from January 1 – June 30, 2020. Applications are due December 2, 2019. Review the slides from our information session to learn more.

Get inspired by previously funded projects from 2019, 2018, or 2017.

Questions? Contact Käthe Swaback at 617-858-2717.

Resources Available from META Fellowship Learning

Dr Bettina Love leading a session with META Fellows in 2018.
Dr Bettina Love leading a session with META Fellows in 2018.

The META Fellowship, a partnership between Mass Cultural Council and The Klarman Family Foundation, is the first program of its kind to convene a statewide community of music educators and teaching artists.

In an effort to make the learning of the Fellowship more broadly available, we are pleased to announce that the META Fellowship web site is now live. The site contains resources that were created to meet shared needs in classrooms throughout the Commonwealth and a list of professional development opportunities that Fellows utilized during the pilot program. As the second cohort of Fellows complete their Fellowship, more resources and tools will be added.

Read More

Register for a Two-Part Trauma-Informed Practice Training

Riverside Trauma Center trainingJoin Mass Cultural Council for a two-part Trauma-Informed Practice Training with the Riverside Trauma Center.

The goal of this comprehensive two-day training is to prepare teaching artists and leaders in the cultural sector to deliver basic behavioral health disaster response skills to young people that have experienced trauma from large-scale disasters or critical events such as homicides, suicides, accidental deaths, and similarly distressing events. Participants will be presented with the evolution of efforts to assist survivors following trauma and provided with an overview of the human stress response and how it affects the choice of interventions with distressed individuals. The Post-Traumatic Stress Management (PTSM) continuum of interventions and the eight core functions of Psychological First Aid (PFA) will be taught.

The training comprises two 6.5 hour days.  Participants must commit to both days. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available.

Friday, October 18: Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress St, Boston, MA

Saturday, October 26: Community Art Center
119 Windsor St # 6, Cambridge, MA

9-9:30am: Registration, coffee etc.
9:30am-12pm: Session time
12-1pm: Lunch
1-5pm: Session

The training is free and limited to two representatives  per organization.

For more information, contact Erik Holmgren at 617-858-2731.

Register Now

Creative Youth Development