New Spending Plan Invests $1.6M in Creative Youth Development

Performers in Barrington Stage's Playwright Mentoring Project take a bow
Performers in Barrington Stage’s Playwright Mentoring Project take a bow

Mass Cultural Council recently released a spending plan for the new fiscal year that will invest more than $1.6 million in creative youth development, increasing investments in national model programs, providing grants for youth-led projects, and expanding support for teaching artists.

This year we are funding 74 programs through YouthReach and SerHacer; and will continue to support Amplify, a groundbreaking program that provides grants to young people for youth-led projects throughout the Commonwealth; the META Fellowship; and the Johnson String Project, which is dedicated to ensuring that all students in El Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts have access to high quality string instruments.

We will also be launching a new Teaching Artist Pilot Program, based on an internationally recognized professional development model created here in Massachusetts.

Creative youth development unleashes the potential of young people as creators, leaders, and architects of a better world. Creative youth development programs empower youth to explore their identities in a safe place, find their voice, and map their future.

Together our support of young people, teaching artists, and organizations empowers new voices to be heard in the cultural and civic conversations of the Commonwealth.

“When we support creative youth development, we are supporting the generation who will shape our world,” said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director.

What does this support look like? Here are just a couple of examples:

  • The Community Music School of Springfield has successfully engaged with the public schools to bring music and the arts to every Springfield school for the first time in a generation.
  • In Lawrence, Elevated Thought actively serves and develops communities through youth empowerment curriculum, beautification projects, youth organizing, and public outreach.
  • The Playwright Mentoring Project at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield is giving voice and opportunity to young people to tell their stories and create theater experiences.
  • GreenRoots is empowering and engaging youth voices on environmental justice issues in Chelsea.
  • At Enchanted Circle Theater in Holyoke, DCF involved youth are telling their stories through original plays and productions.

Read about the development of our Creative Youth work.

Welcome Käthe Swaback!

Käthe SwabackWe 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.

The Long Reach of YouthReach

Beyond Walls and RAW artists worked together to create portions of this mural on Boys and Girls Club of Lynn buildingRaw Art Works alum, Michael Aghahowa graduated from Montserrat College of Art and has recently created two murals in Lynn.  Beyond Walls chose Michael as one of the locally and internationally renowned artists who produced large scale pieces of public art. With the spirit of YouthReach, Michael also worked with young people to complete a mural about their pride in their neighborhood.

The young men of Raw Art Works‘ Good 2 Go Program also worked with artist, @celsoart, to complete an entire side of the Boys and Girls Club of Lynn with a beautiful mosaic mural.

Podcast: Opening Doors and Creating Pathways

Alexandra Oliver-Dávila On the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with  Alex Oliver-Dávila, Executive Director of Sociedad Latina, about the symbiotic relationship they have formed with numerous local colleges which allows their students to experience a pathway to higher education and bridges an institutional gap between higher education and community-based organizations.

Sociedad Latina is the oldest Latino youth organization in Boston. Its creative youth development program supports young people from middle-school into early college or career.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Creative Youth Development Learning Series Announced

UPDATED: Recordings from the entire learning series have been added below.

Join Grantmakers for Education Arts Education Impact Group. and the Creative Youth Development National Partnership for a learning series that starts July 30.

This learning series is a set of dynamic online conversations with youth, experts, funders, and practitioners based on a set of written briefs Americans for the Arts commissioned that were authored by field experts as part of AFTA’s first phase of a creative youth development toolkit.

We will explore new paths forward for supporting youth through creative youth development practice. The series will dive into what it means to support students in overcoming adversity, through approaches centered on agency, justice, and equity.

This learning series is brought to you by the Creative Youth Development National Partnership in collaboration with the Grantmakers for Education Arts Education Impact Group. It is hosted by the National Guild for Community Arts Education and made possible by generous support from the Clare Rose Foundation.

July 30, 2019, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, Free

Working With Youth

So often we adults make decisions on programming and policy without youth voice, even though they are directly impacted by our choices. But young people are speaking up to become their own agents of change. They are concerned about their future when we are long gone and they are ready to lead today. To truly give them the space they are demanding, we must rethink what it means to co-lead with young people. Learn practices to consider when implementing youth-driven leadership models in classrooms, afterschool programs and community spaces. A rich conversation with funders, youth, practitioners and experts will provide insight from multiple perspectives.

Watch the July 30 recording

Read the “Working with Youth” landscape analysis (PDF)

August 28, 2019, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, Free

Trends in CYD Programs

Creative youth development programs, with their grassroots and community-based origins, are a heterogeneous field of practice that has in recent years codified characteristics of high quality CYD through a series of frameworks. At the same time, CYD practitioners are committed to reflection and ongoing refinement, to programs being actively shaped by young people, and being connected to and a reflection of their communities. Therefore, CYD program practices are continuously in development.

Join us for an overview of the soon-to-be published Trends in CYD Programs landscape analysis from Americans for the Arts and the Creative Youth Development National Partnership. During the webinar, researcher Denise Montgomery of CultureThrive will discuss five current trends in CYD program development:

  1. Holistic Approaches Growing as Needs Grow
  2. Collaboration Across Sectors
  3. New Generation of Program Staff with New Approaches
  4. Scaling by Depth
  5. Establishing Creative Career Pathways

Watch the July 30 recording

Read the “Trends in CYD Programs” landscape analysis (PDF)

September 24, 2019, 3:00 – 4:00p.m. ET – Free

Working in Social Justice

Social justice in the field of creative youth development (CYD) means working with youth from multiple identities to expand and nurture their analytic sensibilities, creativity, self-reflection, and critical thinking skills to engage them in the work of fighting for visibility, inclusion, and intersectional justice. It also means promoting and supporting youth culture as a mechanism to drive youths’ understanding of and ability to challenge racial violence, and structural and systemic oppression.

Join Dr. Bettina Love for a discussion of key insights and recommendations presented in her recently released paper, “Working in Social Justice,” published by Americans for the Arts and the CYD National Partnership. Dr. Love will be joined by three nationally-recognized CYD practitioners.

Presenters:

  • Bettina Love, author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia.
  • Ashley Hare, Co-Founder, RE:FRAME Youth Arts Center, Phoenix, AZ and National Coordinator, CYD National Partnership
  • Robyne Walker Murphy, Executive Director, Groundswell, Brooklyn, NY
  • Mika Lemoine, Mentor Teaching Artist, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA

Watch the September 24 recording

Read the “Working in Social Justice” landscape analysis (PDF)

The NEA Continues to Support Creative Youth Development

Mary Anne Carter, Acting Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Joe Spaulding, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boch Center, listen to youth leaders from Boch Center’s City Spotlights Teen Leadership Program.

Last week, Mary Anne Carter, Acting Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, visited the Boch Center’s City Spotlights Teen Leadership Program, which empowers young people to become leaders in their schools, homes and communities using their creative voice. The program provides leadership training and employment opportunities and represents excellence in Creative Youth Development programming. As part of a full day in Massachusetts, Chairman Carter spoke with teens in the program about their creative experiences and the role the arts are playing in their development as artists and leaders in Boston.

City Spotlights Teen Leadership Program participants

The National Endowment for the Arts has played a key role in the national growth of the field of Creative Youth Development.  They were in Boston for the National Summit on Creative Youth Development in 2014 that launched the national conversation around this work and again at the National Stakeholders meeting in 2017 that clarified a way forward for the field.  Then Chairwoman Jane Chu visited Project STEP and co-hosted a convening focused on Creative Youth Development in 2016 and later became the first national funder of the National Partnership for Creative Youth Development through a grant accepted by the National Guild for Community Arts Education on behalf of the partnership. The NEA was also a long-time partner in the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP), which was the nation’s highest honor in Creative Youth Development.

(Left to right) Boch Center Staff Member, Mary Anne Carter, Acting Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Joe Spaulding, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boch Center, and Anita Walker, Executive Director of Mass Cultural Council.

New Book Published on CYD and Music Learning

Cover art for the book Music Learning as Youth Development.

Music Learning as Youth Development, a new book published in June 2019, highlights the role of community based Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations as catalysts and trailblazers for bringing youth development practices into all areas of music learning.

Utilizing case studies and stories from organizations around the world — including Massachusetts-based programs such as Zumix, Berkshire Children and Families, the Sci Tech Band, Elevated Thought, Community Art Center, The Theater Offensive, RAW Art Works, and others — the evolution and impact of CYD is traced alongside the development of the youth development field.

Looking forward, this book is an important step in moving youth development into the center of music learning in schools, community based settings, higher education, and professional performance settings.

Erik Holmgren of Mass Cultural Council authored a chapter called, “Changing the Ecology of Music Learning: Lessons from Creative Youth Development,” and the book was edited by Larry Scripp of the New England Conservatory and Brian Kaufmann from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Creative Youth Development

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