Mass Cultural Council’s Erik Holmgren invited Elizabeth Pickard from the Missouri History Museum and Lynn Stanley, Curator of Education for the Provincetown Art Association and Museum to discuss their respective institutions as a place for connecting the story of themselves, the story of their communities, and the story of now. Listen to how their own stories brought them into the museum field and how they strive to ‘lift the veil’ between their institutions and the lived experience of young people in their communities.
Attention to the role of creativity in positive youth development is growing, as evidenced by new opportunities for networking, emerging research, and a recent resolution by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. However, few opportunities exist for youth to participate meaningfully participate in national and regional forums where adults are designing programs and making policy decisions that affect young people. As the primary national convener for community arts education leaders, the National Guild’s Conference for Community Arts Education has a unique opportunity to amplify and support youth voice and leadership within the sector and deepen connections and learning between young people. In addition to a dedicated track of Creative Youth Development sessions and network meetings, this year’s conference (November 15-18 in San Francisco/Oakland) piloted an Emerging Young Artist Residency, which brought together youth, ages 16-24, and teaching artists from Destiny Arts Center (Oakland, CA), Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, and RAW Art Works (Lynn, MA) to collaboratively create an original performance piece that explored critical social issues connected to conference themes.
These young artists participated as delegates, attending conference sessions and roundtables, and then rehearsed offsite at Destiny in the afternoons. The residency culminated in a powerful performance at the Annual Awards Breakfast on Nov. 18. The impact of this experience for the youth involved—as well as for the attendees—was remarkable.
As Jai’Len Smith, a student of Mosaic Youth Theatre, put it: “This experience was truly unforgettable. I think youth are going to be vital in advancing the arts, their communities, and social change more broadly . . . When they’re put in positions and on platforms where they’re able to voice their concerns as well as their desires and be something like a spokesperson for their communities and their generation as a whole, I believe they will be more impactful than any of us can imagine.”
This July, the National Partners brought together 100+ leaders from across sectors and around the country for a CYD National Stakeholder Meeting in Boston. The purpose of the meeting was to drive collective action to advance the role of creativity in positive youth development. Over two days, this community of stakeholders worked together to prioritize strategic actions to holistically support positive change in the lives of young people. Participants included youth, practitioners, researchers, funders, policy makers and other stakeholders in creative youth development and allied sectors (e.g., mental health, juvenile justice, workforce development, youth development, education, and community development). The focus of the National Stakeholder Meeting was on tapping the wisdom, experience, and diverse perspectives of the stakeholders in the room to amplify promising strategies highlighted in recent research and practice, increase investment in creative youth development nationally, and catalyze action that will bring new resources and support to CYD practice throughout the country.
Participants at the National Stakeholder Meeting identified three strategic priority areas. These areas build off the initial policy agenda drafted in 2014. Cross-sector collaboration, equity, and youth voice were central frameworks used in drafting initial recommendations for strategic action in each area.
1. Document and Communicate Impact
Raise Awareness & Estimation of CYD as a Solution for Positive Outcomes for Youth.
Collect, Aggregate, and Communicate Data on Field & Outcomes
2. Establish Pathways to Funding
Increased Investment in CYD
3. Connect to Learn
Networking and relationship building, including youth and alumnae, affinity groups and cross sector groups; nationally, regionally, and virtually.
Provide Ongoing Professional Development, Technical Assistance, and Communication Resources.
The Partnership is in the process of synthesizing the input from the National Stakeholder meeting in addition to research and other inputs to inform the CYD National Blueprint to be published this winter. Over the next few months, we are engaging Action Teams of CYD stakeholders to help us further develop these three strategic priorities and identify some early wins. These initial Action Teams will serve from September – December. The objectives of the Action Team are to: 1) Help develop the strategic priority areas of the CYD National Blueprint; and 2) Help determine early wins in 2018. The Blueprint will be published on the CYD National Partnership website, shared with the field, and will be updated to reflect progress and the ever-changing funding and policy landscape.
With a varied roster of national and local agencies, educators, artists, and academia from South Korea, Scotland, India, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand, these guests met to distill the findings of the NSM, and, led by veteran teaching artist Eric Booth, were 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.
For four years, Xavier participated in ASP’s creative youth development program, Shakespeare Inside & Out, which works with youth in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS), on probation, or in transition back into society, through ensemble and performance-based Shakespeare and theater projects.
artworxLA is a non-profit organization combating the high school dropout crisis by creatively engaging alternative education high school students. In this short film, filmmaker Rich Lee and his partner Louise Baker Lee spent an entire day with Zion, learning about his creative process, his life, his neighborhood, and the impact artworxLA has had on his life.
During their annual meeting in June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously endorsed a resolution titled, “Access to Creative Youth Development for At-Risk Youth” in support of CYD in communities across the nation. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more and their chief elected official, the mayor. CYD Programs are encouraged to use this resolution to present to their mayor to garner support for CYD-related efforts in their community.
On Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, Carolyn Mower Burns, President and CEO of Berkshire Children & Families, a social service agency serving Western Massachusetts, shared how they use musical excellence as a vehicle for developing whole children and whole families through Kids 4 Harmony, their intensive classical music program for social change.