Current Activities

Current Activities

Planning / Research   

In 2016, the National Guild (which serves as the backbone organization for the partnership) received an NEA Collective Impact grant to identify and prioritize actionable strategies for achieving shared goals to increase access to CYD for American children and youth. This work is building on the momentum of the CYD field, including new partnerships and local networks, recent research, and increased professional development opportunities, since a policy agenda was set forth at the 2014 National Summit on Creative Youth Development.

The key deliverable of this 18-month planning grant is a Blueprint, to be first published in early 2018 as a living document that will map opportunities for cross-sector advancement of creative youth development and provide strategic recommendations for policy, partnership, and field-building. We have engaged the Forum for Youth Investment in a consultancy to help with research and analysis that will inform the Blueprint and bring the CYD field into dialogue with adjacent sectors (e.g., mental health, juvenile justice, workforce development, etc.). The Forum’s research will inform strategic recommendations for the Blueprint, grounded in existing knowledge and local examples of effective practice. They are conducting an environmental scan of youth-related adjacent sectors and interviewing leaders in allied sectors which will result in a written brief (to be published this May) that identifies policy and partnership opportunities for CYD  (i.e., What are the policy levers in these adjacent sectors? What are the points of entry for the CYD field?). This written brief will incorporate previous CYD research including Setting the Agenda, which reflects input from youth and practitioners from throughout the United States, and the input from the 2014 National CYD Summit and its resulting policy agenda. The written brief is designed to inform a CYD National Stakeholder Meeting in July 2017 in Boston.

Additionally, the Partners will be conducting a national CYD field survey. This survey has been developed by Americans for the Arts in concert with the Partnership and will the first baseline study of the CYD field in the United States. It is expected to open in late May.

The Forum’s research, the field survey and dialogue with national leaders will inform the CYD National Stakeholder Meeting in Boston in July 2017. The Meeting will engage up to 100 leaders in CYD and adjacent sectors and will be facilitated by Piper Anderson in concert with the Partners, Advisors and young people. The planning committee for this meeting includes Lara Davis (Seattle Office of Arts and Culture), Alex Johnson (Californians for Safety and Justice) and Jennifer Cole (Nashville Arts Commission). We are in the early stages of involving youth leaders in the planning process. The goals of this two-day working meeting are

  1. To highlight local examples of cross sector work which represent opportunities for future growth and advocacy by other communities and the CYD National Partnership.Rationale: The solutions to long-term sustainability for Creative Youth Development already exist at the local level.  Our work will be about amplifying and developing the promising practices highlighted in the research and the field with the goal of bringing new sources of funding and technical assistance to programs throughout the country.
  2.  To strengthen individual and organizational connections with allied sectors that are working on behalf of youth by coming together with a common purpose.Rationale: Cross-Sector partnership and collaboration is a key tenet of how we are advancing CYD, and building the movement requires and will benefit from cross-sector ties that will be paths to increase funding, reach, and sustainability.
  3. To work with national stakeholders to develop prioritized, actionable strategies for cross-sector advancement of the field of creative youth development. These strategies will be informed by Setting the Agenda; an environmental scan of adjacent sectors that map opportunities for policy and partnership; interviews with adjacent sector leaders; and knowledge of effective models and practices. Ultimately these strategies, or some version of them, will be included in the Blueprint.Rationale: We will be at a point in our research and Blueprint development process that will benefit from vetting, reflection, and deliberation of a broader group of CYD stakeholders and cross-sector partners.

Participants will include experienced CYD leaders, youth, and key leaders from adjacent sectors, including funders, and researchers. The Partnership will seek to engage the broader CYD field prior to, during, and following the National Stakeholder Meeting as part of its field building efforts.

Field Building  

Current Information Resources

CYD National Partnership Website ( – Goal is to further develop the national CYD website, maintained by Mass Cultural Council, as a critical tool for raising the visibility of the field, aligning information resources, and engaging broad participation from multiple stakeholders through open forums and opportunities for knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

Monthly eNews –Currently emailed to more than 11,500 individuals with an interest in CYD. Shares Partner News, Field News, Resources, and Exemplary Program Models. Individuals can sign up to receive emails online.

Professional Development

A jointly-produced, year-long series of webinars – the Partners just started piloting this in 2017. This year, the focus is on featuring several webinars focused on CYD fundamentals and then several webinars that offer a “deep dive” into the imperatives of the policy agenda, featuring catalytic case studies of effective practice from CYD organizations nationally. In addition, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (NAHYP) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) will present a 3-part summer webinar series that focuses on the growing field of library-based Creative Youth Development (CYD), explores best practices in after-school CYD library programming, and examines how humanities are incorporated into these programs. The first three webinars of the year had more than 100 participants each and are recorded and available for free online.

Creative Youth Development Track at the National Guild‘s Conference for Community Arts Education. This track is curated by Guild Staff with input and guidance from the Guild’s CYD Steering Committee and National Partners.

Local Forums

In an effort to inform, strengthen, and cultivate community-based CYD organizations in both nascent and emerging ecosystems, the National Partnership will convene three regional day-long workshops called “CYD Close Encounter Convenings”— two in rural communities of Arkansas and Wyoming and one in the urban community of Denver, Colorado.  Designed and hosted in collaboration with state arts agencies, private funders, and community-based organizations, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities will offer workshops that will highlight and respond to strengths and needs in the region. Each workshop will bring together practitioners, funders, policymakers, community stakeholders, and youth leaders, and will feature past National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award winners as national models.

e.g., The Partners hosted a forum for 40 CYD leaders and cross sector allies in California in February 2017 at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. The forum focused on CYD and Cross Sector Collaboration and featured a cross-sector panel of leaders, facilitated by Cynthia Campoy Brophy, founder and executive director of artworxLA. Cynthia documented the key takeaways, poses questions, and describes artworxLA’s work in career pathways in a recent GuildNotes article.

Future Tools & Resources   

As one of the core projects of the Partnerships, led by Americans for the Arts, a new tool – The Creative Youth Development Toolkit – is being developed with anticipated release of Spring 2019. The toolkit will examine the most effective practices in the essential elements of creative youth development programs. The goal of the toolkit is to aggregate and disseminate the most effective tools from exemplary programs throughout the nation. The research process will utilize Landscape Analyses on effective practices, case studies of exemplary programs, and evaluation of tools for the field.