Armory’s Art High Provides High-End Instruction and Life Skills

With a firm belief that “arts and arts education are essential components of a well-rounded human experience and a civil community,” the Armory Center for the Arts launched in 2006 an ambitious program called Art High. Its goal: Make out-of-school arts instruction more accessible to the young people of Pasadena, California by providing free year-round classes and mentorship opportunities at parks, schools, and community centers.

With 11 years of effective programming, the Art High initiative has paid off. The Armory, with its fortified network of community partnerships, has been able to provide visual and media arts education, arts experiences, and mentorships to more than 700 middle and high school-aged teens. By means of its six satellite sites, the center reaches young people from the lower-income neighborhoods of Northwest Pasadena and the Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and delivers vital programming to incarcerated youth at the city’s juvenile detention facilities. In recognition of its excellent after-school work, the program received the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Art High Apprentices and Mentors at Work. Art High, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awardee. Photos: Armory Center for the Arts.

The Armory’s outreach entails a breadth and depth of high-quality instruction. Trained teaching artists provide teens with more than 60 courses a year, totaling over 1,000 hours of drawing, digital photography, screen-printing, letterpress, stop-motion animation, and aerosol (graffiti) art—just to name a few. In addition, they receive wraparound services including academic support, mentoring, and career guidance. Participants also have ample opportunities to exhibit their own work publicly.

Because of Art High, youth from the greater Los Angeles area are not only receiving artistic instruction, but are gaining transferable life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and expression. They are positioned for summer employment and provided support services in the form of workforce development and financial literacy training.

“People around the Armory have taught me new values in what life offers and have helped better prepare me for the challenges ahead.” Arnolfo Reyes, former Arts High participant

“Before I started coming here, I didn’t know I was going to college or none of that, but now there’s a chance I could go…I want to be a photographer someday. The Armory’s given me the opportunities to make that happen.” Dalon Poole, former Armory Teen Apprentice

Art High Participant Making a Screen Print. Art High, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awardee. Photos: Armory Center for the Arts.

By offering its participants unique opportunities for artist mentorship, technical instruction, and employment skills through paid and volunteer internships, the center keeps youth focused and deeply involved. So much so that Art High teens return time and time again, committed to furthering their education and giving back to their Armory community.

Achieving Positive Outcomes for Youth: CYD and Cross Sector Collaboration

Guild Notes cover image - girl holding a maskIn February, nearly 40 experienced creative youth development (CYD) practitioners from Southern California gathered at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA to hear from a panel of cross-sector leaders. The event, hosted by the Creative Youth Development National Partnership and moderated by Cynthia Campoy Brophy (ArtworxLA), explored opportunities for collaboration between the creative youth development field and adjacent sectors (e.g., youth development, workforce development, mental health) to achieve positive outcomes for youth. Creative youth development organizations across the country—organizations that are using the arts to encourage positive risk-taking, promote leadership development, and build career pathways—have a vision that overlaps with various youth-oriented sectors.

Our key question was: How can CYD and adjacent sectors actively identify shared priorities and break down barriers to effective partnership?

This article by Brophy explores the vital themes that came out of our discussion and details their implications for community arts educators looking to collaborate with other sectors to better serve youth.

2017 Creative Youth Development Webinar Series

We’re producing a year-long webinar series designed to increase understanding of CYD practice, build capacity, and advance the field.

The first three webinars are focused on CYD fundamentals. In the months ahead, we’ll be adding to this exciting line-up with deeper dives into the five imperatives of the CYD national policy agenda, including webinars on cross-sector collaboration, documenting and communicating impact, promoting youth leadership, and more.

Recordings of each webinar will be made available online.

Five Effective Models of Creative Youth Development Practice


Monday, April 24, 1 – 2:30pm ET
Register for this free webinar presented by the National Guild for Community Arts Education
In this dynamic “TED Talk-style” webinar, representatives of five exemplary creative youth development organizations will share how their programs are sparking young people’s creativity and building critical learning and life skills that carry into adulthood. Through short-form, energetic presentations by A Reason to Survive, Community MusicWorks, DAVA, Destiny Arts Center, and Harmony Project, you’ll learn about several, interrelated CYD practices including:

  • Integrating youth voice and leadership into core organizational structures and programs
  • Creating opportunities for young people to create a more just and equitable society
  • Establishing young people as key leaders in community development efforts
  • Preparing young people for transitions into college and careers
  • Supporting young people holistically

This showcase will send provide you and your team with inspiration and new ideas for how to create, develop, and advocate for successful creative youth development programs.

Presenters:
Matt D’Arrigo, Founder & CEO, A Reason to Survive (ARTS), National City, CA
Jon Hinojosa, Artistic & Executive Director, Say Si, San Antonio, TX
Susan Jenson, Director, DAVA, Aurora, CO
Chloe Kline, Education Director, Community MusicWorks, Providence, RI
Myka Miller, Executive Director, Harmony Project, Los Angeles, CA
Rashidi Omari, Teaching Artist & Co-Director of Destiny Youth Performance Company, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA
Program Alumni

Youth Development in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities


Thursday, April 27, 4 – 5:30pm ET
Register for this free webinar presented by Massachusetts Cultural Council
This webinar is designed to increase the knowledge of a youth development approach as it applies to quality arts learning using examples, theory, and frameworks for integrating youth development practice into arts programs. The webinar will provide a definition of positive youth outcomes and the youth development approach in addition to examining levels of youth participation in arts, science, and humanities based programs. Finally, the webinar will provide an introduction to the Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project framework for designing, evaluating, and reflecting on youth development as an essential component of high quality creative youth development programming.

Presenters:
Eryn Johnson, Executive Director, Community Art Center, Cambridge, MA
Laurie Jo Wallace, Director of Training and Capacity Building, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA

Recorded Webinars

Creative Youth Development: What’s in a Name?


Watch the recorded webinar presented by the National Guild for Community Arts Education
Creative Youth Development (CYD) intentionally integrates learning in the arts, humanities, and sciences with youth development principles. In CYD programs, young people create work and apply their creative skills to solve problems, shape their lives and build the world in which they want to live. The 2014 National Summit for CYD generated new focus and energy in CYD, catalyzing collective action (e.g., CYD National Partnership, Alliance for Creative Youth Development). Through case study examples, discussion, and student work, we’ll explore what it means to create and sustain programs for youth through this framework.

Presenters:
Nicole Amri, Program Director, Say Si, San Antonio, TX
Karen LaShelle, Executive Director, Creative Action, Austin, TX
Denise Montgomery, Director, Creative Youth Development National Initiative
Youth Artists from Creative Action and Say Si

Juvenile Justice & Workforce Development Leaders Discuss CYD

Last week the Creative Youth Development National Partnership hosted a panel of cross-sector leaders at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California to discuss creative youth development and cross-sector partnerships. Panelists included:

Cynthia Campoy Brophy, Executive Director at artworxLA and member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s CYD Steering Committee, moderated the discussion.

Approximately 50 CYD practitioners and stakeholders from Southern California attended the session. The purpose of the panel was for the CYD field to hear from cross-sector about their areas of focus and motivations in order to better understand how CYD might partner across sectors as well as to be inspired by the CYD cross-sector work happening in the Los Angeles region.

Sainz and Johnson shared their experiences working with and on behalf of young people facing adversity. Both leaders championed creative youth development as a powerful and effective way to connect with young people and engage them in activities and programs that can alter the fundamental trajectories of their lives.

Sainz’s efforts in workforce investment includes a focus on “recovering the 1 in 6 young people in Los Angeles aged 16-24 who are not employed or in school, currently totaling 82,000”—the opportunity youth discussed in the CYD-publication Setting the Agenda and elsewhere—as well as youth development, investing in education, and reducing recidivism. Sainz has observed that the arts support the retention of young people in programs and that the arts offerings at the LA community centers his department funds are the most popular programs among teens and young adults.

Johnson’s commitment to social justice includes reducing the incarceration footprint, reducing and redirecting money spent on corrections, and putting those funds into other systems such as education, and building mainstream support for criminal justice reform. His work on behalf of young people also includes serving as Vice President of the Los Angeles County School Board.

Johnson reflected on how “the arts allow young people to engage in a way that meets them where they are…the arts allows kids to get in touch with their feelings, whatever rage might be inside, whatever socioeconomic factors they might face.”

“Broken people become broken adults…you see hope when kids are able to let it out,” he said.

He spoke specifically about the role of creative youth development in skills development, retention, whole child pathways, and development of relationships with meaning and heart and in providing a different perspective to calcified thinking about how to work with young people, particularly those who have been incarcerated or for whom school has been an alienating or otherwise negative experience. In spotlighting the talents and hard work of young people engaged in CYD programs Johnson sees an antidote to the pervasive negative portrayals of young people in the media, particularly low-income boys and men of color.

Brazell shared information about her agency’s internship programs which include efforts to place young people who have aged out of the foster care system into internships in supportive and caring environments at community arts organizations.

The panelists shared a conviction about the need to advocate for investment in young people, and they discussed opportunities around joint advocacy. With strong consensus about the value of CYD in supporting positive outcomes and promising futures for young people, the panelists shifted into discussion of challenges to partnership, including funding, bureaucracies, and work cultures. They discussed the need to understand cross-sector partners’ language and to communicate in ways that support understanding.

With forums such as this one the Partnership aims to build understanding and dialogue about cross-sector partnership and CYD. Engaging not-the-usual-suspects leaders such as Robert Sainz and Alex Johnson in the CYD movement and providing platforms for them to speak on behalf of the value of creative youth development in the lives of young people are important strategies for extending the work of CYD across sectors and for growing support for the field.

Native Youth Thrive in Tribal Youth Ambassadors Program

Jayden Lim, age 15, speaks on behalf of 2016 NAHYP Awardee, Tribal Youth Ambassadors. Photo credit: Steven E. Purcell.

We are Indian and we are proud. We still sing. We still laugh. We still dream. We still stand. – Jayden Lim

At the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award’s White House ceremony, which honors programs that are national models in the field of creative youth development, Jayden Lim was the youth speaker on behalf of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center.

Jayden, a young woman from Santa Rosa, CA, shared the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama. With her personal story, Jayden shared the power of the humanities to transform Native youth’s lives:

I am a Pomo Indian from Northern California. In some ways, I am your average 15 year old. I am a sophomore in high school, I love music, and I am currently learning how to drive. In some ways, I am very different from the other students at my school. I run my own DJ business and I work to educate others about California tribal histories and cultures.

With an average graduation rate of 54.5%, Santa Rosa’s Native youth are unlikely to graduate from high school or college. Many are also challenged by high rates of depression and suicide. The Museum’s Tribal Youth Ambassadors program works to combat these challenges by bringing tribal youth together to address their own needs. Ever since engaging these young people after school and in the summer, the Museum has seen 100% of its Tribal Youth Ambassadors program participants graduate—sometimes, with honors.

In this multi-disciplinary program, students aged 9–24 receive humanities lessons, plus Native language, cultural, and multimedia arts training after school, two days a week, for two to four hours. Students learn leadership, public speaking, and presentation skills as well as how to serve as docents.

Students like Jayden gain numerous benefits from the Museum’s positive learning environments. By studying oral history and practicing storytelling, they gain a greater awareness and appreciation of their heritage; they learn their role in promoting intercultural understanding among Native and non-Native communities; they find their voices to express and share their rich history and culture and go out into their communities ready to tackle tribal stereotypes and misinformation.

For Jayden, participation in the Tribal Youth Ambassadors program has empowered her. She feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to dispel misinformation about Native Americans. She advocates for her community, and in her own words, “demonstrates not only how native people survive but how we thrive.”

Amplify Grants Awarded to 15 Youth-Led Community Projects

Youth Leaders with Elevated Thought in Lawrence, MAThis year, the Massachusetts Cultural Council awarded 15 Amplify grants totaling $15,000 to projects designed and executed by young people in programs receiving YouthReach or SerHacer funding. Amplify shines a spotlight on the contributions these young people make to their communities by supporting them directly in creating and publicly sharing their work.

See the Amplify projects supported in 2017 and 2016.

Eric Booth on the Potency of Teaching Artistry

Creative Minds Out Loud logoOn the MCC’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we recently spoke with Eric Booth about the potency of teaching artistry.

Booth, one of the foremost experts in the world on teaching artists, discusses the field and craft of teaching artistry. He says while teaching artists are recognized as learning catalysts – by the education, business, and healthcare sectors (to name a few) – there continue to be insufficient growth pathways to support the expertise that’s been developed by this global workforce.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the transcript.

Check out other podcast episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Apply for a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

Images of NAHYP awarded programs

If your organization is offering outstanding out-of-school-time humanities learning opportunities to young people, you may be eligible for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. See if your organization is eligible.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities. This award recognizes and supports excellence in programs that open new pathways to learning, self-discovery, and achievement.

How to Apply

Completed applications will only be accepted via the online process.

Application deadline has been extended Until February 13, 9:00PM PST.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards is a signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities – in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

CYD Partnership Appoints National Advisory Committee

The Creative Youth Development National Partnership has appointed 11 members to its National Advisory Committee. Additional advisors will be appointed in the coming months. This cross-sector Committee will play a significant strategic role in helping to shape and vet strategic recommendations for how to advance the field of CYD.

We are pleased to announce the following advisors:

  • Nicole Amri, Program Director, SAY Sí, San Antonio, TX
  • Jennifer Cole, Executive Director, Metro Arts, Nashville, TN
  • Sarah Cunningham, Executive Director of Research, School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
  • Deb Habib, Executive Director, Seeds of Solidarity, Orange, MA
  • Alex Johnson, Managing Director for Californians for Safety and Justice, Oakland, CA
  • Cristy Johnston Limon, Executive Director, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA
  • Erik Peterson, Vice President, Policy, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, D.C.
  • Kwame Scruggs, Founder and Director of Programs and Training, Alchemy Inc., Akron, OH
  • Lauren Stevenson, Director of Youth Initiatives, Head of Project 1324, Adobe Social Impact, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  • Matt Wilson, Executive Director, MASSCreative, Boston, MA
  • Jason Yoon, Executive Director, Atlas DIY, Brooklyn, NY

See full bios.