New META Fellowships Provide Professional Development for Mass Teaching Artists

Eric Booth leads learning session for more than 40 Massachusetts teaching artists on October 13, 2016 at the META Fellowship launch at Boston’s Symphony Hall.The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and Klarman Family Foundation have launched a new program to help teaching artists improve the quality of their work with youth in schools and community settings across Massachusetts.

The Music Educators and Teaching Artists (META) Fellowship Pilot Program meets a growing need for high-quality, professional teaching in programs that employ the principles of creative youth development. With an initial focus on music, this two-year fellowship will help teaching artists develop the skills, relationships, and experiences they need to improve their practice. In turn, these artist educators will be better equipped to help their students grow as musicians and develop the cognitive and life skills they will need to thrive as adults.

“This project is a game changer. It is powerful and unique in a number of ways,” says Eric Booth, author and international authority on teaching artistry. “This can serve as a model for the rest of the country.”

Read more.

Drumming & Myth: Healing Urban Youth Through Alchemy

Still from FINDING THE GOLD WITHIN, by Karina EpperleinAlchemy is a nonprofit organization in Akron, OH that provides a safe environment and sense of community to assist in the development of urban adolescents through the telling, discussion, and interpretation of mythological stories and fairy tales told to the beat of an African drum.

Since 2003, Alchemy has worked with over 2,000 male youth in its creative youth development programs. In 2012, they received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities.

“Myths speak to archetypal situations, universal dilemmas,” said Kwame Scruggs, Executive Director of Alchemy, Inc. And, embedded in myths are guides to behavior that he believes can help counter some of the destructive images of masculinity that have taken root in some aspects of urban culture.

“For the seven years that I have been in Alchemy, It has helped me grow from a boy to a man. The mythological stories we read and hear you can relate to everyday life. It helps you become a better decision maker to help you through hard times. It also connects you with other black males where I learn about their problems and we are able to help each other overcome obstacles. Alchemy is a great group of loyalty and brotherhood.” – Marlon, Alchemy participant

“I come, I listen, I share or say what I gotta say. I feel more open, because nothing leaves the circle. I’m something like a son, well, we all can say we are. But with no father figure in my life it seems like I had one when I come here and a lot of brothers so it taught me how to bond with people. So I come because it’s Alchemy. Love Kwame like a father.” – Dionte, Alchemy participant

Although personal development, rather than academic achievement, is the program’s chief goal, Alchemy’s techniques are also promoting academic success. Twenty-four of 28 members of its “first class” graduated from high school and went on to college. (And, of those 24 who enrolled in college, nine Alchemy alums have already graduated with their college degrees with 6 more alum on track to graduate by June 2018.)

In Finding the Gold Within, a feature-length documentary by Karina Epperlein, follow six young African American men, alumni of Alchemy’s program, as they enter college, determined to redefine society’s images and low expectations of them:

CYD Partners Host Briefing in Washington, D.C.

Megan Beyer, Executive Director of The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), welcomes attendees of the briefing organized by the CYD National Partnership and hosted by PCAH in Washington, D.C.

Megan Beyer, Executive Director of The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), welcomes attendees of the briefing organized by the CYD National Partnership and hosted by PCAH in Washington, D.C.

Over 30 representatives from federal agencies and national organizations attended the Creative Youth Development National Partnership’s briefing on the CYD field and Partnership on September 19 in Washington, D.C. Cross-sector partnership is vital to our efforts to build access and opportunities for young people to participate in CYD programs across the country. We are grateful for the rich dialogue and the advice and information shared by briefing participants from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Afterschool Alliance, U.S. Department of Justice, and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

Discussion on common areas of interest ranged from community development, connected learning, exposure of youth to violence and trauma, research on breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, heightened interest in social and emotional learning, equity and social justice, pathways to higher education, and potential areas of collaboration. The Partnership will continue to forge ties across sectors as a core strategy to increasing access for young people to quality CYD programs nationwide.

Join the CYD Program Database

As part of the newly announced CYD National Partnership, programs and practitioners are encouraged to register their work in the CYD Program Database as administered by Animating Democracy. By registering in the database, you will be first to know about upcoming opportunities to engage in research, communications, and convening. Particularly, we will be issuing a field survey and call for effective practices in CYD in the coming months. Don’t miss out. Register Now.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Published on Rise of CYD

Arts Education Policy Review coverA new article, “The Rise of Creative Youth Development,” was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Arts Education Policy Review (June 2016). Written by Denise Montgomery, Director of the Creative Youth Development National Initiative, this article describes core characteristics of creative youth development (CYD) programs and provides background on the origins and history of the field, including current advances and signs the field is coalescing. The article also describes CYD in the larger contexts of arts education and of education reform, and discusses policy, funding, and research needs and opportunities.

Download the article (PDF). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Arts Education Policy Review on June 16, 2016.

Announcing the Creative Youth Development National Partnership

New Collective Impact Strategy to Strengthen Community-Based Organizations and Empower Practitioners & Youth

Today marks the formal launch of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership between the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Massachusetts Cultural Council, The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Americans for the Arts. These four organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their joint commitment to advancing creative youth development (CYD) as a field of practice nationwide.

Creative youth development is a recently coined term that organizes a longstanding community of practice that intentionally integrates the arts, sciences, and humanities with youth development principles, sparking young people’s creativity, and building critical learning and life skills that carry into adulthood.

This new coalition is collaborating to organize and accelerate the CYD movement through a collective impact strategy with a common agenda, shared systems and activities, cross-sector engagement, and continuous communications. The Partnership aims to strengthen community-based organizations working in youth development and the arts, sciences, and humanities; develop and support adult practitioners in the field; and benefit youth by increasing access to CYD opportunities throughout the United States.

In 2014, representatives of the creative youth development field came together at the National Summit for Creative Youth Development to form its first-ever national agenda. The Creative Youth Development National Partnership has embraced a collective impact strategy to implement this agenda.

Since the 2014 Summit, each of the partner organizations in the Creative Youth Development National Partnership has continued to contribute to advancing the CYD field in a number of ways, as described in this progress report.

The Partnership is currently leading and advising these major projects, which have begun this summer:

  • National Blueprint for Creative Youth Development – With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, this collective impact project works to advance cross-sector development of the CYD field and strengthen local and national partnerships. A national advisory group and a range of research activities will inform the Blueprint, which will seek to identify and prioritize actionable strategies for achieving shared goals to increase access to creative learning for American children and youth. Learn More.
  • The Creative Youth Development Toolkit – The toolkit, set to launch in June 2018, will highlight relevant research on the CYD field and adjacent fields, illuminate effective practices for programmatic success, and provide tools and resources to drive forward the field of practice and the policies that support it. Learn more
  • – The web site, and associated newsletter, will provide unified communications that will foster information sharing, learning, knowledge development, collaboration, and input across the field.


CYD Toolkit Under Development

Americans for the Arts Youth Arts LogoWith the coalescing of the field of Creative Youth Development, numerous studies have concluded certain key aspects of successful out-of-school time arts-based programs. Similar, national programs exist to recognize and advocate for the top-tier of programs. However, the most effective practices have not been studied and the field is currently experiencing a lack of peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and dissemination of tools and resources to aid in the expansion of existing programs and the creation of new ones.

The Creative Youth Development National Partnership will build and release a toolkit which highlights relevant research on the field, determines effective practice, and provides implementable tools and resources to drive forward the field of practice and the policies which support it.

This effort will build upon American’s for the Arts’ immensely successful Youth Arts Toolkit which was published in 1998 and included three local arts agencies as collaborators, two federal partners (National Endowment for the Arts and the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice), a set of private funders, and Americans for the Arts. The Youth Arts Toolkit lives in perpetuity on and has been out of print for over 15 years.

This new Creative Youth Development Toolkit will serve as a unifying resource for numerous members of the arts, education and youth development ecosystems. These stakeholders include: practitioners, funders, program administrators, along with local and state arts, health, education, and safety agencies.

Field research has indicated the following areas of focus for the study, development and distribution of tools and resources:

  • Program Development and Design
  • Practitioner Training and Preparation
  • Working with Young People
  • Working in Social Justice
  • Funding and Partnerships
  • Program Evaluation
  • Advocacy and Policy

To sign up to learn more and participate in the research, please register your program.

The Creative Youth Development Toolkit will be released in June 2018 celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the Youth Arts Toolkit.

National Blueprint for Creative Youth Development

Collective Impact Project Identifying Actionable Strategies for Advancing CYD

Building on the national agenda set forth at the National Summit on Creative Youth Development in 2014, the first-ever National Blueprint for Creative Youth Development will identify and prioritize actionable strategies for achieving shared goals for cross-sector advancement of creative youth development (CYD). Goals include supporting and advocating for effective business models, new revenue sources, and increased funding; documenting and communicating impact through shared language, systems, and tools; connecting programs with local community development initiatives to improve community outcomes; and strengthening cross-sector partnerships among local and national organizations.

The Blueprint is a collective impact project of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership, of which the National Guild for Community Arts Education serves as backbone organization. Through this project, the Partnership will add additional partners representing the youth development sector. Leveraging their national assets, partner organizations will connect to local communities and nonprofits to collect data, implement needs assessments, and gather catalytic case stories of youth development through creative learning. Through this research and a two-day national meeting of cross-sector stakeholders, the Blueprint will be created to reflect common goals, language, and strategies to increase access to CYD for American children and youth.

The Blueprint will be guided by a cross-sector, 12-member national advisory committee and a 10-member steering committee of CYD practitioners. It will be published in December 2017.

Denise Montgomery, founder and principal of CultureThrive, is project director for the Blueprint and through that role will be providing capacity to the CYD National Partnership. Montgomery is author of “The Rise of Creative Youth Development” (Arts Education Policy Review Journal, June 2016), which was commissioned by the Partnership. She was also lead author and researcher of Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts, published by The Wallace Foundation.

Progress Report: Collective Action for Creative Youth Development


Conference Presentations, Professional Development, and Networking

  • The 2nd annual Creative Youth Development track at the Guild’s 2015 Conference for Community Arts Education in Philadelphia featured the keynote address, “A Love Note to Justice: Building Hope and Healing in Urban America, by Dr. Shawn Ginwright.  (Guild members have access to the full video clip.) The track also featured a dozen breakout sessions, a dedicated roundtable, and site visits to Fleisher Art Memorial and Village of Arts and Humanities.
  • Conference presentations at Americans for the Arts’ 2015 Conference – “Creative Youth Development: What’s in a Name?” featuring speakers Jeff Poulin, Jon Hinojosa, Erik Holmgren, and Traci Slater-Rigaud.
  • In 2015, the Guild launched the Creative Youth Development Member Network, led by a nine member steering committee of CYD practitioners across the country. The Network is designed to foster engagement and promote communication among the Guild’s CYD members.
  • CYD Member Network hosted the Twitter Chat, #CYDChat: Where the Arts Connect and Contribute
  • Arts Education Partnership 2015 National Forum (Sept. 2015)
  • Presentation of “The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards Empowering Youth Through Creative Youth Development Webinar” on museum-, library-, and humanities programs. The webinar was presented by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with partner agencies the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. (Oct. 2015)
  • Guild’s Executive Director, Jonathan Herman, nominated to serve on the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Arts Advisory. The advisory group’s role is to provide expert council regarding best practices for providing high quality arts programs to youth.
  • “Hope and Healing Book Club Video Chat” to discuss Dr. Shawn Ginwright’s book, Hope and Healing in Urban Education (January 2016)
  • Reframing El Sistema conference in Baltimore (April 2016) – “Re-Defining Sustainability for Socially Driven Arts Programs” featuring speakers Jeff Poulin, Dan Trahey, and Phil Bravo. 
  • Guild’s CYD Member Network in collaboration with MindPop and Creative Action ( Austin, TX) and SAY Sí (San Antonio, TX) presented a workshop at Creative Action for over 40 local arts education leaders to discuss the CYD movement, observable qualities of effective CYD programs, and how to sustain programs on an ongoing basis (May 2016)
  • Conference presentations at Americans for the Arts’ 2016 Conference – “The Future of Creative Youth Development” featuring speakers Robyne Walker Murphy, Zakiya Thomas, and 2 students.


 Web Resources

See the 2014 Progress Report: Collective Action for Creative Youth Development