Young artists and activists from RYSE Youth Center (Richmond, CA) and youth leaders from Re:Frame Youth Arts Center (Phoenix, AZ) held a series of conversations to discuss Creative Youth Development (CYD) from 2019-2020. They met over video calls to discuss how they define CYD values, what CYD looks like in practice, and their expectations of adult partners in CYD spaces. A series of graphics emerged from these conversations to help guide adult practitioners and spark larger conversations with youth and adults in the field of CYD.
Thanks to the organizations who answered our call for youth videos! These incredible clips on our website showcase stories of youth experiences in leadership, racial equity and social justice, and collective action in their communities across the country.
National Arts in Education Week is a Congressionally-designated celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. The field of arts education annually joins together to bring visibility to the cause, unify stakeholders with a shared message, and provide the tools and resources for local leaders to advance arts education in their communities. Find many ways to celebrate the week alongside 750+ other communities by visiting www.NationalArtsInEducationWeek.org for more information. Are you in for the celebration? If so, please fill out this form.
Many youth participants in CYD programs attest that their involvement changed the trajectory of their lives. Additionally, numerous young people state that participation in a CYD program effectively saved their lives. However, there are not enough CYD programs to meet the needs and interests of young people in our communities. While creative youth development is on the rise, not every community has CYD opportunities for young people. And some outstanding programs have waiting lists of young people who never have a chance to participate because demand exceeds the number of openings.
“Parents of 18.5 million children (38 percent) not currently participating in afterschool programs say they would enroll their children if a program were available to them.”
Clearly there is unmet demand among youth and families for high quality afterschool programs. So how do we know that there is unmet demand for CYD programs, specifically?
The Search Institute has conducted substantial research in the area of young people’s deep interests and passions, or their sparks, with compelling results about young people’s interest in creative pursuits.
Creative arts was the number one interest area cited by U.S. teens aged 12-17 among the top 10 sparks categories. In fact, creative arts was cited by 54% of teens, more than twice as often as the number two category, athletics, which was named by 25% of teens surveyed (Benson, 2008).
“…creative life…art, music, drama, dance, movement is the largest category in which sparks fall for America’s kids…that’s the area in which the most kids say, ‘I’m my best self.’ It’s the arena in which most kids will say “ is where life is the fullest and most hopeful.” (Benson, 2011)
Young people are clearly interested in opportunities for creative skill building, inquiry, and expression, which is at the heart of CYD. So policymakers, funders, youth developers, community leaders and others who value supporting young people in identifying and cultivating their sparks, or personal passions, should support increasing access to and investment in CYD. High-quality creative youth development programs are essential pathways for young people to thrive.
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.
Through their Youth Arts Action Initiative, MASSCreative partners with 18 youth arts groups to provide advocacy training and opportunities for participants to effect change in their communities. Their youth partners represent a broad spectrum of disciplines – from music, theatre, dance, and visual art – and come from diverse backgrounds representing communities around Greater Boston and beyond.
The Hunt Alternatives Fund has been working to increase public funding for youth arts through coalition building, advocacy, grantmaking, and outreach in Eastern Massachusetts for many years. Now, they are bringing their experience and their learning to other cities in an effort to build a more national coalition of youth arts organizations, help to increase their individual major donor bases, and support them to influence public resources. Check out this video from a stop in San Francisco: