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Arts Infusion Initiative, 2010-2015: Evaluation Report

In 2010, an ambitious model for social change emerged in Chicago that aimed to connect detained youth and those at risk for incarceration to rigorous and engaging arts instruction, infused with social and emotional learning goals. Dubbed the Arts Infusion Initiative, the Chicago Community Trust and funded this five-year demonstration while earning cooperation from the local detention facility, public school system, community policing office, and community arts program leaders to integrate arts programming into youths’ school and after school environments. Since its launch, the Arts Infusion Initiative has served more than 2,000 youth at an average annual cost of $700 per teen, linking them to high performing arts instruction associated with significant increases in social and emotional learning.
This report marks the first large-scale evaluation of the Arts Infusion Initiative which was designed to:

  • assess the degree to which the project, as an emergent model for social change, was achieving its intended purposes
  • generate actionable information for promoting effective Arts Infusion practices while redirecting those that have been less effective

To accomplish these objectives, from April to August 2015, the Urban Institute, in consultation with the National Guild for Community Arts Education, conducted a multi-method evaluation. This report presents the evaluation’s key findings and recommendations.

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This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.