Cross-Sector Coalition Releases Recommendations to Advance Role of Creativity in Youth Development

The Creative Youth Development National Partnership, in concert with more than 650 cross-sector stakeholders nationally, is calling for all young people to have equitable access to opportunities to: realize their creative potential; live richer, fuller lives; and develop the critical learning and life skills they need to become active contributors to their communities.

Read the Creative Youth Development National Blueprint and subscribe to the CYD Partnership eNews to receive regular updates on creative youth development (CYD) news, opportunities, and resources. The CYD National Partnership will host an online forum in May to discuss the Blueprint’s three strategic priority areas.

Creative youth development is a long-standing practice that integrates creative skill-building, inquiry, and expression with positive youth development principles. In these programs, young people create original work—including animated films, 3-D printed sculptures, dance and theater productions, musical compositions, curated book collections, and more—and apply their creative skills to solve problems, shape their lives, and imagine and build the world in which they want to live.

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the CYD National Partnership—which includes the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Americans for the Arts, the Mass Cultural Council, and formerly the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities—gathered input on strategies to expand the reach and impact of CYD through numerous community conversations throughout the country over an 18-month period.

The resulting Creative Youth Development National Blueprint identifies three strategic priorities for advancing CYD:

  • VISIBILITY & IMPACT: Documenting and Communicating Outcomes and Impact
  • FUNDING: Expanding Pathways to Funding
  • FIELD BUILDING: Professional Development, Networking, and Technical Assistance

Woven throughout the Blueprint are core values of the CYD coalition: racial equity and social justice, youth voice, and collective action. Read the Executive Summary.

“Creative youth development has the unique potential to deepen and sustain youth engagement by providing opportunities for youth to develop their creative potential, amplify their voices, and build leadership skills,” said Jonathan Herman, Executive Director of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. “For many youth, CYD programs also can be a pathway to other services such as college and career readiness, mental health services, academic support, and more.”

Participants in this national movement include youth, practitioners, researchers, funders, policy makers, and other stakeholders in creative youth development and allied sectors. The Partnership also commissioned research by the Forum for Youth Investment that mapped opportunities for alignment, e.g. developing social emotional competence; promoting healthy decision making/behaviors; and reengaging young people in positive learning and work environments, among CYD and allied youth sectors, including afterschool, juvenile justice, mental health, education, and workforce development. Three cross-sector Action Teams were then formed to analyze and distill the research and stakeholder inputs and make final recommendations for the Blueprint.

“Providing today’s youth with the skills they need to lead fulfilling lives across all economic, social, and family circumstances is a large-scale undertaking,” said Erik Peterson, Vice President of Policy, Afterschool Alliance. “To do this urgent work effectively, we must work together to share lessons learned, networks, and resources.”

The Blueprint will evolve as implementation unfolds and will be updated online to reflect progress toward goals.

The Creative Youth Development National Partnership aims to ensure that creative youth development is a broadly-implemented, well-researched, and equitably-funded practice and available to all youth so that they may realize their full potential and thrive.

CYD National Partners include:

The National Guild for Community Arts Education, which ensures all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and advocating for community arts education.

Americans for the Arts, which serves, advances, and leads the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America.

Mass Cultural Council, a state agency supporting the arts, humanities, and sciences in order to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. Over the past 20 years, Mass Cultural Council has invested more than $10 million in creative youth development, resulting in a vibrant community of programs.

Photo: Destiny Arts Center (Oakland, CA) performs at the 2017 Conference

Published: April 23, 2018