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April 7, 2014

National Policy Agenda Calls for Greater Investment in
Creative Potential of America’s Young People

Greater investment in out-of-school arts, humanities, and science programs that develop young people’s creative potential and foster individual growth and social responsibility will enable youth to live richer, fuller lives and develop the critical learning and life skills they need to make a successful transition to adulthood.

That was the key conclusion of participants in the National Summit on Creative Youth Development in Boston, March 27-29, 2014. Together more than 200 leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers, and youth drafted "Collective Action for Youth: An Agenda for Progress through Creative Youth Development," a policy and advocacy agenda to be implemented at the local, state, and national levels.

"Collective Action for Youth" articulates the purpose and value of a maturing field of practice called creative youth development; asserts its place as central to ensuring young people’s academic, professional, and personal success; and identifies five key imperatives for catalyzing on the work of creative youth development programs nationwide and the impact they have on students, families, and communities.

Calling for expanded public and philanthropic support, the five key imperatives are to:

  • Position creative youth development as the catalyst for dynamic cross-sector collaborations.

  • Establish young people and their creative youth development programs as key leaders in discovering and developing opportunities to improve the livability and economic viability of their communities.

  • Develop and deepen opportunities for young people to create a more just and equitable society.

  • Document and boldly communicate the vital impact and experience of creative youth development.

  • Support and advocate for a strong creative youth development sector with effective business models, new revenue sources, and partnerships that generate adequate funding and sustain the sector.

"Out-of-school time and community-based programs in the arts, humanities, and sciences are untapped national assets with great potential to connect youth to their communities," the report states. "Expanding the reach and impact of the creative youth development sector should be a national priority."

Summit participants unveiled the agenda Saturday at Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, where they heard a recording of JFK’s famous 1963 speech on the importance of the arts to America’s future. Those historic sentiments were echoed by US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who championed the Summit and its objectives via video from Washington, calling arts and culture “one measure of who we are as a people.”

The Summit was presented by the Mass Cultural Council in partnership with the National Guild for Community Arts Education and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Participants also included officials from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The event was organized to capitalize on new research documenting the growing importance of creativity in the lives of young people and their communities across the United States. The Summit partners will work with other local, state, and national organizations to advance the agenda in Massachusetts and nationally.

Media Contacts:

Greg Liakos, Mass Cultural Council

Heather Ikemire, National Guild for Community Arts Education
212-268-3337 x10

Kimber Craine, President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities


National Summit on Creative Youth Development. Unite. Celebrate. Activate.

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