“Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind”
– Louise Nevelson
For many young people, the transition from adolescence to adulthood can be difficult. When overcoming such challenges as disability, violence, and poverty, these youth need an environment that will structure and support their intellectual and creative development.
Afterschool and out-of-school programs can help fill this void. Across Massachusetts, nonprofit cultural organizations and human service agencies are providing at-risk youth with in-depth experiences in arts and culture. Whether it’s linking a high school dropout to a teaching artist, or introducing an incarcerated teen to Shakespeare, these programs find innovative ways to inspire positive growth. Activities take place outside of the school, after regular school hours, in the summer, or on weekends – in times and places where kids most need constructive activities.
The MCC’s YouthReach Initiative promotes out-of-school arts, humanities and science opportunities that nurture the spirit of creative inquiry in young people by:
- Providing young people with in-depth arts, humanities, or interpretive science experiences that create opportunities to interact directly with practicing artists, humanists and scientists, and to develop techniques or skills for creative inquiry.
- Demonstrating a clear understanding of young people in need.
- Demonstrating a clear ability to infuse arts, humanities, or science learning programs with the principles of youth development.
- Marshaling the resources of the community and fostering substantive collaboration between cultural organizations and other community institutions addressing young people in need.
YouthReach encourages collaboration between cultural organizations,
human service agencies and other organizations. The primary applicant
for a YouthReach project must be a nonprofit cultural organization
or an organization having a strong programming history in the proposal's
primary discipline. For information
on applying, please see the application instructions.
In March 2014, the MCC convened the first-ever National Summit on Creative Youth Development to mark 20 years of Massachusetts’ public investment in the creative potential of young people. Out of that summit grew a partnership between the MCC, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Americans for the Arts and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities that is focused on advancing the field at a national level. More information can be found at www.creativeyouthdevelopment.org.
Through YouthReach more than $12 million has been granted to 120 organizations over the past 22 years, reaching over 40,000 vulnerable young people, their families, and their communities. The YouthReach Initiative has been supported since its inception
with grants from the National
Endowment for the Arts. YouthReach is a model program that has
received national recognition, with many projects cited for excellence
by the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards awards given by the President's Committee on the Arts
and Humanities. In November 1998, the YouthReach Initiative was
honored by the National
Assembly of State Arts Agencies with the first annual Innovation
Award, which recognizes "best practices among state arts agencies.”
YouthReach is a part of the MCC's Creative