In 2008, five nationally recognized youth arts organizations gathered around “a common desire to measure and share, with each other as well as our funders, what we believed was happening in our studios.” In April, the result of their thousands of hours of research, discussions, experimentation, and analysis were released in two volumes: The Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project Handbook and Workbook.
The five collaborators—Hyde Square Task Force, Medicine Wheel Productions, Raw Art Works, The Theater Offensive, and ZUMIX—represent a range of artistic disciplines and a diverse set of program participants, community contexts, and program models. Their work is united, however, in a common framework that captures the breadth, depth, and nuance of arts-based youth development programming.
“The release of the framework, tools, and other resources in these publications will be a significant contribution to the field, across our state and nationally,” according to MCC YouthReach Program Manager H. Mark Smith.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a longtime investor in all five collaborating partners through its Cultural Investment Portfolio and the YouthReach Initiative. The Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project collaboration was funded by the Barr Foundation and the publications are available for free download at the project’s website.