National Summit on Creative Youth Development Logo

The Imperative

The field of out-of-school youth development based in the arts, humanities, and science learning—creative youth development—is coming of age. The body of knowledge about the work is growing, and a national community of practice is emerging. These efforts to build the field, however, are nascent and decentralized. This gathering is an important step in organizing the field in order to more effectively advocate for its viability, to increase communication within the field, and to encourage greater dialogue between the field and related sectors.

The immediate measure of success is to leave the Summit with a concise, action-oriented policy agenda for the field, one for which we can all advocate and enact at the local, state, and national levels. Long-term success will be defined by the extent to which we are able to enact this policy agenda.

Participants Your unique perspective and experience is critical.
The summit will include 200 invited individuals from across the nation, selected to represent a geographically, racially, and culturally diverse range of communities. We will include practitioners and young people working in both traditional art forms and new media, and a mix of both seasoned professionals and emerging leaders. We will also include funders and policy makers from this sector and beyond.

Why Boston? Why Now?
The National Summit and accompanying research are part of a set of activities marking 20 years of Massachusetts’ public investment in the creative potential of young people. Since 1994, Massachusetts Cultural Council’s YouthReach Initiative has funded rigorous programs that bring substantive out-of-school arts programs to young people in need—youth at risk of not making the successful transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Through YouthReach nearly $10 million has been granted to 120 organizations, reaching over 40,000 vulnerable young people, their families, and their communities.