What is it? Youth arts programs encourage young people to explore their creativity and learn about the arts while also benefiting or engaging more with local community issues, assets or resources. Just as art has many different forms, this kind of program can include many different aspects However, the programs help instill an appreciation for the arts and show how art can play a transformative role in community. On a broader scale, these programs also increase the availability and visibility of art throughout the community. A youth arts program can even help these youth to express things about themselves and their community they might otherwise never explore.
How has it been used? King County, Washington is home to the Nature Consortium, which hosts an extensive youth arts program. The group works in underserved communities to help develop artistic skills, as well as increase understanding and awareness of the environment. All of their classes are free and take place in community centers close to areas of subsidized housing. Their courses are quite diverse and touch on many different kinds of art, including painting, storytelling, dance, all kinds of music and origami. All of this is offered outside of school time and helps foster creativity and confidence in these children. In the end, these children are more active and engaged members of their community and can express themselves much better than before. (Source: Nature Consortium)