Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project
In developing the BYAEP Framework and tools, we benefited from the work of many experts past and present. Theorists that we have found inspiring include Erikson, Maslow, Gilligan, Miller, and Csikszentmihalyi. Our work was also informed by Learner and the 5 C’s, the Forum for Youth Investment, Search Asset Model, 21st Century Skills, The Community Action Framework for Youth Development, and Eliot Eisner (see Resources). We also incorporated the suggestions and opinions of Boston youth arts nonprofits and consultants throughout the nation to help focus the framework for BYAEP. We were able to begin this project with the guidance of Bill Bulick of the Portland, Oregon-based firm Creative Planning, who was pivotal in providing supervision, leadership, and expertise in the formation of our project and in co-presenting at Forum 1. We partnered with a broad array of leaders across the United States to gain feedback on the drafts of the BYAEP Framework. Valuable conversations included: Elizabeth Whitford of Arts Corps in Seattle about the Seattle Arts Education Consortium; Michael Sikes, Senior Associate in research and policy at the Arts Education Partnership; Steve Seidel, Director of Project Zero at Harvard University; and Nick Rabkin and the Teaching Artist’s Project. Dennie Palmer Wolf, Suzanne Bouffard, and Julia Gittleman were instrumental in advising us about the design and nuances of the evaluations. Special thanks to Lingjun Chen for help with the analysis of three years of Drawing Evaluations. The guidance of Tanushree Seth (from the Analysis Group of Boston) was crucial in building Microsoft Excel templates that we used to manage our data with formulas that were compatible with Survey Monkey. We are very grateful to the hard work of BYAEP interns Joanna Richardson (2009) and Maura Tighe Gattuso (2010) of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Laura Hill (2011) of Lesley University. This BYAEP Handbook would not be possible without the editing and support of Marcia Felth, with the able assistance of Ian Duncan-Brown.
Collaborators from ZUMIX, Hyde Square Task Force, Medicine Wheel Productions, The Theater Offensive, and RAW formally met over twenty times. H. Mark Smith from the Mass Cultural Council generously contributed to these meetings as our advisor. Leadership support by the Mass Cultural Council of our YouthReach programs has been instrumental in the development of our work and in the success of BYAEP.
We are grateful for Suzanne Callahan’s inspirational book Singing Our Praises: Case Studies in the Art of Evaluation, which planted the seed for BYAEP:
“The challenge for the arts field is that we may not have caused the evaluation and accountability problem, but we can and must find our own solution… what is missing from the growing body of research, however, is a commitment on the part of the arts field to gathering information on an individual basis and sharing it with others.” (2004, pp. 15-16)
We are most thankful for Klare Shaw and the Barr Foundation‘s belief in our work and its generous funding that brought this project to fruition.
Käthe Swaback, project leader of the Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project, is now employeed at Mass Cultural Council as a Creative Youth Development Program Officer. Building off the robust work of BYAEP, the further definition of the Creative Youth Development field, and the voices and visions of young people, a new generation of these tools are being developed through the Youth Arts Impact Network (YAIN) 2022 CYD Task Force. For more information contact Käthe.