Designed to stimulate learning, inspire creativity, and encourage self-expression among underserved youth, the organization's Youth Arts Initiative is based on ten principles of high-quality arts programming laid out in the Wallace Foundation report Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts. Programming delivered through the initiative eventually will include professional artist guides, newly designed studio spaces, state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and public events. In conjunction with Youth Art Month, initial programs were launched at clubs in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
The grant represents the initial portion of an $11.9 million, four-and-a-half year commitment from Wallace, with the rest of the funding contingent on the satisfactory completion of already funded work. Wallace has commissioned an independent evaluation of the initiative from Philadelphia-based Research for Action that will be shared with others in the youth development field.
"Young people who participate in the arts are more likely to succeed in everything from learning to life, yet access to quality arts education continues to decline, especially for the youth that clubs serve," said BGCA president and CEO Jim Clark. "Through our partnership with the Wallace Foundation, we are expanding access to these vital arts experiences for children from disadvantaged circumstances, thus helping to level the playing field for their future success."