What do urban tweens want for afterschool arts programs?

Anne Sparkman  //  Nov 13, 2013

What do urban tweens want for afterschool arts programs?

Each and every day at Scholastic, we are surrounding by brilliant works of art that were each created by teens through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned that and that’s because it is just so cool and unique! The Awards draw thousands of students from across the country to submit (call for submissions is open now by the way) and they come from every type of artistic background. We have public and private school students, home-schooled students, artists and writers from abroad, as well as students who find their artistic outlet through programs outside of school.

Afterschool and supplemental programs are an important supplier of the arts to many districts across the country. I’ve learned a bit more about them due to a study released this week from the Wallace Foundation, in partnership with researcher Next Level, and I wanted to share.  The study, Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts, sought out what tweens in urban areas look for in such programs and what aspects keep them with it.  When asked, tweens were able to get specific about how they make decisions for their commitments and the researchers say that, interestingly, their preferences are in line with expert recommendations.

The report has ten principles to share. A few of the recommendations that I found the most interesting are:

-          Students want instructors that are professional, practicing artists. And they are looking for positive relationships with their adult mentors as well as peers

-          They want the workspace to be inspiring and a safe haven

-          Tweens look for the availability of tools they wouldn’t have otherwise and they want to showcase their work publicly

You can see all of the details here. Tell us what you think and if you’ve participated in a stellar arts program. 

Image source: The Wallace Foundation