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Home > Programs > Key Initiatives > Creative Youth Development

Creative Youth Development

Creative youth development is a recently coined term that organizes a longstanding community of practice that intentionally integrates the arts, sciences, and humanities with youth development principles, sparking young people’s creativity and building critical learning and life skills that carry into adulthood.

CYD National Partnership

The National Guild for Community Arts Education, Massachusetts Cultural Council, The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Americans for the Arts together have formed the Creative Youth Development National Partnership. These four organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their joint commitment to advancing creative youth development (CYD) as a field of practice nationwide.

This new coalition is collaborating to organize and accelerate the CYD movement through a collective impact strategy with a common agenda, shared systems and activities, cross-sector engagement, and continuous communications. The Partnership aims to strengthen community-based organizations working in youth development and the arts, sciences, and humanities; develop and support adult practitioners in the field; and benefit youth by increasing access to CYD opportunities throughout the United States.

Learn more about the CYD National Partnership at

The Rise of Creative Youth Development

This article, which appeared in Arts Education Policy Review, provides a definition for the term creative youth development, describes core characteristics of CYD programs, and briefly describes four CYD programs. It provides background on the origins and history of the field, including current advances and signs the field is coalescing. The article describes CYD in the larger contexts of arts education and of education reform, and discusses policy, funding, and research needs and opportunities.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Arts Education Policy Review on June 16, 2016.

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Guild Awarded $100,000 NEA Grant for CYD


The National Guild for Community Arts Education, on behalf of a coalition of national partners, has been awarded an NEA Art Works grant for $100,000. The award will support a collective impact initiative and the creation of the first-ever blueprint to advance creative youth development (CYD).

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National Blog Salon on Creative Youth Development

National Guild representatives participated in Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog Salon on CYD. Guild executive director Jonathan Herman discusses how the field is Getting Organized. And director of program and membership strategy Heather Ikemire shares ways CYD is gaining traction and discusses how you can help advance this important work. Guild trustees Jon Hinojosa and Sarah Cunningham also joined the conversation to talk about the need for new funding strategies and strategic partnerships.

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Key Resources

Engaging Adolescents Guidebook: Building Youth Participation in the Arts. Published by the National Guild, 2011.

NEA Arts Education Webinar: The Past, Current and Future Needs of Youth Arts Organizations Using Data to Inform Program Impact.

"Creative Youth Development Movement Takes Hold" (Full version). An abridged version of this article was published in GuildNotes, Issue 2, 2014 (Abridged version).

In March 2014, over 200 youth arts practitioners, funders, policymakers, and students convened in Boston for the first-ever National Summit on Creative Youth Development, co-hosted by the National Guild, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.


Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts. Denise Montgomery, Peter Rogovin, and Nero Persaud. Published by The Wallace Foundation, 2013.

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To learn more, please contact Heather Ikemire, director of program and membership strategy, at (212) 268-3337 x10 or at

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.