Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



The purpose of our study was to reflect on how community-based cultural arts programs have impacted academic achievement, academic performance and self-esteem among youth, aged 13 to 24 years old. Community-based cultural arts offer a creative medium through which youths direct their energy toward achieving positive social, emotional, and academic outcomes (Wright, John, Alaggia, & Sheel, 2006). Our study took an approach known as “Positive Youth Development (PYD).” According to Ersing (2009, page 27), “(PYD) is a promising approach that rejects labeling young people as “at risk” for a host of social, emotional, and behavioral problems and instead embraces a philosophy that views youths as capable individuals striving to achieve their full potential.” Focus groups included 5 adults who were leaders or staff in community-based cultural arts programs that serve youth (ages 13 to 24). Focus group members were identified based on their professional experience and roles working with youth in the local community. Results of this study may be used by participating community agencies in advocacy, marketing, and fundraising. Information will be useful for local school decision-makers, social service providers, and advocates for arts in education.

Faculty Mentor

Elizabeth Sandell