​​​​The Problem

Meaningful and ongoing experiences with the arts are unavailable to too many children and teens.   

​​How We Are Tackling It

Since 2005, Wallace has been working to develop ways to engage more young people in high-quality arts learning during the school day and beyond. We seek to strengthen both classroom arts instruction and less formal arts experiences, and, through this work, aim to generate information and insights to help policymakers, arts professionals and others in efforts to improve and expand arts learning for the young.

Our arts education strategy has had two parts:

Working with school districts to improve, expand and equitably distribute arts instruction.
Helping national youth-serving organizations provide affordable, high-quality arts opportunities, both afterschool and over the summer, in communities where such opportunities are scarce.

From 2005 to 2014 Wallace supported Dallas’s Thriving Minds effort, which successfully knit together the work of groups including school districts, city agencies and cultural organizations to bring more arts opportunities to the city’s young people. Thriving Minds emerged as a national model of a coordinated approach to improving arts learning. In 2009, Wallace also began supporting Boston Public Schools’ Arts Expansion Initiative, a citywide public-private partnership to expand high-quality arts education in the classroom.

In 2014, Wallace launched the Youth Arts Initiative, which supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in providing innovative, high-quality afterschool and summer arts programming to young people in their middle-school years. In select Boys & Girls Clubs in three communities—two clubhouses each in Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wis., and St. Cloud in neighboring Minnesota—the initiative rolled out arts programs that are based on principles of high-quality arts programming described in a 2013 Wallace-commissioned report, Something to Say. The second phase of that effort, at work in Austin, Atlanta, Knoxville, Orlando/Central Florida and New York City, launched in 2019.​