Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts

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Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts



Denise Montgomery is a strategic affiliate and director of Next Level Strategic Marketing Group, and the founder and president of CultureThrive, a consultancy focused on organizational development, program development, audience development and communications for arts and cultural organizations. Her clients have included the Australia Council for the Arts, La Jolla Playhouse, Nevada Humanities, National Performing Arts Convention and WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation), among others. Montgomery has held leadership positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, as Director of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) and as Executive Director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts. Montgomery holds a B.S. in marketing and minor in art history from Miami University of Ohio and was a fellow with the Stanford University National Arts Strategies program for arts leaders in 2005.


Peter Rogovin is the founder and managing director of Next Level Strategic Marketing Group. He has over 20 years of experience as a marketer and consultant, building brands and developing marketing and business strategies for clients including Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, Whirlpool, Acxiom, Bell Canada, UGI, Fortune Brands, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Philips Healthcare and The Art Institute of Chicago. Rogovin was previously director, Vivaldi Partners, a marketing consultancy in New York where he headed up the leisure and not-for-profit practices. Prior to Vivaldi, Rogovin was vice president, marketing and brand operations, for Starwood Hotels and Resorts where he was responsible for building Four Points by Sheraton and Westin brands. Rogovin holds a B.A. in economics from Brandeis University and an M.B.A. in marketing and finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Neromanie R. Persaud is a strategic affiliate of Next Level SMG. Her career as a strategic marketer includes over 15 years creating and refining brand strategy, communications platforms and market research programs for a range of client organizations across industry categories. These include Bell Canada, The Conference Board, The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Hewlett-Packard, Kaiser Permanente, NYC Department of Health, The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Scholastic, Tata Group and Whirlpool. In recent years, Neromanie's work has focused on public and nonprofit sectors, and specifically youth-serving organizations and initiatives. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and political science.


We are grateful to The Wallace Foundation for underwriting this research and for the visionary support of Daniel Windham, Wallace's director of arts, who recognized the need to reframe the approach to engaging young people in the arts and spearheaded the strategy of viewing young people as active and involved consumers.

Many of Wallace's staff lent their expertise to this project. Lucas Held shepherded the development of the research report and videos. Will Miller and Edward Pauly provided valuable insights throughout the research. Pam Mendels, Dan Browne, Claudia DeMegret, Hilary Rhodes and Nina Sonenberg provided thoughtful editorial feedback, and José Moreno, who designed the report, helped convey the essence of research with bold visuals. We also appreciate everything that Ramona Providence and Reena Geevarghese did throughout the project to keep us organized and on schedule.

A special thank you to Ken Cole, Jonathan Herman and Heather Ikemire at the National Guild for Community Arts Education for their partnership in launching and disseminating the research report, and to Angie Cannon and Megan Cotten at The Hatcher Group for helping to publicize the report's launch.

Nellie Gregorian and William Sandy and their staff of researchers, facilitators and social anthropologists at Fluent, our research partner, did an outstanding job coordinating youth and caregiver research, facilitating groups and conducting interviews. We thank Jim Clark, Judith J. Pickens, Kimberly Boyd and Valerie Heron-Duranti of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Neil Nicoll and Tony Ganger of the Y-USA for their determined leadership and support throughout the project. We are also grateful to Joanna Massey, formerly of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Christin Baker of Y-USA who helped coordinate much of the teen focus group research.

We are deeply appreciative of Anne Field's work as primary editor of this written report as well as important editing contributions from H.J. Cummins. Thanks also to Wil Weldon of Growler Visual Media for filming and editing the Something to Say videos and to Ruth Mott for generously lending her time and expertly producing the video series.

Thank you to all of the researchers and opinion leaders who generously shared their expertise and experiences in working with and researching youth and the arts, including Gigi Antoni, David Bickel, Ken Cole, Dr. Michael Cole, Dr. Jessica Davis, Dr. Robert Halpern, Dr. Shirley Brice Heath, Adelma Roach Hnasko, Mary Hofstedt, Dr. Reed Larson, Dr. Rebecca London, Nancy Mancini, Dr. Gil Noam, Dr. Terry Peterson, Tia Quinn, Nick Rabkin, Eugene Roehlkepartain, Karena Salmond, H. Mark Smith, Elisabeth Soep, Traci Slater-Rigaud, Steven Tepper, Jason Yoon and Nicole Yohalem, and to all of their assistants who worked with us to schedule interviews.

Thanks also to the following practitioners and leaders at multipurpose youth organizations who lent their perspectives and insights to the project through interviews, including Tony Brown, Nara Hernandez, Abraham Orozco, and Christine Witkowski of Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA); Rafael Flores and Luiz Guevara of Youth UpRising; and Marie Moll of Latin American Youth Center (LAYC-DC).

Thanks also to everyone at the organizations who spent time with us and who helped make our research possible, including: Erin Archuleta and Ryan Lewis at 826 National; Joan Kim and Scott Seeley at 826NYC; Emilie Coulson, Ian Evans and Jorge Eduardo Garcia at 826 Valencia; Marie Elcin, Anne Harrison, Rocky Kev, Magda Martinez and Liana Moskowitz at Fleisher Art Memorial and Matthew Braun, formerly of Fleisher Art Memorial; Russell Baker, Jackie Oliver and Liz Salganek at National Dance Institute of New Mexico; Jeannette Claassen, Elizabeth Cushing, Eunice Dunham, Max Fripp, David Gallagher and Joe Kelley of Playworks; Brad Fesmire and Rebekah Speck at RiverzEdge Arts Project; Jon Hinojosa, Thomas Hopkins, Anita Moreno-Navarro, Mike Schroeder, Joel Settles, Guillermina Zabala and Ned Meneses at SAY Sí; Frank Feldman, Chris Manfre, Matt Mateus, Shannalee Otanez, Virginia Pearce, Josh Samson, Koffi Sessi, Adam Sherlock and Kasandra VerBrugghen at Spy Hop; and James Kass, Hodari Davis and Dennis Kim at Youth Speaks.

We are also deeply indebted to the parents and caregivers of tweens and teens for participating in our research and sharing their personal stories and insights.

Lastly, we are grateful to the young people who spoke with us throughout this project in focus groups and visits to their homes and at the youth development arts organizations. The tweens and teens who participated in our research let us into their worlds, sharing the dynamics of their friendships and parental relationships and their feelings and thoughts about how they spend their time. The discussions were always personal and often quite intense. They clearly had a lot to say about how they choose to spend their time, and all of the tweens and teens we encountered in this project, through research and observation, showed us that they also have much to say in their creative expression. We dedicate this report to these youth and to the people who selflessly work with them in afterschool programs of all kinds.

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