EVERY CHILD BRINGS PROMISE OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE AND THE POTENTIAL TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
Young Audiences of Houston's Arts-Promise initiative specifically supports students who struggle in traditional education settings. Often they are creative and inventive learners who need a vehicle for their own inspiration through the arts. We partner with administrators, parents, and educators to guarantee that support is broad and multifaceted, while leveraging funding not available within the community to ensure the arts are sustained to support their development.
Arts-Promise was created to specifically address the needs of at-risk youth in the Houston area by providing them with creative tools to encourage positive life choices. Through trained artists who are passionate about working with youth, teens are given a sense of hope. Studies have shown that participation in the arts deters youth from engaging in criminal activity; furthermore, teens involved in art programs are more likely to stay in school and graduate high school.
The arts can be a powerful tool to engage at-risk youth, enhance creative thinking and problem solving skills, provide opportunities to make creative contributions, and be recognized in a positive way for those contributions. Additionally, the arts promote positive peer/mentor relationships by creating a working environment with clear roles and responsibilities, allowing creative expressions in a safe and supportive environment.
The initiative focuses on:
•Developing and improving artistic skills
•Expressing anger appropriately
•Effectively communicating with peers and adults
•Cooperating and collaborating with others
•Increasing levels of participation
•Completing tasks from beginning to end
•Recognizing new competencies
The participants’ newly built self-confidence and motivation are best related through narratives from the participants themselves. A past participant wrote to us and said “…I have made new friends in the arts program and can see that it helps them out in many of the same ways it helps me. I feel lucky to be a part of the program because kids like me normally do not get this type of stuff. I hope the art program will be here in the future so more students are able to learn.”
Testimonials from administrators illustrate that Arts-Promise programs have been particularly impactful in juvenile probation spaces. One officer shared that "the youths enjoyed the summer programming and gave positive feedback. They called it a wonderful experience and enjoyed being able to express themselves through art [and] during acts and scenes... . [One] also stated that he would continue this type of activity after release."
Arts-Promise programs are not only generative for participants but for teaching artists as well. One teaching artist spoke reported that "[the program] allowed youth artists to engage in the entire process of planning and executing a large-scale commission. This real-world experience mirrored the reality of planning, preparation, execution and coordination of agencies that exist in post-academic work. The teens experienced ownership of the work, expressing profound pride in their participation and reflecting on the memory of the staffer to whom it was dedicated. For me as a teaching artist, this project stands out as one in which the best of all outcomes came to pass: it was personally and professionally very moving to work with the youth artists and their advisers on a such a poignant work of art."