NORTHAMPTON, MA – The National Endowment of the Arts recently awarded a $60,000 grant to the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) to expand art opportunities for youth involved in the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS). The Artists in Juvenile Justice Initiative will bring performance, digital media, and visual arts to DYS classrooms around the state.
“We are thrilled to receive this funding so we can provide our students with the opportunity to work with artists and engage in learning through the arts,” said Woody Clift, the Director of DYS Programs at CES.
Throughout the initiative, artists from four organizations (Performance Project, Actors Shakespeare Project, Merill Comeau Fiber Arts, and This World Music) will work with DYS teachers in classroom-based residencies to develop arts educational programming.
Over a hundred students in 10 DYS facilities will participate in the program. Final projects include four murals, two plays, and four drumming performances.
Clift said that the initiative will also help DYS students develop vital 21st century skills including creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication.
The program “will increase the likelihood that our students, who are among the most vulnerable of the Commonwealth, will return to their communities with a newfound understanding of their potential, sustain the gains they made under our care, and prosper,” he said.
CES partners with Commonwealth Corporation and DYS to provide high-quality educational and employability services to youth.