Boys and Girls Clubs Do Have to Change to Run Quality Arts Programs, Wallace Study Finds
Remember doing art projects with construction paper and Elmer’s Glue? We’ve all had that experience, but we know it usually doesn’t constitute a top-notch art program.
Many after-school providers would like to expand their arts activities into high-quality arts programming. But many feel the challenge is too great and some may feel it’s entirely undoable.
The Wallace Foundation begs to differ. And so do the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
Beginning in 2014, the Milwaukee organization took part in a Wallace-funded project to hire professional teaching artists and test the best practices formulated by Wallace in 2013.Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee created a dance program and a mural painting program at one club site and a drawing class and videography class at another site.
Three of those programs are still going strong today.
One of the lessons learned is to hire professional artists who are both skilled in their field and already know how to work with the kids, said Laketta Caldwell, director of the arts at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. Some teaching artists “just weren’t a good fit,” she said. Artists have to be able to develop a relationship with youth in order to teach effectively, she said.
A Wallace Foundation report released in October, “Raising the Barre and Stretching the Canvas: Implementing High-Quality Arts Programming in a National Youth Serving Organization,” examined how large multipurpose youth organizations can best implement such programs. The goal is to offer high-quality arts experiences in after-school programs serving low-income youth who would not otherwise not have access to them...