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Setting the Stage: Practical Ideas for Implementing High-Quality Afterschool Arts Programs

Youth benefit from involvement in the arts but youth in historically marginalized communities and under resourced communities often have fewer opportunities to engage in high-quality arts programming due to cuts in arts education that disproportionately affect their schools.  This report shares lessons learned from five afterschool organizations that sought to close this gap by creating new arts programs and increasing the quality of their existing arts programming at a cost that was sustainable and scalable.  Research for Action followed the implementation of the Youth Arts Initiative in five Boys and Girls Clubs between 2019-2021.  Clubs invested in hiring professional teaching artists, purchasing high-quality equipment and materials, and creating safe and welcoming art spaces.  The report finds that while creating high-quality arts programming does require an investment of resources, Clubs identified strategies to cut costs and learned lessons about what works and what doesn’t work in providing high-quality arts experiences.