Kresge Foundations College/Arts Initiative has awarded Maryland Institute College of Art
(MICA) a two-year, $200,000 grant to expand the reach of the Colleges Community Arts Partnerships (CAP) program and to determine a tangible, quantifiable link between community arts activity and the seemingly intangible outcomes of hope, well-being and engagement. The grant will fund four to six new community partnerships for CAP, which links art students interested in community engagement with low-income communities, serving an additional 100 to 175 inner-city residents. The College/Arts Initiative grant also will provide seed funding for MICAs partnership with the Gallup Student Poll on data collection and analysis, seeking to generate findings that will support the work of community arts practitioners.
Through the project Community Arts Partnership: Making a Difference, Measuring Impact, MICA and Gallup will survey 600 young people currently being served in MICA-sponsored community arts programs with the goal of measuring the programs positive impact on the lives of children and youth. Such findings will help make the case that art making has a positive effect on hope and well-being, which in turn has a positive impact on achievement and success. Foundations, schools, universities and youth-serving organizations can use these findings to prioritize and invest in arts-based community programs.
Community arts practitioners understand intuitively, but struggle to quantify, the value of their work in communities. In conversations with seasoned community artists in Baltimore, hope, engagement, a sense of possibility and a sense of empowerment are repeatedly cited as outcomes of their work. But how is hope measured? How does hope transform lives and build communities? said J. Davidson Dusty Porter, vice president for student affairs & dean of students. As a participant in the Kresge Foundations College/Arts pilot program, MICA can answer these and other questions through collaborative evaluation, which will position the College as a leader in the field of community arts assessment.
The Gallup Student Poll has spent the past decade measuring hope, engagement and well-being in young people, grades 5 through 12, and found these to be quantifiable predictors of success. In a survey of 70,000 youth over a 10-year period, hope was found to be a more robust predictor of college success than high school GPA, SAT and ACT scores.
MICAs CAP interns run after-school art clubs at neighborhood recreation centers, teach art to elementary school students in their own classrooms, make art with adults in rehabilitation centers, or partner with the community to create murals that beautify and tell the stories of specific public spaces.
The College/Arts Initiative is in its first year and was awarded to only seven colleges nationwide. The Kresge Foundation is a national, private foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations by creating access and opportunity in underserved communities, improving the health of low-income people, supporting artistic expression, assisting in the revitalization of Detroit and advancing methods for dealing with global climate change.
Kresges nine values serve as the centerpiece of its grantmaking, focusing its decision-making and reflecting its strategic priorities. The foundations work is focused in six fields of interest: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services and community development. In 2009, the foundation awarded 404 grants and paid out $167 million.