Giving Compass' Take:

• Art can be used as a tool to help young people tell their stories and help them learn to advocate for themselves. It can also be part of a bigger conversation about social change.

• Why are arts programs not as valued in school systems? How can art help students respond to social justice issues? 

• Learn about the States Art Action Network (SAAN), a group that is helping to save funding for the arts and push for arts education in many states. 

The great range of art we see and experience shows us how self-expression can take many different forms and how our message to the world can live in many skins. Because art encourages us to discover and express our unique selves, it can help us tap into our genius. This is especially empowering for youth, as thinking creatively is in their nature.

This is especially empowering for youth, as thinking creatively is in their nature. Young people haven’t been crushed into the “adult” way of approaching problems – typically structured, rigid, linear and (too often) unoriginal.

So how have we tapped into the full power of artistic expression and capitalized on young people's innate creativity? Unfortunately, we haven't, or at least not in a way that is holistic and meaningful.

In the field of education, young peoples’ voices have been lost. Although most efforts are geared towards supporting youth and their learning, they are often not included in the conversation. We cannot serve youth by continuing to marginalize their voices. In fact, we are limiting the potential to effectively reimagine the future of learning by excluding the most creative free thinkers and problem-solvers. Reimagine Learning's “Awakening the Mind” project sought to break this pattern by centering youth voices and giving them a platform to learn and lead.

In July of 2017, New Profit's Reimagine Learning Fund convened YouthBuild USA's Young Leaders Council in Boston for “Awakening the Mind,” a two-day summit that marked the end of a four-month journey that included online learning, sharing, and peer-to-peer learning.

Reimagine Learning engaged this group in online sessions leading up to July to prepare the young leaders to participate in the interactive summit workshops, which each highlighted how they can use art to share our stories and advocate for the change we wish to see in the world.

Read the full article about arts as an advocacy tool by Delanoe Johnson at New Profit.