Our Model

EPACENTER practices Creative Youth Development (CYD) as its approach to youth engagement. CYD is an intentional, holistic practice that combines hands-on artmaking and skill-building in the arts with the development of life skills to support young people in successfully participating in adolescence and navigating into adulthood. [The rise of creative youth development, Arts Education Policy Review, 118:1, 1-18,DOI: 10.1080/10632913.2015.1064051]

Young people in CYD programs exhibit high levels of artistic skill and accomplishment along with increased self-esteem and sense of belonging. These programs approach young people as active agents of their own change, with inherent strengths and skills to be developed and nurtured.

Effective CYD Programs:

  • Provide Safe and Healthy Youth Spaces
  • Focus on the Assets Youth Bring to the Table
  • Foster the Development of Positive Relationships and Social Skills
  • Develop Youth-Driven Programming
  • Set High Expectations for Growth and Learning
  • Address the Broader Context in which Youth Development Operates and Connect them to Other Providers

We offer five key areas of programming to achieve our goals:

  • Arts Education: Builds students’ creative thinking skills through high-quality classes, workshops, studio sessions, and boot camps in every art form
  • Interdisciplinary Instruction: Builds students’ ability to apply their creative skills along with the core subjects of science, technology, engineering, math, and environmentalism (E-STEAM)
  • Workforce Development: Builds students’ economic resilience through workforce development programs in sectors that fuel the creative economy, entrepreneurial programs that help them launch creative enterprises, and apprenticeships with professionals in their field on productions, festivals, public performances, and commissioned art projects
  • Civic Engagement: Builds students’ sense of place through public works and community service projects in their own community
  • Therapy & Mental Health: Builds socio-emotional resilience in youth through art therapy, music therapy, and drama therapy programs