Guerrero, R. “In the Face of the Unprecedented: Creative Youth Development Guides Organizations to Adapt, Support and Thrive.” Arts Education Policy Review, (2021): 1-8.


The abstract for this article is available on the Taylor & Francis Online website.

Supports for the Findings:

This is a case study of representatives of three Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations, relating to their experiences in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting the shifting needs of the youths that they serve. To document their experiences and response strategies as they developed, participants from each organization were interviewed twice: once early in the pandemic, and again, several months later. Participant experiences were analyzed in relation to CYD core principles, and findings indicate that while facing the need to significantly reshape their programming in response to the pandemic, the organizations’ focus on these values was strengthened rather than compromised. In addition to highlighting positive outcomes, the study outlines challenges associated with these experiences, particularly as they relate to the ongoing need for stronger infrastructure.

Implications of the Findings:

The findings of this study may be particularly useful to arts education practice in CYD-focused organizations, as they offer useful tools and considerations that may guide instructional practice and program leadership. First, the findings demonstrate the utility of CYD core principles as a guiding philosophy that allows organizations to maintain and strengthen their mission in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Examples of each organization’s shifts in practice in response to the pandemic ― for example, inviting students to participate as advisors in program planning or experimenting with methods for more individualized music instruction — may also be useful considerations for other organizations to adapt for their own purposes. In addition, the author draws on the challenges outlined in the findings to offer several specific action steps that CYD organizations might consider in strengthening their infrastructure long term.

Limitations of the Findings:

The study’s primary limitation is its small sample size, as it focuses on the experiences of leaders of just three arts organizations. However, the research was focused on understanding the experiences, reflections and learnings of these organizational leaders, rather than documenting and measuring specific program outcomes. With this focus on the sharing of information and experiences, the study presents concrete considerations for CYD program design and planning that may be broadly useful.


*This article is part of an expedited review cycle that AEP conducted in the spring of 2021. Members of the ArtsEdSearch Review Panel provided the content (edited by AEP staff) in this summary.