Destiny Arts Center provides creative development to young people based in movement arts, including but not limited to dance, martial arts, and other performance or movement-based art forms—both in and out of school time—throughout the Bay Area. In 2016, Destiny Arts Center partnered with Informing Change to develop a theory of change which outlines Destiny Arts Center’s target constituents, strategies, and anticipated short- and long-term outcomes as results of those strategies.
We used an evaluation of Destiny Arts Center’s Artists-at-School Residency program at Havenscourt, Oakland, as an entrypoint to testing this theory of change, drawing on data collected from students, classroom teachers, and Teaching Artists. One of many programs at Destiny Arts Center, the Artists-at-School Residency brings creative youth development curriculum to classroom settings, where Teaching Artists convene students one to five times per week as part of their school year-long residency.
Evaluating this program served as a pilot both for collecting and making meaning of these data, as well as for the Artists-at-School Residency model itself. We learned that Teaching Artists in the Artists-at-School Residency lay vital groundwork for students to safely take creative risks and express themselves, indicating that the Destiny Arts Center model shows great promise for promoting the resilience and social-emotional learning necessary for students to grow and contribute positively to their communities.