Maschi, T., Miller, J., Rowe, W., and Morgen, K. (2013). An Evaluation of a Cultural Arts Program for Youth in a Juvenile Justice Program: Technical Report. National Endowment for the Arts working paper.
Author Affiliations: Fordham University (Maschi); Community Research Center, Inc. (Miller); University of South Florida (Rowe); Centenary College (Morgen) Artforms: Media arts, music, performing arts, visual arts
Program: Prodigy Cultural Arts Program, University of South Florida
Program Description: The Prodigy Cultural Arts Program is a diversion program for youth aged 7-17 who have been adjudicated in the juvenile justice system, offering classes in the visual, performing, musical and media arts as an alternative to court. Classes are taught by master artists. The program runs for eight weeks, with youth attending three hours per week. Goals are to build pro-social skills and reduce recidivism. Prodigy also has a prevention program geared to non-offending at-risk youth in the community.
Program (Study) Location: 7 counties, West Central Florida Study Published: December 2013
Participant Type: Adjudicated and at-risk youth aged 7-17 Sample Size: 85 (53 in the intervention group)
Data Type: Mixed Method: Structured interviews, classroom monitoring tool, comparison group composed of students who had been suspended twice; pre- and post-test with standardized measures assessing social skills, mental health, risk behavior, self-regulation skills
- Changes in mental health and social skills among youth who had participated in the program versus those who had not
- Whether individual characteristics such as age, gender, race and ethnicity are related to any changes in mental health symptoms and social skills
- What mental health variables and social skills are more and less likely to be positively influenced by the art programming
Summary of Impact: Trends towards improvement (especially in females) but no significant differences in pre- and post-test between groups in social skills or mental health improvement. The authors conclude that “a short term art program impact on social skills and mental health is modest at best” (p. 31). They speculate findings may have been the result of sample size and/or selection bias.
KEYWORDS: identity, juvenile, media arts, mental health, music, performing arts, Prodigy Cultural Arts Program, risk behavior, self-regulation, social skills, visual arts, youth