Activating Arts Learning:
A Theory of Change

Our Activating Arts Learning framework is a high-level overview that shows how a set of smaller steps can lead to a big impact on individuals and the community. We developed the framework to examine how arts learning can transform young people’s lives and what supports need to be in place for arts learning to make a difference for all young people—regardless of appearance, ability, income, or where they live.

How to read the poster

Activating Arts Learning is organized into three sections: Youth Outcomes, Elements of Instruction, and Environmental Factors.

  • Youth Outcomes are the changes in young people’s perceptions, beliefs, understandings, and skills that can result from sustained participation in the arts. It’s the learning they take away from those experiences and carry with them in their everyday lives.
  • Elements of Instruction are the teaching techniques, strategies, and resources that instructors draw upon in the moment as they engage young people in powerful and personally relevant arts learning experiences.
  • Environmental Factors are the surrounding ecosystems of supports and resources that make it possible for young people to participate in rich and meaningful arts learning experiences both in and out of school.

Applying the Framework

Even when designing for a poster-size format, we still ran into limits on how much information could fit comfortably in the printed version. That’s why we created this online space centered around the Activating Arts Learning framework. We hope it will serve as an evolving platform for sharing supplemental information, connecting with related resources, and amplifying additional voices and perspectives.

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