Philosophy for BYAEP

We help youth see themselves:

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

        --ee cummings

We Do this through Creating:

“Esthetic perceiving and creating and esthetic peak experiences are seen to be central aspects of human life and of psychology and education rather than a peripheral one.  This is true for several reasons:

  1. (1)  All the peak-experiences are (among other characteristics) integrative of the splits within the person, between persons, within the world, and between the person and the world.  Since one aspect of health is integration, the peak-experiences are moves toward healthy and are themselves, momentary healths.

  2. (2)These experiences are life-validating i.e., they make life worthwhile.” 

  3. --Abraham Maslow, Towards a Psychology of Being


We help youth Differentiate, Integrate, and find flow

“A person who is fully differentiated and integrated becomes a complex individual—one who has the best chance at leading a happy, vital, and meaningful life.”  “Differentiation: Realizing that we are unique individuals, responsible for our own survival and well-being, who are willing to develop this uniqueness wherever it leads.  Integration:  No matter how unique, we are also completely immeshed in networks of relationships with other human beings, cultural symbols and artifacts, and with the surrounding natural environment.” 

        --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Good Business: Leadership. Flow, and the Making of Meaning


what our youth say

(and why Youth Arts evaluatIon is Important and complex):

“When you are creating art you can touch upon that true sense of yourself, and bring it outside of yourself through the art, so that it's tangible. That gives you a sense of deep satisfaction--but it's more than satisfaction.  At our highest levels of thought, we know who we really are, but that knowledge is often overwhelmed by what's happening in our lives, the day to day trials of existence.  Through art we can grasp that sense of higher self, make it tangible, manifest it in the art, which then proves or reinforces that true, higher self.  So, it's not just a thought anymore, it's a physical manifestation.  It's a discovery of something you already knew was there.  But the art, the thing, serves as a reminder of who you really are.  The event of creating at that high level is a profound moment; it needs to be revisited, you have to keep creating."  

        --Jake Riley, age 18, Medicine Wheel Visionary, 5/26/09