Dedicated to fostering creative partnerships that use art to benefit community



Measured Pro-Social Developments
After Participating in a Quality Art Program:

The most complete and well-designed analysis of arts education, and the effect this has on a population’s pro-social development,  comes from the YouthARTS Development Project, a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and local governmental and nonprofit entities in three cities. The study encompassed arts-based prevention and intervention programs in Atlanta, San Antonio, and Portland, Oregon that share a common focus on reducing the risk factors for antisocial behavior (e.g. social alienation, early school failure) and increasing the protective factors that help youths stay out of trouble (e.g. positive peer associations, communications skills). Ultimately, these outcomes were expected to result in reduced delinquent and criminal behavior.  The detailed evaluation report of the YouthARTS program was published in November 2000, and suggested the programs had a variety of positive impacts on youth attitudes and behaviors.

In respect to criminal activity, highlights include:

  • In Portland, only 22 percent of the arts program participants had a new court referral compared to 47 percent of the comparison youth. The level and type of offense committed during the program period were less severe than prior offenses.

  • In Atlanta, despite the fact that the arts program participants had, on average, more court referrals than the other groups at the start of the program (7.1, vs. 6.9 (San Antonio) and 2.2 (Portal) referrals, respectively, they had, on average, fewer court referrals during the program period than the comparison group (1.3 and 2.0 respectively). Moreover, a smaller proportion of the arts participants committed new offenses during the program period than the control group (50 percent vs. 78.6 percent).

  • In San Antonio, where the program focused on pre-adolescents (10 to 12 years of age), only 3.5% of participants committed a delinquent offense in the 22 months following program completion.


Pro-Social Developments After Participating in a Quality Art Program:

• Better discipline
• Increased self-esteem
• Reduced truancy
• Better relations with adults
• More hope for the future
• Increased motivation
• More positive peer associations
• Less interest in drugs
• More resistant to peer pressure
• Reduced criminal activities


.Zenith Community Arts Foundation     1429 Iris Street, NW, Washington DC  20012    202-783-8005    zenithcommunityarts@zcaf.org