Ho (2012) Out of the Box: Positive Development & Social Change Through the Arts

literature type:

other literature type


Ping Ho. In: Danah Boyd, John Palfrey, and Dena Sacco, eds. The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; 2012.


From early childhood to adolescence, the arts can foster youth movements for social change through positive development. Students who experience high levels of arts enrichment show greater academic performance, enrollment in and graduation from high school and college, civic and community service, news consumption, and engagement in local politics. Moreover, participation in the arts—even as a spectator—predicts increases in civic engagement, tolerance and altruism, regardless of age, race, or education.

One of the ways in which the arts promote positive development is through opportunities for social-emotional learning. The social-emotional value of the arts is important because these needs are central to behavior, and social-emotional skill building contributes to a healthier social and learning environment. The arts are a powerful vehicle for social-emotional learning because they have universal appeal and allow for group participation by persons of all abilities and cultures. Shared creative experiences can facilitate insight and empathy, which enable changing perceptions of self and others, social connection, and individual and collective empowerment. Furthermore, group-based arts activities can be implemented in school and recreational
settings where most youth can be found.



arts categories:

mixed-art forms
theater arts

population(s) served: