DreamYard is a bold arts education effort committed to helping transform Bronx public schools and communities through the power of collaborative, project-based arts learning. As one of the largest arts education providers in the Bronx, DreamYard impacts the social and intellectual growth of thousands of Bronx youth through safe, positive, and creatively challenging programs. DreamYard’s team of professional artists partner with classroom teachers and community educators to help students learn in new ways and develop literacy and communication skills through yearlong programs offered during the school day, after-school, on weekends, and during the summer.

WolfBrown worked with the program staff, teaching artists, and schools that comprise DreamYard on a participatory evaluation project. At the heart of this project was developing a set of strategies to help the organization step back, reflect on, and strengthen its current practices and programs. This effort had three components. First, it involved artists in looking at whether their work was affecting whether and how children used their imaginations in the hours outside of residencies. Second, DreamYard artists and program staff joined a set of national conversations with similar organizations, examining how to document and communicate how programs contribute to young people’s lives. Finally, in collaboration with Metis Associates in New York City, WolfBrown and DreamYard participants worked on a set of tools designed to capture the many ways in which arts programming was spreading across grades and different aspects of learning at participating schools (classes, electives, after-school programs, etc.)

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