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What’s New: Early findings from New Victory’s landmark research study on the impact of performing arts featured in National Endowment for the Arts latest report. See why the performing arts matter.

Arts Impact on Kids

A New Victory Teaching Artist leads students in a classroom workshop

Learn about how The New Victory Theater is spearheading a groundbreaking study to evaluate the impact of performing arts on kids.

New Victory has been solely dedicated to family audiences since 1995. Through robust school partnerships that serve 40,000 NYC students from Pre-K through 12th Grade, New Victory has witnessed the performing arts’ powerful ability to inspire and ultimately change the lives of young people.

While much of the existing research on arts education focuses on outcomes distant from the arts, such as attendance and grades, New Victory set out to discover how arts engagement impacts children’s social-emotional development.

The Team

Under the leadership of Lindsey Buller Maliekel, New Victory Director of Education, Public Engagement, the theater partnered with Dennie Palmer Wolf, Steven Holochwost and Alan Brown from the research firm Wolf/Brown to develop a rigorous research protocol investigating the intrinsic impact of the arts on youth.

The Students

New Victory identified under-resourced schools with no arts teachers or arts programming to establish a multi-year residency program called New Victory SPARK, led by Courtney J. Boddie, Director of Education, School Engagement.

By creating a community where impact data is directly linked to New Victory arts engagement as opposed to other arts experiences, New Victory SPARK was able to collect data from students who experienced nine performances and participated in 45 pre-show workshops over three years, while maintaining a control group from the same student body

The research tools and outcomes will have a profound and lasting resonance in the performing arts, and we’re beginning to share some of that information with the fields of theater for young audiences and arts education.

The Study

Through qualitative assessments and a variety of tools including classroom observations, post-show surveys and student self-reporting, New Victory measured the following impacts:

  • Aesthetic Growth –  an appreciation for artistry the children had never seen before
  • Motivation To Action – the impulse to want to try new things
  • Social Bridging – an appreciation of someone’s life that is different from their own
  • Personal Relevance –the capacity for self-reflection

Early Findings: Cultivating Hope

New Victory’s study is currently under review with results projected for Fall 2020; however, the data demonstrates a clear relationship between exposure to performing arts and a variety of impacts, including future theater interest. 

Perhaps most interesting is an unexpected outcome of how performing arts help children discover and develop hope. When asked questions about whether they will graduate, get a job or live a happy life, New Victory SPARK students—some of whom faced housing instability and food insecurity—had a far more optimistic outlook toward their future than the control group.

Discover more in “Envisioning the Future of TYA,” a report by the National Endowment for the Arts (April 22, 2020)

Stay Informed

The research tools and outcomes will have a profound and lasting resonance in the performing arts, and we’re beginning to share some of that information with the fields of theater for young audiences and arts education.

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The New Victory Intrinsic Impact longitudinal research study was made possible thanks to the generosity of The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation.

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