What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
MAP is committed to nurturing the unique potential of young people in Olneyville, by unleashing their
creative voices and uniting them with professional artists to create original theatre. MAP offers all of our
programs tuition-free. When they join MAP, all of our students live in Olneyville, and most attend William
D'Abate, a Title 1 school.
The Manton Avenue Project Goals:
To strengthen Creative and Positive Youth Development outcomes of under-resourced kids in Olneyville
To add young voices to important civic discussions through theatre and playwriting
To help young people express their understanding of the world through theatre and playwriting
To expand students' knowledge of the subject/theme of their plays
To expand students' writing skills
To expand students' critical and creative thinking skills
To strengthen students' empathy
To link programming to core subjects and standards, including Writing, Language Arts, Social
To provide safe and constructive after-school programming for young people in Olneyville
To create dialogue around the themes that are illuminated and revealed through the conflicts and
resolutions, memories and stories that each playwright expresses.
To contribute positively to the fabric of the Olneyville community
To build connections between Olneyville and the larger Providence community
Studies tell us that quality out-of-school programming improves academic and social skills, and leads to
improved relationships with peers, connections with community, and a sense of belonging, especially in
lower income communities. By building MAP students' creative problem-solving skills, developing their sense
of community and strengthening their identities through self-expression, The Manton Avenue Project offers
the supports and opportunities necessary for Creative and Positive Youth Development outcomes. MAP’s
long-term, progressive programming measurably strengthens young people's resilience and self-efficacy –
two indicators of healthy adulthood.
The Manton Avenue Project serves over 60 young people each year through free after-school playwriting
programs, community building, guest artist workshops, and a Teen Voices initiative. Since 2004, we’ve
professionally produced over 500 plays written by under-resourced youth (with the help of over 400
volunteer artists), with the goal of empowering young voices and giving young people tools to become
tomorrow’s creative thinkers and community leaders.
MAP provides exceptional opportunities for practice in writing, meeting deadlines, working as a team --
all of these skills will benefit our MAP kids in school and beyond. At MAP, we see theatre as a specifically
powerful tool for social and personal change, and playwriting offers young people ways to practice empathy
and hone critical thinking, improving social and behavioral health, and building classroom skills that will
benefit them throughout their academic and personal lives.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
When we realized that the three young women in our class did not know how to ride a bicycle, we decided we needed to add more class time to work with our partners at the WRWC and Recycle-A-Bike, so that all of the kids would have an opportunity to practice safe riding skills and be comfortable enough on their bikes to go for 3-mile rides along the bike path.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
ONE Neighborhood Builders (In-kind donation of our Clubhouse classroom and rehearsal space)
New Urban Arts (donation of Playwriting Weekend space)
Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and the Red Shed (for bike path tour, riding lessons, and for donation of bikes)
Recycle-A-Bike (for bike safety lessons)
The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage
Commission (bike tour with Historian Sarah Zurier for Pedal Power Play)
AS220 Blackbox (for publicity and public performances)
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
This project connects to our Health Equity Zone grant goal of partnerships working towards community health outcomes including social and behavior, and physical health. This project also represents the excellent spirit of the Olneyville Collaborative which, lead by One Neighborhood Builders, works to encourage and develop partnerships and cooperative projects.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
We are inspired by the incredible creative community here in our neighborhood of Olneyville, and the strong relationships that have been formed over the years. The work we do as a community every day builds a strong sense of place and belonging for our students.