Cultivating Demand for the Arts: Arts Learning, Arts Engagement, and State Arts Policy
Arguing that “demand for the arts has not kept pace with supply”, this report recommends that greater attention be paid to increasing demand for the arts, especially via arts learning activities in public schools, post-secondary education and community venues. Many previous research studies have shown that adult involvement in the arts is dependent, in part, on childhood arts education.
Four types of arts learning are included as part of “comprehensive arts education”: “the capacity for aesthetic perception”; “the ability to create artistically”; “historical and cultural knowledge”; and “the ability to interpret works of art”. Currently, however, “the young are not provided enough instructional time to develop the skills and knowledge associated with long-term arts engagement”.
The researchers examined almost 20 years of American state arts granting activities and found that less than 10% was “specifically devoted to arts learning”, while between 60% and 70% went towards organizational and institutional support.
The report indicates that collaborations and advocacy efforts could help to improve arts learning opportunities. The report recommends that policymakers, funders and leaders in the arts community:
· Support research that can inform policy decisions, such as examining the state of youth arts learning.
· “Support collaborative programs that increase the amount and breadth of arts learning”.
· Work to raise public awareness of the need for comprehensive arts learning.
· Work towards policy changes to strengthen both school-based arts education and community-based arts learning.
· Promote and support programs that are likely to lead to adult involvement in the arts.