Are the arts on a decline for young people?

Just read the article “?????Fewer young blacks and Latinos attend arts events: NEA study” and find myself thinking back to a statement I made right before I saw Carmen Balthrop perform last Saturday: Are the arts declining because today’s youth doesn’t connect in the same way previous generations connected to concerts, art exhibits, and the need to perform and witness performance? Please take a look at the article–what are your thoughts? Here are some sections I felt were worth posting:

A new analysis of survey data compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts since 1982 shows that blacks and Latinos have suffered from a collapse in arts education, and that their young-adult rates of arts attendance have declined far more than for whites.

Childhood arts education “has played such a vital role by developing the potential audience” for the arts, the researchers from the University of Chicago wrote. “If these trends continue, the health of the arts ecosystem will be in jeopardy.”

Another study released recently by the NEA contradicts the conventional wisdom that declining arts attendance in recent years reflects a failure to recruit post-baby boom generations to follow their elders into performance halls and museums.

As a whole, the second study suggested, newer generations are not significantly less inclined toward the arts instead, there just aren’t enough of them to go around. A much bigger problem, the analysis contends, is the dwindling, for reasons that are not clear-cut, of a specific kind of arts fan: the “omnivore” who relishes a wide range of attractions and attends far more frequently than others, accounting for nearly 60% of arts admissions.


The article goes on to state:

The challenge, the authors conclude, is to end policymakers’ “fundamental misunderstandings and underestimates” of arts education’s value, which will require “a body of solid research” linking specific kinds of arts schooling to gains in overall educational achievement.

The study on age and arts attendance found that the reason audiences are getting older is not that today’s young people are significantly less interested in the arts, but that there simply are too few of them to follow in the footsteps of aging baby boomers.

What are your thoughts?

J. Orlando Fair

creative clarity → urban planning, design + the arts. Baltimore, MD. Husband, Morgan grad, Terp, B+W, Jew, fitness, cake.