Studies on Arts Examine Turnouts, Impact in Schools
Cleveland Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)
November 18, 2005
Separate studies released this week urge arts groups to examine ways
to reinforce the importance of arts in schools and to increase attendance at arts events.
"Third Space/When Learning Matters," a study released by the Arts Education Partnership,
reinforces the integration of arts studies and practices in curricula.
This study focused on how arts-influenced
curricula worked in 10 American schools serving mostly students from
poor families, including Cleveland's Newton D. Baker School of Arts,
a West Side magnet school for kindergarten through fifth grade.
Researchers observed that incorporating arts-based approaches in
classroom activities increased self-esteem, self-expression, interest
in school and engagement with others and developed critical thinking
and problem solving.
The study also found arts created more opportunities for intellectual
and emotional exploration, promoted schoolwide communication and
collaboration and increased parental involvement and teacher creativity.
Most significant, the study found the changed atmosphere of the
schools - from a passive one of conformist, rote learning and testing
to one rich in creativity, individual thought, personal development
and collaboration - prepared students in a larger way for their roles
An Urban Institute study, "Motivation Matters," found that arts
organizations can best build audiences by persuading visitors to come
more often, rather than trying to woo a wider range of one-time or infrequent visitors. People who frequently attend arts events are likelier to become donors.
The study also found that people attend different types of arts
events for different reasons.
For instance, 68 percent of theatergoers surveyed said they attended
plays as a way of socializing. Only 36 percent said they went to the
theater to gain knowledge. By contrast, 65 percent of those who went
to museums said they did so because they strongly desired to learn
Venue also has an effect: Certain venues, such as clubs, restaurants
and coffeehouses, drew far more frequent arts-goers than other
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